Most people in Florida and around the country think that burglary and theft are the same crime. While the two are similar, they are different crimes. If you have been arrested and charged with either offense, it’s important to know how they differ and how you can be charged with burglary even if no theft was involved.
What is theft?
Theft is a crime that involves taking property that belongs to another person without having that person’s permission to do so. When you commit theft, your intention is to take another person’s property to keep for yourself or sell to someone else while deliberately depriving the rightful owner of that property.
There are various levels of theft crimes. Depending on the value of the property stolen, you could be charged with petit theft or grand theft.
What is burglary?
Burglary is a category of theft and property crimes that is more extreme than theft. A person commits burglary when they enter a property such as a home or place of business unlawfully with the intention of committing another crime on the premises. Actually breaking into a property isn’t even necessary in order to be charged with burglary. For example, if a person climbs into an open window of a home with the intention of stealing a valuable piece of jewelry from the homeowner, they can be charged with burglary.
At the same time, even if the person enters a structure and never actually carries out a theft, they can still be charged with burglary. It’s important to know that burglary is also a more serious offense than theft and carries stronger penalties.
When you face charges of theft or burglary, you should never take them lightly. These are serious offenses that require a defense in criminal court.