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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
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Robbery vs. Burglary

 Posted on August 07, 2018 in Burglary

IL defense lawyerRobbery and burglary are two theft crimes that are sometimes spoken of interchangeably, but in reality, they are very different, at least under Illinois law. One is generally charged more highly than the other, but there are always exceptions. Either way, it is important to understand that each charge has very specific criteria that must be met if you are to be convicted. By knowing this, it may be possible to focus your efforts (that is, your attorney’s) on attacking specific pillars of the relevant charge.

Burglary Basics

Burglary is defined as someone entering into or remaining “without authority” in a building or vehicle (many types of vehicles qualify under the statute, including automobiles and boats, among others) with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein. The statute was just modified in recent years to include more areas than simply buildings (previously, only buildings were implicated in the law explicitly). It is important to keep in mind that while it is not enumerated in the law itself, the courts recognize residential burglary as somewhat more serious due to the nature of the crime, which is why it is usually charged as a Class 1 felony, while regular burglary is a Class 2 felony, which can in some cases be pled down to probation.

The key words in determining a burglary are “without authority” - it can be quite difficult to determine who has authority to be in a certain place because sometimes it rests solely on the intent of the perpetrator. For example, if someone walks into a business with the intent to shop, and winds up accidentally knocking an item into their bag and walking out, they have not committed burglary, but it may be hard to prove that they lacked the requisite intent.

Robbery Basics

Robbery, by comparison, involves taking property from the “person or presence of another” by force, or by threatening the imminent use of force. If this is done with a weapon, it is classified as an armed robbery, which is a class X felony, with a sentence of up to 30 years in prison at a minimum. A regular robbery, where no weapon is used - usually accomplished with mere threats - will usually be charged as a Class 3 felony, with a maximum of five years in prison.

The major difference between the two causes of action is clear: burglary does not, at least not in theory, involve force, and it also does not generally occur from the “person or presence” of another person - rather, it usually occurs in buildings or dwellings which may be empty. Robbery does not, however, require a weapon to be present, which is another mistake laypeople often make in assuming which is which; the mere threat of harm is enough to make the theft of property qualify as a robbery, even if no harm is actually done.

Call Our DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorneys

Regardless of whether you are charged with burglary or robbery, it is a serious charge that requires legal representation to ensure that justice is in fact done. The talented DuPage County criminal defense attorneys at the office of Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. are well versed in burglary and robbery cases, and are happy to try and help with yours. Contact our offices today to set up a consultation.



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