In everyday conversation we tend to use the words 'robbery,' 'burglary' and 'theft' almost interchangeably. As legal terms, however, these crimes have important differences that may determine the length of a prison sentence or probation.
Theft and larceny may be used interchangeably. Theft occurs when you take something without the intention of returning it. You commit theft when you shoplift from a department store or steal money from the cash register at your job. The severity of the crime depends on the value of the property stolen. In Texas, a theft of property worth less than $50 is only considered a Class C misdemeanor. However, a theft of over $250,000 equates to a first-degree felony.
Burglary is the unlawful entry into a structure with the intention to commit a felony, theft, or assault. There are three types of burglary in Texas.
- Burglary of a non-habitation structure (such as an office building) is punishable as a third-degree felony.
- Burglary of a habitation (such as a home or apartment) is punishable as a second-degree felony.
- Burglary of a habitation in which the burglar commits or intends to commit a felony other than theft is punishable as a first-degree felony.
Robbery is theft committed using either force or the threat of force. Robbery includes crimes such as mugging a pedestrian, stealing a purse, and taking money from a cashier at gunpoint. Robbery is usually split into two categories: robbery and aggravated robbery.
- Robbery occurs when someone commits a theft and either a) causes bodily injury to another, or b) threatens to do so. Robbery is considered a second-degree felony.
- Aggravated Robbery occurs when someone commits a theft and either a) causes serious bodily injury to another, b) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon, or c) causes bodily injury or threatens to do so to an elderly individual or disabled person. Aggravated Robbery is considered a first-degree felony in Texas.
When you've been charged with robbery, burglary or theft, you need a strong legal defense team to stand up for your rights and make sure you get a fair trial. Contact the Kyle Law Firm today to set up a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.