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Is burglary the same as theft?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

A defendant may go through an arraignment, hear the charges read aloud, and fail to understand them. This scenario could play out in a Texas court when someone faces burglary charges even though the person never stole anything. Many confuse burglary with theft, but the two are separate crimes, although they often occur together.

Burglary is not theft

Burglary involves entering a building or another structure with the intent to commit a crime. Two words to examine here are “intent” and “crime.” A patron ejected from a movie theater who re-enters illegally through the exit door to watch a feature might commit trespassing. If the person’s unlawful entry serves as a prelude to assaulting the manager, the person will likely face burglary charges.

“Burglars” often enter a property illegally to steal something, which is why burglary and theft are typically linked. Sometimes, burglary also involves robbery, which is not the same crime as theft. Confusing theft with robbery is not uncommon, either.

Both robbery and theft involve illegally taking property that belongs to someone else. How the accused allegedly took the property leads to the specific charges. Robbery involves threats of force or the use of force. Theft involves taking something without permission and keeping it. Shoplifting is an example of theft, and so is entering through a broken window and taking a computer and jewelry.

Defenses to burglary and theft charges

Did someone may enter a property and take something, leading to burglary and theft charges. Perhaps one occupant at the residence gave the person permission without telling another occupant. A criminal defense strategy might involve little more than providing proof that the entry was not unlawful, and neither was the removal of property.

Refuting intent to commit a crime may lead to burglary charges reduced to trespassing. Yes, a defense could involve many scenarios based on specific facts.