What’s the Difference Between Burglary and Robbery in Texas?
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Although robbery and burglary are often used interchangeably in daily conversations or even on the news, they are not the same thing. They are separate crimes with separate consequences. Here’s the breakdown of the difference between burglary and robbery in Texas.
What Constitutes Burglary in Texas?
The law: Under Texas Penal Code 30.02, an individual commits burglary if he or she, without consent of the owner, enters a building or structure with the intent of committing a felony, theft or assault.
The lowdown: Interestingly, an individual does not have to forcibly break into a building and steal anything to be charged with burglary. Simply entering a house or business that does not belong to you, even through an open door or window, with the intent to commit a crime — whether it’s theft or some other offense — can constitute burglary. For example, opening a window and looking around inside with a flashlight for something to steal, but running away without taking anything, could still lead to a burglary charge.
Unlike robbery, burglary does not involve a threat or an act of violence. In most cases, a victim is not present during the commission of a burglary. That’s a significant difference between robbery and burglary.
What Constitutes Robbery in Texas?
The law: Under Texas Penal Code 29.02, an individual commits robbery if, during the course of committing a theft, he or she:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death
The lowdown: Robbery is essentially theft using physical force or fear. While robbery is considered a crime of violence, the victim doesn’t have to suffer an actual physical injury for the suspect to be charged with robbery. For example, threatening to blow up a convenience store if the clerk doesn’t open the cash register constitutes robbery. Likewise, throwing a woman down and stealing her purse outside a grocery store would also be considered robbery.
Robbery does not require unlawfully entering a building. That’s a significant difference between robbery and burglary.
What is the Punishment for Burglary and Robbery?
The punishment for robbery and burglary can vary greatly depending on the facts and whether there are any aggravating factors that can elevate, or enhance, the punishment.
- Burglary of a building that is not a habitation: Burglary of a building that is not a habitation — in other words, no one sleeps or resides there — is punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility.
- Burglary of a habitation: Burglary of a habitation is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Habitation is defined as a “structure or vehicle that is adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons.” This could be a tent, for example.
- Burglary of a habitation other than theft: Burglary of a habitation other than theft – that is, the felony that was attempted or committed did not involve theft but another offense – is a first-degree felony punishable by five years to up to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Robbery: Robbery is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Aggravated robbery: Aggravated robbery is a first-degree felony punishable by five years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. A person commits aggravated robbery if they:
- Cause serious bodily injury to another;
- Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon; or
- Causes bodily injury to another person or threatens or places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death, if the other person is disabled or 65 years or older.
Table: Difference Between Burglary and Robbery
|Using fear, intimidation, threat or physical force to steal money or property||Unauthorized entry into a building or structure with the intent to commit a crime|
|Theft is always involved||Theft isn’t always involved|
|Occurs when a victim is present||Usually occurs when a victim is away|
|Considered a violent crime||
Not necessarily a violent crime
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