Are Theft, Robbery, and Burglary the Same Crime in Texas?

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In a word, no. Plenty of people, however, conflate these three different offenses and assume all have to do with stealing property from someone. In fact, you could be charged with robbery OR burglary without stealing one dime from someone else. Keep reading for the important distinctions between these three crimes. 

Theft

Theft involves depriving someone else of their property. State law mentions “unlawfully appropriating” property in the context of theft. Appropriation of property goes beyond simply swiping something from a store or pocketing valuables that belong to someone you know. It also includes receiving stolen property, tricking someone into giving you property, and other ways of unlawfully exercising control over property that is not yours. 

The penalties for theft depend on the monetary value of the stolen property. Theft of property valued less than $100 is punishable by a $500 fine and no jail time (Class C Misdemeanor). Theft of property worth more than $300,000 is a first-degree felony, which can land you in state prison for 99 years. 

Robbery

A simple way of defining robbery is theft (or attempted theft) with the infliction (or threat of infliction) of bodily injury. This includes “knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly” causing bodily injury to someone while you are in the course of committing theft, attempting to commit theft, or in “immediate flight” after committing theft. 

To illustrate these points, let’s take a look at someone trying to steal another person’s purse. Even if this person does not successfully steal the purse, he would likely be charged with robbery if he struck the victim or pushed the victim to the ground. Similarly, the perpetrator would be charged with robbery if he steals the purse without inflicting bodily injury on the victim but shoves someone attempting to stop him while he is running away. 

Robbery is a second-degree felony that carries a prison sentence of 2–20 years. Aggravated robbery, which is robbery with one or more enhancements, carries a prison sentence of 5 years to life. 

Burglary

Just like robbery, you can be charged with burglary without actually stealing anything. Burglary means entering or remaining concealed in a building or habitation without the owner’s consent and committing or attempting to commit theft, assault, or a felony. Burglary of a building (not habitation) carries a possible jail sentence of 180 days to 2 years, as it is designated as a state jail felony. Burglary of a habitation is a second-degree felony with a potential prison sentence of 2–20 years. If you burglarize a habitation with intent to commit a felony other than theft, you could be sentenced to life in prison. 

You Need An Attorney to Help Fight These Charges

Even if you are not charged with felony theft, robbery, or burglary, a conviction will generally stay on your record for the rest of your life. Prior arrests or convictions will also enhance possible penalties for basic theft charges. Regardless, the best investment you can make when you or someone close to you is facing criminal charges is in a quality Texas criminal defense lawyer. 

To get the most out of your consultation with Kimbrough Legal, please fill out an intake form on our website today. We look forward to speaking with you!

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