The Difference Between Burglary and Robbery In California

While burglary and robbery are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation, they are actually two completely different crimes. Robbery involves taking another person’s property through the use of fear or force, but burglary involves entry with the intent to commit a felony act or petty theft. Although burglaries often involve theft, the crime can include any felony including property damage or assault. Additionally, a burglary or petty theft may become a robbery if the person involved uses force in an attempt to escape while being pursued.

It is important to note that burglary does not always involve forced entry to a property. Additionally, while the suspect must have had the intention to commit another crime, the other offense does not need to have actually occurred for the person to be charged with burglary.

Depending on the circumstances of the crime, a burglary may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. Most felony burglaries are punishable by up to three years in prison. Residential burglaries count as a strike and are punishable by up to six years in prison. If someone is present at the home, it can even be considered a “hot prowl” and be charged as a violent felony. In many cases, felony charges can be negotiated down to misdemeanor offenses with the help of a skilled Vista criminal attorney.

There are many strong defenses to burglary charges, particularly in cases where trespassing is the only crime that occurred before the suspect was arrested. In these cases, it is often difficult for the prosecution to prove that the intruder actually intended to commit a felony or theft.

If the crime involved a vehicle and the door was left unlocked, then the charge will be changed to grand or petty theft as it cannot be considered burglary.

Additionally, if the only evidence tying someone to the scene of the crime is finger prints or shoe tracks, a Vista theft lawyer may be able to prove that the suspect was at the scene previously or handled the evidence at another point in time. Unless the prosecution can conclusively prove that the defendant was at the scene of the crime at the time of the burglary, the suspect cannot be charged with the crime.

If you have been charged with burglary, please call The Law Offices of Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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