The Differences Between Theft and Burglary
Many people are unaware theft and burglary are two different crimes. In fact, you could probably be charged with both during the same event. Theft is probably one of the most common crimes committed in the state of Florida. It involves taking someone else’s property without the owner’s consent and with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of its possession or use. In other states, theft might also be called larceny, grand theft, petty theft, or something similar.
Theft usually involves the act of stealing personal, tangible property. If you try to take someone’s land, for example, you would be charged with another crime, not theft. Theft also involves acting against the owner’s interests. Taking an object with the owner’s permission is not theft unless you trick or deceive the owner into allowing you control over the item.
Burglary, on the other hand, is a crime that often involves theft. It means entering a structure or home with the intent to commit a crime within it, whatever the crime may be. If you are caught entering someone’s home without their permission, you can be charged with burglary even if you haven’t committed any other crime. People can also be accused of burglary for entering structures that aren’t people’s homes or places of business. For example, nonresidential buildings, natural formations, and temporary structures all count as “structures.”
People also don’t need to break into the structure to be charged with burglary. Even if people leave the door open, someone who enters the space without permission can still be accused of burglary. Likewise, your entire body doesn’t need to be in the structure to be charged with the crime. Extending a limb or object into a structure is enough to face a burglary charge.
Theft and burglary can lead to severe sentences depending on the circumstances of your crime. Theft penalties will depend on the value of the stolen property and whether or not someone was harmed during the theft. First-degree grand theft, for example, can result in a penalty of up to $10,000 and a maximum of 30 years in prison. Burglary, on the other hand, can be a first-degree felony, which can result in a lifetime sentence in prison.
If you’ve been charged with either of these crimes, make sure you have a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney on your side. Musca Law has more than 150 years of combined experience to offer your case. Our lawyers are also dedicated to protecting the rights and freedoms of our clients and can defend you aggressively in negotiations or in court. With each case, we focus on the details of the circumstances and explore the potential holes in the prosecution’s case. Let us see what we can do for you in a free case review.
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