Difference Between Theft, Robbery, Burglary in Houston

December 11th, 2015 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Theft, robbery, and burglary are all criminal offenses under Texas law that involve the intentional and wrongful taking of property that does not belong to you. However, there are substantial differences between each of these crimes. As a result, the penalties for being convicted of these crimes differ, as well. Regardless of the offense, however, a conviction for any of these criminal offenses is likely to result in very serious consequences.

Defining Theft Under Texas Law

Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code defines theft as the unlawful appropriation of property by an individual with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. There are many different degrees of theft. Simple theft includes stealing small items or a few dollars from another person. Petty theft, which is also known as larceny, is the least serious type of theft. These are misdemeanor offenses. Grand theft, however, may involve stealing more valuable types of property that could amount to thousands of dollars. Texas law bases the punishment for theft on the value of the property that was stolen. Whereas the theft of property valued at less than $50 could lead to a Class C misdemeanor conviction and a $500 fine, theft of much more valuable property could result in a felony conviction with a high fine and long jail term. For example, intentional or reckless theft that results in bodily injury or fear of bodily injury is typically a 2nd degree felony, carrying a penalty of two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Defining Robbery Under Texas Law

An individual commits robbery in the state of Texas when he or she takes or tries to take something from someone that has value, by using intimidation, force, and/or threats. For this crime to occur, a victim must be present. Typically, robbery is a 2nd degree felony under Texas law, which can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Although weapons are not necessary for an incident to be charged as robbery, committing robbery with a weapon results in a more serious charge, i.e., armed robbery. The robbery charge also may become aggravated if you use a deadly weapon, cause injury to the victim, or place the victim in fear of imminent bodily injury.

Defining Burglary Under Texas Law

Burglary is the most serious of these three criminal offenses. This crime occurs when you enter a home or structure that does not belong to you and without permission of the owner, with the intent to commit a crime. Typically, the crime in question is theft, but burglary can involve other crimes, as well. No matter whether you actually commit the intended crime or not, you may still face burglary charges under Texas law. Burglary can be either a misdemeanor or a felony offense under Texas law. For instance, burglarizing a car can result in a Class A misdemeanor conviction, which carries a penalty of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Burglary of a residence with the intent to commit theft, however, is a 2nd degree felony in the state of Texas, which can result in as much as 20 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates have years of experience in handling theft, robbery, and burglary cases, as well as all types of major felonies. We know how to investigate the facts surrounding your case and build a strong defense on your behalf. Contact our office today, and learn how we can help.

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