What's the Difference Between a Burglary and a Robbery?

Many people mix up robbery and burglary as the same crimes, but some main differences will impact the case and penalties if convicted. Whether you are facing robbery or burglary charges, trying to fight them on your own will never achieve what a professional defense lawyer can. Hiring a private criminal defense attorney experienced in helping clients with robbery and burglary charges is essential to getting the best outcome.

One of the main differences between burglary and robbery is that burglary has to do with property, and robbery is a violent crime against a person. Burglary always includes a building or property, and robbery does not. Burglary doesn't require anything to be stolen, but prosecutors must show intent.


Burglary is a forced or attempted entry into a structure with the intent of committing a crime. Therefore, if someone breaks into a building and steals anything, that is considered a burglary. Burglary includes any structure, including homes, businesses, and other facilities, such as warehouses. If someone breaks into your home to commit a crime, that is considered a burglary. If a criminal walks in through an unlocked door, it may not be regarded as forcible entry, which is one of the characteristics of burglary in the eyes of the law. A professional defense attorney can interpret the law, look at the evidence, and help determine the best defense.

Burglary must involve illegal entry into a building but does not have to involve theft but intent to commit a crime. This is one of the most notable differences between burglary and robbery.


Robbery is attempting to take anything that has a value from a person by threat of force or violence. Robbery must also show the victim was placed in fear. The best example is someone grabbing a purse off someone walking down the street, which may be charged as robbery because it's a crime against a person with violent intent.

Someone accused of attempting to take something from someone may face robbery charges, but the sentences may vary depending on what was taken and if it was successful.

Two main factors in robbery cases are the value or importance of what was stolen and if the victim was injured. The value of what is taken determines whether the charges will be grand theft or petty theft. California's laws and courts will dictate how serious they think the crimes are. This is where having a professional and experienced robbery defense attorney presenting favorable evidence to the courts on your behalf makes a difference. Everyone deserves someone fighting for their rights and ensuring laws are interpreted favorably as they relate to your case.

Robbery and Burglary Punishments

In California, robbery and burglary are serious crimes, and a conviction means court-ordered punishments of hefty fines and time behind bars. Anyone facing robbery or burglary charges should immediately contact a reputable and experienced defense attorney because paying thousands of dollars and spending years behind bars should be avoided at all costs. An excellent negotiator working on your case provides the highest probability of practical consequences and penalties.

The consequences of a burglary conviction depend on the details, but the punishments can be very severe. Some factors that determine the level of punishment are: if there was a deadly weapon used, what the nature of the crime was inside of the building, what type of building it was, and if there were people inside the building at the time of the entry.

A conviction will create devastating challenges when seeking employment and housing. Although there are differences between these two crimes, California takes them both seriously. As California continues to crack down on crimes, it is best for anyone facing criminal charges related to burglary or robbery to contact a private defense attorney immediately. Private law offices offer free consultations to gather details and clearly explain the next steps.

Hiring a Private Attorney

Hiring a private attorney means they're working on your case and are 100% committed to a favorable outcome for you. Court-appointed attorneys can have stacks of cases and may or may not have the time necessary to ensure that all evidence is vetted, expert witnesses are called, and testimonies are combed through thoroughly.

A private defense lawyer will fight for an acquittal, dismissal, reduced charges, and plea bargain terms, unrelentingly fighting the prosecution. If a conviction takes place, your attorney will fight for the lowest charges and manageable penalties so that life does not have to come to a screeching halt with unrecoverable circumstances. The best criminal defense attorneys go above and beyond for clients, are always available, and dig deep to find evidence to strengthen the defense. Attorney Joni Eisenstein offers the highest level of representation anywhere in San Diego. Professional criminal defense attorneys who specialize in theft related crimes understand the severity of convictions and are dedicated to helping clients successfully fight charges of crimes related to robbery and burglary.

If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now

Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.