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How are theft, burglary and robbery different?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Like all states, Florida has specific laws and penalties associated with theft, burglary and robbery. These crimes, often used interchangeably by the average person or TV show, have distinct definitions and consequences under Florida law. This article will explore each of these crimes, provide examples, and outline the sentencing guidelines in Florida.

Theft is often a misdemeanor

Theft is knowingly obtaining or using, or attempting to obtain or use, another’s property to permanently or temporarily deprive the person of the property or convert the property to an unauthorized use. For example, if someone walks by a restaurant table and grabs a person’s wallet, that would be considered theft.

The penalties depend on the value of the stolen property. If the property stolen is worth less than $100, it is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days of jail time and a $500 fine. Stolen property valued at $100 or more but less than $750 is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.

Burglary involves unauthorized entry

Likely the most commonly understood charge of the three, burglary is entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance intending to commit an offense therein. An example of burglary is if someone breaks into a house to steal electronics or jewelry.

Due to its invasive nature, burglary is always considered a felony in Florida. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, the severity of the charge ranges from a third-degree to a first-degree felony. For instance, if a person commits burglary of a dwelling, it is classified as a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine up to $10,000.

Robbery involves violence

Robbery deprives someone of money or other property (either theirs or in their legal possession) with intent to permanently or temporarily keep. It uses force, violence, assault or the threat of it. An example of robbery would be if a person forcibly snatches a purse from someone else’s hands.

The penalties for robbery in Florida can vary greatly depending on the severity of the crime. If the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon in the course of committing the robbery, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment.

Defendants need to take these charges seriously

Theft, burglary and robbery are significant charges in Florida that can carry severe penalties. A knowledgeable attorney can help navigate the complexities of the legal system, protect the defendant’s rights, and advocate for the best possible outcome. Since this is a general overview, consulting with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances is always best.


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