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 item values:
- 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 a different charge than 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.
Unlike burglary, the crime of robbery, roughly at all times, needs the presence of a victim who experiences real injury or is intimidated with harm.
An example of this would be mugging someone in the street or holding up a convenience store. Note that without a deadly weapon it is a second-degree felony, but if a gun or other deadly weapon is involved, your charge will be bumped up to a 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.
The Elements of Robbery
The penal codes of every state describe robbery in various ways, but the definitions include the same fundamental elements. Robbery normally includes the following:
- The taking, with the intent to steal, of.
- The personal property of another.
- From his or her person or in their presence.
- Against his or her will.
- By violence, intimidation or the threat of force.
The use or threat of force can additionally be minor, and the amount necessary to transform a theft into a robbery relies on the parties concerned and the circumstances. If a minute quantity of violence or intimidation is sufficient to force the victim to hand over their property based on the personalities of the victim and assailant, then a robbery has happened.
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 being 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 experienced criminal lawyers in Austin 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 Austin 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 at (512) 772-2442.
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