Everything to Know About The Difference Between Robbery and Burglary

Burglary and robbery are often used interchangeably, but the two are very different in the eyes of the law. The key differences between robbery and burglary can determine the severity of sentencing and mean the difference between a fine and a lengthy prison sentence. 

In this brief article, we’ll review the main differences between robbery and burglary and what to do if you stand accused of either. If you have been accused of robbery or burglary, it’s imperative that you contact a robbery defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to help you understand your rights. 

Related: Under Arrest? Here’s Some Advice

What is Robbery?

The biggest difference between robbery and burglary boils down to one thing: violence. Under Florida Statute 812.13(1), the term “robbery” means “the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.” Robbery charges are felonies that fall under the following classifications:

  • First Degree: Robbery committed with a firearm or any deadly weapon.
  • Second Degree: Robbery committed without a firearm or any deadly weapon. Also called “Strong Arm” robbery. 
  • Sudden Snatching: Taking a person’s property while the victim is aware of the act. For example, stealing a woman’s purse from her person and running. 
  • Home Invasion: Entering someone’s home while occupants are present with the intention and the actual committing of a robbery.
  • Carjacking: Taking a vehicle from someone by force, fear, violence, or assault. Whether or not a firearm or deadly weapon is used, this could lead to a first-degree felony conviction.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Armed Robbery in Florida

What is Burglary?

Burglary is also a serious crime with serious penalties. A key difference between burglary and robbery is that burglary requires the unlawful entering of a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit a criminal offense therein. The possible sentence a person may face and the degree of charge will vary depending on if the location that was burglarized was occupied or not. There are a few different types of burglary: 

  • Burglary of a Dwelling: A dwelling is defined as a building or conveyance of any kind, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night. Burglary of a Dwelling is a second-degree felony.
  • Burglary of a Structure: A structure is defined as a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the surrounding curtilage. Burglary of a Structure is a second-degree felony.
  • Burglary of a Conveyance: A conveyance is defined as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. Burglary of a Conveyance is a third-degree felony.
  • Armed Burglary: Armed burglary is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. A person can be charged with armed burglary in Florida if they arm themselves while they are inside the home (by possessing a weapon that they retrieved from the dwelling or conveyance), were armed when they entered the location, or armed themselves after leaving the location. It should be noted that if the weapon possessed was a firearm, the person accused will face a minimum mandatory sentence under the 10-20-life statue.
  • Burglary with Assault or Battery: Burglary with Assault or Battery is also a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. The difference here is that the suspect must have engaged in the burglary and committed an assault by making an unlawful threat of violence or struck or touched the other person against their will. 

What to Do If You Are Accused of Robbery or Burglary

Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code clarifies the level and severity of robbery and burglary and the penalties that may be inflicted, including up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine up to $10,000 for robbery in the second degree. The punishment for robbery and burglary in the first degree is imprisonment for a term of years to be determined by the judge after reviewing the circumstances of the case. 

If you have been arrested or accused of burglary you could have multiple defenses available to you. It is important to contact a burglary defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm who is skilled in providing defense for robbery, burglary, and other serious crimes. Without a solid defense, you may face fines, probation, or prison time. 

For a free consultation with a burglary defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 


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