The Difference Between a Robbery and a Burglary Charge

Interviewer: What’s the fundamental difference between a burglary and robbery?

Ladan Law: A burglary is any trespass with the intent to commit a crime therein. That is the definition of a burglary. A robbery is any taking by force. A burglary doesn’t require force. It simply means you’re in a place where you shouldn’t be and you had intended to commit a crime. Now, that crime doesn’t necessarily have to be a theft.

We’re seeing more that people who get into road rage incidents and reach in through another person’s window and strike them. If that occurs, they can be charged with burglary of a conveyance, with the intent to commit a battery or a completed battery and that, in and of itself, is a very serious charge.

Burglary has a pretty broad definition and it’s not the burglar with the mask and the bag full of jewels. There are several actions that can be encompassed by that burglary statute. You can bet that the state will be very aggressive in charging a burglary if they think they’ve got all the elements met.

Can the Prosecution Combine These Charges?

Interviewer: It sounds like burglary leads to an assault, to a robbery and back-and-forth again. It’s usually these crimes are all coupled together or they could be coupled together by prosecution?

Ladan Law: They can and they often are. In a prosecutor’s mind, the more offences that they can charge, the more negotiation leverage, when it comes time to plead, they have. If you plead to this one, we’ll plead to that one.

Now, part of my analysis on every case is has the state double-charged you? You have a right against double jeopardy or being prosecuted twice for the same offense. There are some very well defined rules as to which crimes are lesser-included crimes of other crimes. Often times, we can be successful in taking six-count information, or charging document, and really changing it into two-count information and that really puts the person in a better negotiation standpoint. It limits their exposure to jail and that’s part of the analysis that we do on every case.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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