How TX Defines Theft Burglary & Robbery
Texas law sets out many different criminal offenses, several of which involve taking property or money that is not yours. While many people use the terms theft, burglary, and robbery interchangeably, each offense has its own unique elements and requirements for a conviction. The specific charges you might face will depend on the circumstances of your case.
The following is how Texas laws define each of these offenses:
- Theft = Unlawfully appropriating money or property with the intention of depriving the rightful owner
- Burglary = Unlawfully remaining in or entering a structure (which might be a dwelling) with the intention of committing theft, assault, or another felony offense
- Robbery = In the process of committing theft, recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally causing injuries to another person or threatening another person so they fear imminent bodily injury or death
If you arrive home and find that some items have been stolen, you might exclaim that you’ve been “robbed.” However, in this situation, the correct statement would be that you’ve been “burgled.” This is because the offender entered your home without permission and committed a theft, which would be burglary. These differences between the offenses are important, as a prosecutor must prove that a defendant engaged in the specific conduct set out by the law for each offense.
Potential Penalties for Theft, Burglary, and Robbery
Another important difference between these offenses is how they are charged, and the possible penalties you can face for a conviction. Robbery is often considered to be the most serious, since it involves violence or violent threats against others, though theft and burglary can also be serious felony charges.
Theft - Theft charges depend on the value of the item or items stolen, and they can range anywhere from a Class C misdemeanor (for items valued up to $100) to a first-degree felony (for items or services worth more than $300,000). Felony theft charges often apply in cases involving extensive white-collar schemes, such as embezzlement or Ponzi schemes. Penalties can range from fines of $500 to years in state prison.
Burglary - Burglary can be charged as a state jail felony, second-degree felony, or first-degree felony depending on the circumstances, such as whether it was a home invasion or there was a weapon. Penalties can include fines, as well as 180 days in jail to 99 years in prison.
Robbery - Robbery is a violent crime, so it is charged as a second or first-degree felony, depending on whether a weapon is involved. Penalties include two to 99 years in state prison.
Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer Right Away
The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker defends clients against many types of criminal charges, including property crimes and violent crimes. If you are facing charges in the Fort Worth area, you want a criminal defense attorney you can trust handling your case. We will work diligently to reduce or eliminate the penalties you face. Contact us online or call 817-332-7703 immediately after an arrest or prior to speaking with law enforcement.