How are theft, robbery and burglary different?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2019 | Firm News |

If you face a theft charge in Texas, it may surprise you to discover that the ticket you received from your arresting law enforcement officer does not list theft as your alleged offense. Instead, it may say you committed robbery, burglary or some other kind of theft.

FindLaw explains that theft crimes include a number of specific crimes for which you can be accused. While similar in nature, theft, robbery and burglary each constitutes a specific crime for which the prosecutor must prove different things.


To become convicted of theft itself, the judge or jury must receive evidence that convinces them beyond a reasonable doubt that you stole someone’s personal property with the intent to permanently deprive him or her of it. Most states differentiate between petty theft and grand theft based on the value amount of the property in question. The cutoff point between the two usually occurs at around $1,000. Naturally, a grand theft conviction carries more severe penalties than a petty theft conviction.


The definition of robbery includes not only a theft, but also your use of a weapon during its commission. It makes no difference whether or not you injured your alleged victim with your weapon. The fact that you had it and threatened him or her with it to the extent that (s)he feared for his or her life or safety if she failed to give you what you wanted is sufficient to prove robbery.


While burglary falls within the theft category of crimes, interestingly enough you need not steal anything in order to be convicted of burglary. All the prosecutor need prove is that you entered a building, whether locked or unlocked, without permission of its owner with the intent to commit any crime whatsoever once you gained entry. Nor does a burglary conviction require that you actually accomplished your intent. In other words, illegal entry and intent alone represent the two proof elements for burglary.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.