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The Difference Between Robbery & Burglary

Posted in Burglary,Criminal Defense,Robbery on December 19, 2019

In many cases, people will use the words “burglary” and “robbery” interchangeably when in fact, these two words indicate two separate types of crimes. Burglary involves a person entering a building to commit a crime inside while robbery is generally meant to indicate the taking of something of value directly from another person by the use of force. Both burglary and robbery are crimes income with significant penalties.

Robbery vs Burglary

Understanding Robbery Charges

Penal Code 211 Defines robbery as the taking of personal property from someone else’s person or immediate presence, against the victim’s will, and through the use of force.

Penalties for robbery charges

California robbery charges are always going to be felonies. Penal Code 211 breaks potential charges into first-degree and second-degree.

Robbery in California is considered first-degree if it is a robbery:

  • of a bus, taxi, subway, cable car, or streetcar driver or passenger.
  • that takes place in an inhabited structure.
  • of anyone who has recently used or is in the vicinity of an ATM.

First-degree robbery charges can lead to a state prison sentence between 3 and 9 years. Those found guilty could also face a fine of up to $10,000.

A second-degree robbery charge (all other robberies) Can lead to a prison sentence of 2, 3, or 5 years if convicted, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Understanding burglary charges

Penal Code 459 defines the crime of “burglary” in California. Burglary becomes a crime when someone enters a residential or commercial building with the intent to commit a felony or theft on the inside. A person can commit burglary simply by entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime. If the intended theft or felony is not actually completed, a person can still be charged with burglary.

In California, there are two levels of burglary – first-degree and second-degree. First-degree burglary refers to the burglary of a residence, while second-degree burglary refers to the burglary of any other type of structure, including stores and businesses.

Penalties for burglary charges

First-degree burglary in California is always a felony charge. A person can face up to 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison if convicted. A person could also face a fine of up to $10,000.

Second-degree burglary In California is considered a “wobbler” offense. This could be charged as a misdemeanor with up to one year in jail or as a felony with a jail sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years, as well as a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on whether the charge was a misdemeanor of a felony.

A person often faces both charges

As you can see by the definition of these charges, a person may often face both charges of robbery and burglary. If a person allegedly enters someone else’s house and deprives them of their property at gunpoint, they will likely face both burglary and robbery charges.

As was mentioned above, a person does not have to have actually stolen anything to be convicted of burglary. However, for a person to be found guilty of robbery, it must be proven that the defendant took or tried to take something from the victim.

A person facing these charges certainly needs to secure assistance from a skilled criminal defense attorney who can navigate the complicated legal process.