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Denver Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

June 14, 2017

People often use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary interchangeably, but this isn’t correct according to Denver criminal defense attorney John Buckley. These are actually three separate crimes in the state of Colorado, so it’s important that you understand the difference in the event that you ever face charges for committing one of these crimes.

Definition of Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

You commit theft if you knowingly steal another person’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the stolen items. Robbery is very similar to theft with one exception: the use of force. If you steal another person’s property using force, intimidation, or threats, then you have committed robbery.
Many people think that burglary is the act of breaking into someone’s house and stealing things, but that’s not necessarily true. A person commits burglary when he unlawfully enters a property with the intent of committing a crime—any crime, not just theft. For example, someone who breaks into a school with the intent of vandalizing the classrooms has committed burglary. Therefore, theft does not have to be involved in order for someone to be charged with the crime of burglary.

Penalties for Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

Theft, robbery, and burglary are separate criminal charges in the state of Colorado and therefore each have unique penalties. The penalties for theft vary depending on the value of the property that you stole. If the value of the property is less than $50, you may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, these penalties get much more serious as the value of the property increases. For example, when the stolen property is valued between $5,000 and $20,000, you may face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Learn more about Colorado petty theft and other theft laws.
If you have been convicted of committing robbery, you may face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. These penalties are increased if you used a deadly weapon while committing robbery. In this case, you could face up to 32 years behind bars.
The penalties that you face for burglary charges will depend on whether you are charged with first, second, or third degree burglary. The most serious of these charges is first degree burglary, which carries a maximum penalty of 24 years in prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines.
Luckily, someone who has been charged with one of these crimes will not necessarily be convicted. It’s up to you to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight these charges and avoid these serious penalties.
If you have been arrested and charged with theft, robbery, or burglary, contact the Law Office of John Buckley. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.