What is the difference between theft, robbery and burglary?

What is the difference between theft, robbery and burglaryThere are different types of theft. It can be a petit theft. It can be a grand theft. Thefts may be serious enough to be considered a robbery. Thefts occur different places. For example, thefts occur in houses. They occur in cars. In fact, thefts can occur almost anywhere.


What is a theft? Thefts occur by taking property of someone else. Thefts require a lack of permission. Also, they require that the taking be done intentionally. Understand that merely touching an item with this intent is enough to commit the entire offense. For example, a person goes into a store. They grab an item off the shelf with the intent to remove the item from the store. After they grab the item they change their mind. The theft has already occurred. Even though they changed their mind, the theft already happened.

Types of Theft

Next, consider the different types of theft. For example, you have petit theft under $100. This type of theft requires the same elements. However, the monetary amount of the item must be under $100. This type of theft is considered an M2. Specifically, you can be punished by up to 60 days in jail, or 6 months of probation.

Alternatively, there is petit theft over $100 but under $300. This again requires the same criminal elements. However, there is a specific monetary requirement. The item must be over $100. It can’t be over $300. This type of theft is considered an M1. Specifically, you can be punished by up to 1 year in jail, or 1 year of probation.

Lastly, there is grand theft. Grand Theft requires the same basic criminal components. However, the amount taken must be over $300. The basic Grand theft is a third degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation. However, not all grand thefts are third degree felonies. The higher the amount, the higher the punishment. Grand Theft Offenses can be 2nd degree felonies or even 1st degree felonies. Consider the penalties. For example, f2 felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison or probation. f1 felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

In summary, theft cases can be very serious or very minor. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the possible consequences.


Robberies occur when you take something from someone else. For example, a person is holding an object. You walk up, grab the item, and run off. That is a robbery. It requires taking something from someone else by force or threat. What’s a threat? For example, the robber says, “give me your money or else.” The person hands them their money. The robber runs off with the money. That’s a robbery! Or consider another example. The robber runs up, attacks someone, rips a purse out of their hand, and runs off. That’s also a robbery. As you can see, robbery occurs in different ways.

Sudden Snatching, By Force, or With a Weapon

First, Robbery by sudden snatching is the lowest level of robbery. This is the classic grab and go scenario. Consider, a person grabs a dollar out of your hand and runs off. This is the simplest and least serious version of robbery. This variety is called Robbery by sudden snatching. It’s considered an F3. That is a third degree felony. It’s punishable up to 5 years in prison or 5 years on probation.

Next, consider Robbery by force. Robbery by subsequent force is a more serious variety of robbery. This type of Robbery involves actual physical violence to effectuate the robbery. Consider the example we gave earlier. In that example the Robbery attacked someone, and ripped an item away from a person. In this example, there is no weapon or firearm. This is a brute force type of Robbery. It involves violence. This type of Robbery is a second degree felony. It’s punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation.

Lastly, consider Robbery involving a deadly weapon, or firearm. For example, an armed robber walks into a gas station. The armed robber points the gun at the cashier and demands money. Then, the cashier hands him the money. The armed robber runs out with the money. This is a Robbery w/ a firearm. It’s an F1 offense, punishable by up to life in prison. This is the most serious type of robbery offense.


Next, and the last type of theft we will discuss, is Burglary. Burglary cases occur when a person enters a location that they are not allowed. Inside the location, they have an intent to commit a criminal or unlawful act. For example, a person goes into somebody else’s house. Inside the house, they have the intent to steal items from the house. They take items from the house. They leave. This is a Burglary. The house wasn’t theirs. Neither were the items. Ultimately, they did something unlawful, inside a residence, against the permission of the owner.

Moreover, a Burglary requires specific element of intent. Specifically, the intent to do wrong inside the location. This is sometimes difficult for the state to prove. Consider a person entering into a house they don’t have permission to enter. However, they simply walk around and leave. In this example, this may or may not be a Burglary. It’s only a Burglary if the intent was to do wrong once inside the residence. This intent is often the point of debate. This is often more true in cases where the Burglary is caught in the act. For example, a Burglar is caught entering a house. However, the Burglary didn’t take anything from the house.

In this case, the prosecution may struggle to prove criminal intent. For example, what if he was homeless and wanted a place to sleep? Or, what if he was drunk and stumbled into the wrong home by accident? The easier cases for the prosecution involve an actual crime inside the house itself. Punishment for Burglary is straight forward. It’s considered an F2, punishable by up to 15 years. People who commit armed burglaries or do violence inside elevate the offense to a life felony.

In Summary

In conclusion, there are many types of theft. There are simple thefts. There are more involved thefts. Each theft carries their own penalties and their own defenses. Consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to handle your case.

Smith & Eulo Law Firm offers free consultation for all of your Criminal Cases. Call us today for your FREE CONSULTATION. 407-930-8912