The Difference Between Robbery and Burglary

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People are often confused or misinformed when it comes to the difference between robbery and burglary. We hope that this article will provide the necessary information to clarify the difference between robbery and burglary and help educate you on the subject. To start with, both robbery and burglary are referred to as specific intent crimes. Specific intent crimes are crimes that are committed where the robber or burglar acted knowingly and with a specific purpose in mind.

The difference between robbery and burglary explained

Burglary (Penal Code Section 459 & 460) is the intent to break into a building without consent for the purpose of committing a crime inside. As mentioned above, burglary is a specific intent crime which requires that the burglar knowingly intended to commit a crime while inside the building. A burglar does not have to enter a building by force to commit burglary, entering through an unlocked door, window, pet door, or similar entrance may still be considered burglary.

Robbery is a very serious felony offense. The difference between robbery and burglary is violence.  In robbery cases violence, or the threat of violence,  in addition to the theft classifies it as a robbery. Robbery is a specific intent crime meaning that the robber(s) knowingly engaged in the act and used violence as a means to deprive someone of their property. Common robbery cases include convenience store robberies where the robber(s) uses a gun to steal money from the cashier.

An example of the difference between robbery and burglary can be seen in a recent Fresno robbery case involving the killing of store clerk Kashmir Manes at the Super 1 Convenience Store. 21-year-old gang member Christopher Roberts was arrested on suspicion of murder and Fresno police are seeking a second suspect, Dwayne Dodson, in connection with the robbery. The suspects, Christopher Roberts and Dwayne Dodson, used violence during the robbery and murder of Kashmir Manes. Due to their alleged gang affiliation and the violent nature of their crime, if found guilty, both suspects may face additional felony enhancements at sentencing which are discussed below.

Strike offenses and felony enhancements

Robbery and residential burglary are strike offenses, which relates to California’s Three Strikes Law. A conviction for these offenses will count as a strike. Because robbery is a violent felony enhancements may also be included in the charge. The most common enhancements associated with robbery charges are:

Criminal Street Gang Enhancement (Penal Code 186.22 PC)
If the prosecution is able to demonstrate to a jury that the robbery was committed in association with, at the direction of, or for the benefit of a street gang (as defined by law) the defendant in the alleged crime will automatically receive an additional prison sentence of 10 years.

Great Bodily Injury Enhancement (Penal Code 12022.7 PC)
If during the robbery you cause another person to sustain substantial physical injury you will receive an additional 3 to 6 year prison sentence.

10-20-Life “Use a Gun and You’re Done” Law (Penal Code 12022.53 PC)
This law stipulates that you will be subjected to a prison sentence of 10 years for using a gun, 20 years for firing a gun, and 25 years to life for seriously injuring or killing someone during a robbery.

Proving robbery and burglary cases

In robbery and burglary cases it must be proven that the defendant intended to permanently deprive someone of their property. This not only involves evidence, such as surveillance footage, but also the jury’s common sense as they hear the case as it’s presented. Criminal charges of any type could potentially lead to very serious consequences. If you or a loved one have been involved in a theft crime case it is important to contact a Fresno theft crime defense lawyer who is experienced in these matters.

Contact a Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney

As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Mr. Fox will review the charges against you and the options you have available. If you have any questions regarding the difference between robbery and burglary or would like to schedule a consultation please call us today at (559) 222-5800. In most instances an appointment can be scheduled for the same day.

If you have any questions regarding the services provided at the Law Office of Gregory W. Fox,
or would like to schedule your free initial consultation, please contact us today at (559) 222-5800. Hablamos español.