Understanding the Difference Between Theft, Larceny, Robbery, and Burglary

It is easy to get theft, larceny, robbery and burglary confused, and often these terms are used interchangeably. While they all do involve taking someone else’s property without their permission, there are, however, essential differences between them. Let’s take a look at each one individually.

Theft/Larceny

The terms Theft and Larceny are both used to refer to the act of a person taking another person’s property without their permission, depriving that person of their property. If a person intentionally removes another’s property without their consent and does so knowing that this will deprive that person of their property, this is referred to as theft or larceny.

Robbery

Robbery is slightly different because when a robbery occurs, a person takes another person’s property but does so through the use of physical force or by intimidating the person to make them hand over the property. This fundamental difference is important. In theft or larceny, a person takes the property but does so without using physical force or fear. In a robbery, the person who steals the property may threaten physical violence, brandish a knife or other weapon, communicate a threat, or simply act violently or aggressively and snatch the property from the other person.

Burglary

For burglary to occur, the person must unlawfully enter another person’s property to commit a crime. The offense doesn’t actually have to take place, the entry does not need to be forced, and the person does not have to exit the property having stolen something. Burglaries normally involve theft; however, the intended crime could be anything that is breaking the law from vandalism to murder.

These different crimes all come with various penalties, and there are also levels of severity within the three, such as whether physical harm took place and what kind of crime the person intended to commit. Of course, the three can become intertwined and change accordingly. For example, if a person steals something from another person without them knowing, this could be considered larceny; however, if they did so by entering that person’s property, it turns to burglary.

Regardless of whether a person is accused of larceny, robbery or burglary, all are serious crimes, and you should, therefore, hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The experienced lawyers at The Complete Legal Defense Team can help protect your rights and provide an aggressive defense. Call us today at (843) 701-5602 for a confidential consultation.