Burglary vs. Robbery vs. Theft: What’s the Difference in Texas?

Defense
Many people often use the words “burglary,” “robbery,” and “theft” interchangeably when talking about stealing. However, in the eyes of the law, these terms describe three different crimes that carry separate penalties.

We decided to explain the difference between burglary, robbery, and theft to help you understand when and how you can be charged with these three different criminal charges in Texas.

If you or your loved one is facing burglary, robbery, or theft charges, speak with a Lampasas County criminal defense attorney immediately. Time is of the essence when you have been charged with a violent or property crime. Let our attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard prepare a robust defense strategy to defend your rights and freedom.

What’s the Difference Between Burglary, Robbery, and Theft?

The main difference between these three criminal offenses is the manner in which they are carried out. The key differences between burglary, robbery, and theft include:

  1. Intent to steal property. While theft and robbery always involve the intent to steal someone else’s property or money, burglary does not always involve theft.

  2. Presence of the victim. While burglary and theft can occur even when a victim is not present, a robbery occurs only when a victim is there.

  3. Violence. While robbery is considered a violent crime, burglary and theft do not necessarily have to involve violence.

  4. Use of threats and physical force. While robbery involves the use of threats and/or physical force to steal someone else’s property, burglary and theft can occur without placing the victim in fear of imminent injury or death.

What is Considered Burglary in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code § 30.02, a person can face burglary charges when he or she:

  • Enters a building or habitation that is not open to the public at the time of the offense;

  • Has the intent to commit an assault, theft, or felony;

  • Commits or attempts to commit the offense or remains concealed in the building or habitation; and

  • Does not have the effective consent of the owner to enter the building or habitation.

In fact, you do not necessarily need to forcibly break into the habitation or building or steal anything to face burglary charges in Texas. As long as the prosecutor can prove that you had the intent to commit a crime, you could be charged with burglary even if you entered someone else’s residential or commercial property through an open window or door.

What is Considered Robbery in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code § 29.02, a person can face robbery charges when he or she:

  • Steals or attempts to steal the property that belongs to someone else;

  • Has the intent to deprive the owner of the property; and

  • Intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury or death to the owner or places the owner in fear of imminent injury or death.

Basically, you can be charged with robbery if you use or threaten to use physical force or place the victim in fear of imminent harm while stealing money or property from the victim.

However, the victim does not necessarily have to be harmed in the commission of the offense for the defendant to be charged with robbery.

What is Considered Theft in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code § 31.03, a person can face theft charges when he or she:

  • Knowingly and unlawfully appropriates someone else’s property;

  • Has the intent to deprive the owner of the property; and

  • Does not have the owner’s effective consent to take, appropriate, or exercise control over the property.

Theft crimes are usually broken down into three types:

  1. Taking someone else’s property without their consent;

  2. Tricking another person into giving you something that belongs to them; and

  3. Knowingly receiving stolen property.

What Are the Penalties for Burglary, Robbery, and Theft in Texas?

The punishment for being convicted of burglary, robbery, or theft vary greatly depending on:

  • The type of the stolen property;

  • The value of the stolen item;

  • The facts surrounding the offense;

  • A manner in which the crime was committed;

  • The defendant’s prior criminal record; and

  • The presence of aggravating circumstances to enhance the punishment.

Burglary Penalties in Texas

The penalties for burglary depend on the type of the offense:

  • Burglary of any building other than a habitation – up to 24 months in jail.

  • Burglary of a habitation (second-degree felony) – up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence from 2 to 20 years.

  • Burglary involving any felony other than theft – up to $10,000 in fines and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Robbery Penalties in Texas

The penalties for robbery depend on whether the offense is aggravated or simple:

  • Robbery (second-degree felony) – up to $10,000 in fines and imprisonment from 2 to 20 years.

  • Aggravated robbery (first-degree felony) – up to $10,000 in fines and from 5 years in prison to life imprisonment.

Note: You can face aggravated robbery charges if you (a) cause serious injury to the victim, (b) use, draw, or exhibit a deadly weapon, or (c) the victim is disabled or at least 65 years old.

Theft Penalties in Texas

The penalties for theft in Texas depend on the type and value of the stolen property. Punishment ranges from fines to imprisonment. Often, the offender is ordered to pay restitution to the person whose property was stolen. Here are some of the types of theft offenses:

  • Stealing less than $100 in value: Class C misdemeanor

  • Stealing less than $100 in value when the offender has a prior theft conviction: Class B misdemeanor

  • Stealing from $100 to $750 in value: Class B misdemeanor

  • Stealing from $750 to $2,500 in value: Class A misdemeanor

  • Stealing from $2,500 to $30,000 in value: State jail felony

  • Stealing from $30,000 to $150,000 in value: Third-degree felony

  • Stealing from $150,000 to $300,000 in value: Second-degree felony

  • Stealing more than $300,000: First-degree felony

Call Us Today to Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lampasas County

If you are facing burglary, robbery, or theft charges, it is vital to contact Lampasas County criminal defense attorney to understand how to proceed with your case. Our attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard have the expertise and resources to work tirelessly and diligently to help you reduce the penalties and avoid a conviction. Call 254-501-4040 or complete our contact form to receive a free initial consultation.

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