Robbery vs. Burglary: Key Differences and Legal Implications

If you are facing a charge of either robbery or burglary, understanding the distinctions between different offenses is extremely important. These offenses carry markedly distinct legal definitions and consequences, and it’s essential to comprehend the differences to navigate the legal landscape accurately.

At The Rickman Law Firm, our team of experienced Tampa robbery defense attorneys is committed to providing you with the information you need to comprehend the differences between robbery and burglary, as well as their legal implications within the state of Florida.

What Are Robbery and Burglary?

Robbery and burglary are both serious criminal offenses in Florida, but they involve specific, distinct elements and actions:


Robbery is a crime characterized by the use of force, intimidation, or the threat of violence to unlawfully seize property or money from another person while that person is present. The essential elements of robbery include:

  • Taking property: The defendant must take the victim’s property, which can encompass anything of value, including money, personal belongings, or other assets.
  • From a person: The property must be taken directly from the victim or their immediate vicinity.
  • By force, threat, or intimidation: Robbery hinges on the utilization of force, the explicit threat of harm, or intimidation to acquire the property.

In Florida, robbery is classified as a felony, and the severity of the offense varies based on numerous factors, such as the presence of a weapon, any injuries inflicted on the victim, and/or the defendant’s prior criminal history.


Burglary is the illegal entry into a building, dwelling, or structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, typically theft or another felony. The crucial elements of burglary include: 

  • Entering a structure: The offender must gain entry into a building or structure without the owner’s consent or legal authorization.
  • Intent to commit a crime: The intruder must have the intent to engage in criminal activity within the structure, such as theft, assault, vandalism, or another felony.

Key Differences Between Robbery and Burglary

While both robbery and burglary involve unlawful takings, they differ fundamentally in terms of their nature and the actions they entail:

Presence of a Victim

Robbery necessitates the presence of a victim during the commission of the crime. This direct interaction with the victim is a defining characteristic of robbery. 

In contrast, burglary does not inherently require the presence of a victim. The crime primarily revolves around unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, without a specific focus on confrontation or intimidation of individuals within the structure.

Use of Force or Threat

Robbery entails the use of force, threat, or intimidation to seize property directly from a person. The threat of violence is a key element that distinguishes robbery.

Burglary, conversely, does not necessarily involve physical confrontation or intimidation of individuals inside the structure. The essence of the crime lies in the act of entering with criminal intent, regardless of whether the occupants are aware of the intruder’s presence.


Robbery carries more severe penalties in Florida due to the inherent threat of violence. Penalties can range from several years in prison to life imprisonment, contingent on factors such as the presence of a weapon, injuries sustained by the victim, or the defendant’s prior criminal record.

While burglary penalties are also substantial, they vary based on factors such as the type of structure entered and the presence of aggravating factors.

Legal Implications of Robbery and Burglary Possible Defenses for Theft Charges

In Florida, the legal implications of robbery and burglary are significant and can have profound and lasting effects on the lives of those involved. The severity of the consequences are determined by several factors, including:

  • The degree of the offense (e.g., first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree).
  • The presence of a weapon during the commission of the crime.
  • The extent of injuries inflicted on the victim.
  • The defendant’s prior criminal history.

Robbery Penalties in Florida

  • Robbery without a weapon or firearm is classified as a second-degree felony, carrying a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
  • Robbery involving the use of a weapon or firearm is deemed a first-degree felony, subject to penalties that may include a life sentence.

Burglary Penalties in Florida

  • Burglary of a structure or conveyance is generally a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
  • Burglary of a dwelling is considered a second-degree felony, which can result in penalties of up to 15 years in prison.

Both robbery and burglary convictions can have long-lasting consequences beyond the immediate legal penalties, including difficulties in finding employment, housing, and more. Moreover, Florida’s “10-20-Life” law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for crimes involving firearms, potentially escalating the penalties in robbery or burglary cases. Immediately reach out to one of the expert Tampa burglary defense attorneys with The Rickman Law Firm to help achieve the most favorable outcome.

Get The Representation That You Deserve With The Rickman Law Firm

It’s essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or someone you know is facing charges related to robbery or burglary in Florida. One of our Tampa burglary defense attorneys can assess the specific details of the case and develop a defense strategy tailored to your circumstances, potentially leading to reduced charges or acquittal.

At The Rickman Law Firm, we are committed to providing strong defenses, unwavering support, and strategic guidance for individuals facing criminal charges in Florida. We understand the gravity of these charges and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome.

If you require legal representation or have questions about robbery, burglary, or any other criminal matter, contact our office at any time by calling us at (813) 370-1185 or fill out the consultation form on our website for one of our experienced Tampa robbery defense attorneys to reach out to you promptly.

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.


Schedule Consultation

Case Results


The Client was charged with Driving Under the Influence after being stopped for driving erratically. The client performed field tests but refused to provide a breath sample. Attorney Anthony Rickman was able to get the
Show More


The Client was charged with Domestic Battery by Strangulation and False Imprisonment. The alleged victim did not wish to prosecute as the incident was a misunderstanding with the Client. After reviewing the case and working
Show More


The Client was arrested and charged with Driving While License Suspended or Revoked as a habitual offender, which is a third-degree felony. Although the Client had an extensive criminal history and poor driving record, Attorney
Show More