The Difference Between Robbery, Burglary, and Theft

The law is full of semantic differences that may seem minor but could be the difference between minor fines and prison times. Various forms of stealing is an example of these semantic differences, and you should know them prior to your court appearance, should you be charged with any of them.



What it is

Robbery refers to any attempt to steal things while harming or intending to harm the victim. The harm doesn’t need to be verbalized or acted upon but merely perceived by the victim. This is one of the more serious property crimes a person can commit and be found guilty for.


Potential Consequences

Robbery is a felony offense and can result in 2-20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. 



What it is

Burglary puts the “property” in property crimes, as it involves breaking and/or entering a building without consent with the intent to commit a crime, whether it be stealing, assault, or other felonies. The “intent” part is important, as a person can be charged with burglary without having actually stolen anything. 


Some burglaries are considered Class-A misdemeanors, including stealing from coin-operated or coin-collecting machines and stealing from vehicles, including tractor-trailers. 


Potential Consequences

Consequences for burglaries vary depending on the situation. Texas law considers burglaries in non-residential buildings felonies and will give time in state jail. If the burglary took place in a residence it is then a second-degree felony. Third-degree felonies include:

  • Burglaries in buildings that store controlled substances, including pharmacies, clinics, and warehouses
  • Waiting or hiding in buildings with the intent of stealing controlled substances


Should the accused be convicted of felony burglary, they can receive up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. If they are convicted of a Class-A misdemeanor and the court can prove that the accused has a history of such offenses, they will be given a minimum 6-month jail sentence.



What it is

Theft is the more minor of the property offenses, with many cases being misdemeanors, not felonies. That being said, theft has a wide range of categories and penalties. It can apply to any stealing of property, from small cash amounts to millions of dollars worth of assets.


Potential Consequences of Theft

The consequences of theft change depending on the classification of the offense:

  • Class C Misdemeanor

    • The value of the property stolen is less than $100
  • Class B Misdemeanor

    • The value of the property is between $100-750; or
    • The property includes a drivers license or other form of state-issued ID
  • Class A Misdemeanor

    • The value of the property stolen is between $750-2,500
  • State Jail Felony

    • The value of the property stolen is between $2,500-30,000;
    • The property stolen was from a corpse or a grave;
    • The property stolen included a firearm; or
    • The property is brass, copper, aluminum, or bronze
  • Third Degree Felony

    • The value of the property is between $30,000-150,000; or
    • The property stolen is a controlled substance 
  • Second Degree Felony

    • The value of the property is between $150,000-300,000; or
    • The property stolen was an automated teller machine or components of an automated teller machine
  • First-degree felony

    • The value of the property stolen is over $300,000


The law increases charges if the accused was shown to be a public servant or government employee at the time of the offense.

If you have been charged with a property crime it is important that you have a strong defense. The way your case is categorized and settled could be the difference between you being able to get back on your feet and facing 20 years in prison. Contact the Law Office of Case J. Darwin today to have your case reviewed.

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