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Miami Criminal Defense Attorney / Blog / Criminal Defense / Are Robbery, Burglary, and Theft Different Crimes in Florida?

Are Robbery, Burglary, and Theft Different Crimes in Florida?


Legal terminology is often confusing for people who do not work inside the criminal justice system everyday. For example, if you read that someone has been charged with “burglary,” you might ask, “Is that same thing as theft?” For that matter, is “robbery” the same thing as burglary or theft?


In reality, these three terms all describe different criminal offenses under Florida law. Theft is perhaps the simplest one to explain. Under Section 812.014 of the Florida Statutes, theft is when someone “knowingly obtains or uses” the property of another, with either the intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property, or to appropriate that property for the use of someone other than the rightful owner.

Essentially, if you take someone else’s stuff without their permission and either use it for yourself or give it to someone else, that is theft. The severity of a Florida theft charge depends on the type and fair market value of the property taken. In most cases, if a person steals property valued between $100 and $750, that is considered petit theft, a misdemeanor. Stealing more valuable property is classified as felony grand theft. In some cases, such as where the value of the property taken is worth more than $100,000, grand theft is prosecuted as a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison term of 30 years in Florida.


All robbery involves theft, but not all theft involves robbery. Like theft, Section 812.13 of the Florida Statutes defines robbery as the taking of money or property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of its use. But unlike theft, robbery requires proof the defendant used “force, violence, assault, or putting in fear” in the course of the taking. Robbery is a second-degree felony in Florida. And if a weapon, such as a gun, was used to commit the robbery, it is a first-degree felony.


Burglary is not about taking people’s property. Rather, it is about illegally occupying someone else’s property with the intent of engaging in some other legal activity. Say a person breaks into a store after closing hours and steals some merchandise. The taking of the merchandise is theft. Breaking into the store for the purpose of committing that theft is burglary. Even if the intruder failed to complete the theft–maybe they were stopped by a security guard–they could still be charged with, and convicted of, burglary. And burglary is always a felony under Florida law.

Contact Asilia Law Firm Today

Florida prosecutors take property crimes just as seriously as those committed against individuals. So if you have been charged with theft, robbery, and/or burglary, you must be prepared to defend yourself in court. An experienced Miami criminal attorney can review your case and advise you on the best defense. Contact AsiliA Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our team.




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