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Family and Criminal Law Blog

Monday, September 5, 2022

Is Burglary the Same as Robbery?

There is a lot of legal jargon that is thrown around in conversation, on the news, and elsewhere. Sometimes, it gets all jumbled up and ends up being misused in everyday life. The legal terms “burglary” and “robbery,” for instance, are often used interchangeably. The reality is, however, that they are two separate crimes that are applicable under two different sets of circumstances and a conviction of one will carry a different set of consequences than conviction of the other. Let’s take a look at what burglary and robbery actually are in the legal sense.

Is Burglary the Same as Robbery?

The Texas Penal Code defines burglary as entering a building or structure without the owner’s consent and with the intent of committing a felony, a theft, or an assault. There is, notably, no requirement that the perpetrator forcibly break into the building to be charged with burglary. It only requires entering the structure that belongs to someone else without the owner’s permission and with the intent to commit a crime. You also do not need to actually steal or commit the crime you intended to commit. Simply entering the structure with the intent to commit a crim is enough.

Conversely, the Texas Penal Code defines robbery as occurring while, during the course of committing a theft, the perpetrator intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or intentionally or knowingly threatens or places someone else in fear of imminent bodily injury or death. In other words, robbery is stealing while using physical force or the threat of physical force. Unlike burglary, robbery has no requirement of entering a building. Furthermore, unlike robbery, burglary does not involve any act of violence or threat of violence. These are two significant differences between the two criminal charges.

If convicted of burglary, the punishment can widely vary depending on whether there were any aggravating circumstances which would merit an enhanced sentence. A burglary of a building that is not a habitation is punishable by up to 2 years in state jail. A habitation is where someone sleeps or lives. It may be a structure or a vehicle. A burglary of a habitation is classified as a second degree felony and is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A burglary of a habitation when the perpetrator intended to commit an offense other than theft is classified as a first degree felony and is punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

The punishment for a robbery conviction can also widely vary depending on the existence of any aggravating circumstances. Robbery is considered to be a second degree felony and can result in a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Aggravated robbery, on the other hand, is considered to be a first degree felony and can result in a sentence of 5 years to life in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Aggravated robbery is robbery where the perpetrate caused serious bodily injury to another, used or exhibited a deadly weapon, or caused a disabled person or a person 65 years of age or older bodily injury or threatened or placed them in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been arrested on a burglary or robbery charge, reach out to the tenacious team of criminal defense attorneys at Navarrete & Schwartz right away. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.


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