Burglary vs. robbery: What is the difference?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | criminal defense

Not all forms of theft are created equal. Two theft crime terms that people often use interchangeably but that are actually different are burglary and robbery.

Safety.com details the differences between burglary and robbery in depth. It is important that, if you face either type of charge, you understand the differences and the elements that make up each.


Per the FBI’s definition, burglary is a property crime that involves the forcible or unlawful entry or attempted entry of a building with the intention of committing a theft or felony. For the state to convict you of a burglary crime, it must prove that you entered a private structure unlawfully and without express permission from the owner; that you forced your way into the building (meaning you did not walk through an open door or climb through an open window); and that you intended to or did commit a crime.


The greatest distinction between a burglary and robbery has to do with the target of the crime. Whereas burglary entails breaking and entering into a private property, robbery involves taking something of value off of an actual person. Per the legal definition, robbery is a violent crime that you commit if you take anything of value from the control, care or custody of another individual or individuals by violence, force or threat of force, or through intimidation. To convict you of robbery, the state need not prove that the victim owned the object of value that you took. Moreover, the victim does not have to suffer any injuries for the charges to stick.

Both burglary and robbery are serious offenses that could result in jail time, fines and other lasting consequences. If you face either type of charge, the best thing you can do is contact a criminal defense attorney to help you build a solid defense.