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Distinguishing between robbery, theft and burglary

Many use the terms robbery, theft and burglary as if they all described the same crime. While each are similar in that they involve one individual taking another's property without his or her permission, they are different from one another in every other aspect.

Robbery, like theft, involves the stealing of someone else's property. An individual is generally only charged with this crime, though, if he or she acquires that property either by intimidation or force.

One example of robbery is if you are carrying a computer bag and someone comes up to you and demands for you to turn it over to him or her. Whether they simply threaten violence or actually inflict it as they're taking the object away from you, they'll likely be charged with robbery for their actions.

Theft, in contrast, involves the mere taking of one person's property by another. To accuse someone of theft, it must apparent that the individual taking possession of the item has no intention of ever returning it to its rightful owner. If you leave your phone behind in a restaurant restroom and someone picks it up and keeps it, then he or she may be charged with theft.

Burglary, unlike both robbery and theft, doesn't necessarily have to be accompanied by someone stealing anything. Instead, an individual may be charged with burglary for simply unlawfully entering a property, such as a business or home, with the intention of committing other crimes once inside. As such, an individual breaking into an office to steal client files may be charged with burglary.

In many cases, those charged with burglary will also be charged with other criminal offenses such as theft.

If you're facing charges for theft, burglary or robbery, then you potentially could be sentenced to a significant time in jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding the commission of your alleged crime. In learning more about your case, a Clinton, Maryland, criminal defense attorney can advise you of potential sentencing you're looking at in your own legal matter.

Source: FindLaw, "What's the difference between burglary, robbery, and theft?," Daniel Taylor, Esq., accessed April 06, 2018

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