armed robbery

Defining the Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

One of the most important roles an attorney can play for their clients is to educate them on the law. An educated client is a client who is more capable of avoiding costly mistakes and maintaining the freedom they’re afforded in our country and the great state of Indiana.

A common misconception worth clarifying is the differences between theft, robbery, and burglary. Each crime has distinctly different circumstances and sentencing procedures. All three of them are serious offenses and we advise everyone to avoid committing any of these crimes.

Theft

A person is guilty of theft if they illegally take someone else’s property without plans to return the property. What’s important to note is that theft charges only apply if there is no use or threat of physical force or illegal entry (in those cases it becomes robbery or burglary).

In Indiana, theft charges are defined under Code 35-43-4-2. The charges include:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Theft which is a first-time offense and includes property valued under $750. Charges carry up to a year in jail and fines up to $5,000. Any misdemeanor offense of theft is elevated to a Level 6 Felony with a previous theft conviction.

  • Level 6 Felony: Theft which involves property valued between $750 and $50,000 OR the theft of a firearm, motor vehicle, or motor vehicle parts. Charges carry between six months to two and a half years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

  • Level 5 Felony: Theft of property valued at $50,000 or more OR a repeat offense of theft of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts OR theft from a healthcare facility, telecommunications providers, or public utility that causes risk of bodily injury to others. Charges carry between one and six years in prison with fines up to $10,000.

Robbery

A person is guilty of robbery when they take possession of property that belongs to another person without their permission through the use of threat or force. Robbery charges include far more serious penalties as another individual is involved and at risk based on your actions.

In Indiana, robbery charges are defined under Code 35-42-5-1. The charges include:

  • Level 5 Felony: Robbery that does not involve a deadly weapon or bodily injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between one and six years in prison with fines up to $10,000.

  • Level 4 Felony: Robbery of a controlled substance from a pharmacy that does not involve a deadly weapon or bodily injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between two and 12 years in prison with fines up to $10,000.

  • Level 3 Felony: Robbery that involves the use of a deadly weapon or results in bodily injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between three to 16 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.

  • Level 2 Felony: There are two scenarios where Indiana robbery charges elevate to a Level 2 Felony – a robbery that results in serious bodily harm to any person other than the defendant, OR a robbery of a controlled substance of a pharmacy through the use of a deadly weapon or that results in serious injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between 10 and 30 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.

  • Level 1 Felony: Robbery of a controlled substance from a pharmacy that results in serious bodily harm to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between 20 and 40 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.

Burglary

Burglary charges don’t require the actual taking of any items or actual crimes – it simply requires intent. The law also doesn’t require that you even break a window or bust down a door. You are guilty of burglary if you enter by some means of force without permission or knowledge of the building’s owner or tenant and intend to commit a felony or theft in it.

In Indiana, burglary charges are defined under Code 35-43-2-1. Charges include:

  • Level 5 Felony: Breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony or theft. Charges carry between one and six years in prison with fines up to $10,000.

  • Level 4 Felony: Breaking and entering into a “dwelling” (home). Charges carry between two and 12 years in prison with fines up to $10,000.

  • Level 3 Felony: Breaking and entering that results in bodily injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between three to 16 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.

  • Level 2 Felony: Breaking and entering committed while armed with a deadly weapon, OR that results in serious bodily injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between 10 and 30 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.

  • Level 1 Felony: Breaking and entering into a “dwelling” (home) that results in serious bodily injury to any person other than the defendant. Charges carry between 20 and 40 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.

These are all serious offenses that can result in the loss of your freedom and your future. Nobody should ever take someone else’s property without their knowledge or permission, but we understand everyone Makes Mistakes. You don't have to pay for it for the rest of your life – contact Blankenship Law.