Most people use the words theft, burglary and robbery interchangeably. In the legal world, theft encompasses many crimes, such as shoplifting, burglary, robbery and petty theft. Although the distinctions are often small, the consequences for one of these crimes can be life-changing, even for first offenders.
In Texas Penal Code § 29.02, robbery is when a person commits theft and causes bodily injury to another or threatens to use force to deprive someone of the property. Generally, robbery is a felony of the second degree, although some circumstances can make it a felony of the first degree. Injuring a senior citizen or a disabled person makes the crime aggravated robbery.
Texas Penal Code § 30.02 defines burglary. The key differences from robbery are that you do not have to actually steal anything to be convicted of burglary, nor does it have to be proven that you used force. Burglary is a crime in which the person unlawfully entered the property with the intent to commit a crime. The crime does not have to be theft. It could be making pot brownies or assault.
Penalties for robbery and burglary
Although burglary and robbery are second-degree felonies, certain circumstances can elevate the crime.
In aggravated robbery, a crime in which the robber uses a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury, the penalties are much more severe. A person convicted of robbery faces fines up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison. Aggravated robbery increases the penalties to up to 99 years in prison plus fines up to $10,000.
If you are facing charges of robbery, burglary or theft, you will want to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure the protection of your rights. A lawyer can advocate for you to find the best possible outcome for your situation. You need to defend yourself because a conviction will go on your permanent record and you could lose your freedom for many years.