Differences Between Theft, Burglary, and Robbery in Florida
If you’ve been charged with theft, burglary, or robbery in Florida, these can have serious legal consequences. Some people believe these are one in the same, but they are three distinct criminal acts and carry different penalties and sentences. If you or a loved one have been charged with one of these crimes, it’s important to speak with a skilled West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney right away. An attorney can help provide the best defense and try to get the charges reduced or minimize the long-term ramifications.
In many cases, theft is a petty crime. Shoplifting is one of the most common types of theft, involving removing property that doesn’t belong to you with the intent to deprive the owner of his or her possessions. Whether a theft is a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the value of the item stolen.
- Second degree petty theft — stolen property with a value under $100; $500 fine and a maximum of 60 days in jail
- First degree petty theft — stolen property with a value between $100 and $299; up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine
- Third degree grand theft — stolen property value between $300 and $19,999; specific type of property stolen; maximum $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail
- Second degree grand theft — stolen property between $2,000 and $99,999 in value; fines up to $10,000 and maximum penalty of 15 years in prison
- First degree grand theft — stolen property with $100,000 or more in value; fines up to $10,000 and a maximum of 30 years in prison
Burglary means you have entered property without permission with the intent to commit a crime while you are there. It is not necessary to actually commit the crime. Simply entering someone’s home without permission intending to commit the crime means you could be charged with burglary, even if you didn’t commit another crime or steal anything. In Florida, you don’t have to break in, just entering a structure with an unlocked door can be enough if you don’t have permission to be there.
Penalties can vary based on the different factors like the property you have entered. If you enter someone’s car without permission, you could be charged with burglary of a conveyance and face up to 5 years in prison. If you enter someone’s home, the charge is burglary of a dwelling and the penalty goes up to 15 years. If you possess a firearm during the burglary (even if you possess it because you are stealing it), or harm or threaten to harm someone one while committing the burglary, you would face a possible life sentence.
Under Florida law, robbery is when someone steals money, property, or another asset using force, violence, or the threat of violence. These crimes can overlap as well. If someone walks into a store and waves a gun to steal cash, it’s robbery. If the person breaks into a business after its closed and threatens the staff member with a gun, it would be both burglary and robbery.
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