Robbery, Theft and Burglary
Have You Been Arrested?
Convictions for burglary, robbery and theft carry hefty penalties. A typical
robbery is punishable as a second-degree felony and could land you a 20
year prison sentence. However, if serious bodily injury occurred during
the robbery, you could be looking at a first-degree felony and a minimum
of five years in prison.
In your day to day life you probably tend to use the terms “robbery”,
“theft”, and “burglary” interchangeably without
regard to the legal implications of each word. Everyone knows that those
terms are all used synonymously when talking about someone taking something
illegally. However, in regard to the United States legal system, there’s
a difference between robbery, theft, and burglary. Each is a distinct
crime that will carry its own associated punishment.
Theft is legally defined as the stealing of property from someone without
any threat of physical violence. Also note that larceny is the same thing
as theft. Think of examples like shoplifting or writing a bad check. As
long as you intend to permanently keep what you take, it’s theft.
In the state of Texas, the type of charge you receive is based on the
value of the items that were stolen. Items of smaller value will get a
lesser charge associated with them. For example, a theft of an item worth
less than $50 will result in a Class C misdemeanor and a fine not to exceed
$500. A theft of an item worth over $200,000, though, can result in a
first-degree felony charge and up to 99 years in prison. The following
is a range of item values and the criminal charges associated with those
Less than $50 – Class C misdemeanor
$50 – $500 – Class B misdemeanor
$500 – $1,500 – Class A misdemeanor
$1,500 – $20,000 – State jail felony
$20,000 – $100,000 – Third-degree felony
$100,000 – $200,000 – Second-degree felony
$200,00 or more – First-degree felony
Burglary is legally defined as entering someone’s home or business
with the intention to commit a crime. It’s like theft coupled with
illegal entry into a building. It’s different a different charge
then trespassing because a person who commits burglary shows intent to
commit a crime (that doesn’t necessarily have to be stealing) or
theft. That means you don’t even have to do anything besides entering
a building or home in order to get charged. That’s right: you don’t
even need to steal anything to be charged with burglary. The prosecution
needs to be able to prove that the defendant had the intent to commit
a crime in order to charge you. Again, in Texas, your charge type will
depend on the type of property you enter. For example, if you enter a
building with inhabitants present, you may get a higher charge than if
the building was empty. This indicates that there was a greater danger
for the people inside the property while it was being burgled. In some
states, simply entering during daylight hours is enough to get a higher
charge. Entering a habitation will result in a second-degree felony charge
that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Robbery is legally defined as the stealing of property by either physical
force or the threat of physical force. If the law worked like a math problem,
Theft + Physical Violence = Robbery, very simply put. As long as there
is a threat of violence, though, it’s robbery. This means that even
if you didn’t lay a finger on another person, you can still be charged.
An example of this would be mugging someone in the street or holding up
a convenience store. Note that without a deadly weapon is a second-degree
felony, but if a gun or other deadly weapon is involved, your charge will
be bumped up to first-degree felony as an aggravated robbery. An element
of robbery that can set it apart from burglary is the implication of a
threat when a person knows that you are in their house. Under the burglary
charge, unless someone is aware that you are inside their home, you are
just a burglar. When they know you’re there, the immediate danger
they feel in your presence can make you a robber. Consider another angle:
purse snatching, for example. If the victim is confronted by the robber,
it’s robbery. If the victim isn’t “held up” but
has her purse stolen in a “run-by”, it’s theft.
Lifetime of Repercussions
Even after you serve your sentence, a felony on your record can haunt you
for the rest of your life. Criminal charges on your record can keep you
from be able to find stable employment or even a landlord who will rent
you an apartment. You could even have trouble applying for a loan or going
back to school. Your criminal charge will indicate an increased liability
for those people, which can get in the way of a future down the right
path. Now, this is where the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney comes in.
Get Solid Legal Representation
If you’ve been arrested and charged with robbery or theft, you need
legal representation you can count on. At Carroll Troberman,
PLLC, we care about our clients and their concerns.
Blair Carroll is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who has practiced in courts
all over the state. He is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers
Association and knows the intricacies of these types of cases.
Meredith “Shelly” Troberman worked for the Travis County Attorney’s office as a prosecutor before
starting her own criminal defense practice in Austin. She knows the ins-and-outs
of the Travis County court system and how to defend her clients against
Austin’s most aggressive prosecutors.
Contact Carroll Troberman, PLLC Today
When you’ve been charged with a burglary, theft or robbery, you need
the help of a strong Austin criminal defense attorney.
Contact Carroll Troberman, PLLC today to set up a free and confidential consultation.