What Defines Theft, Burglary, or Robbery?

Many people associate the crimes of theft, burglary, and robbery closely with one another. While these offenses all might involve taking something that is not yours, they are distinct crimes under Texas law, each with its own elements and possible penalties. One thing in common between these charges, however, is that you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are accused of committing the crime. The following is a brief overview of these offenses in Texas.

What is Theft?

Theft crimes involve taking money or property from another person or company without authority, and with the intention to deprive the owner or gain wrongful benefit. Theft crimes can involve physically taking something (like shoplifting), using a fraud scheme (like embezzlement or other white-collar crimes), or other tactics. Theft charges in Texas can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, depending on what was stolen and its alleged value.

What is Burglary?

Burglary involves entering or remaining in a home or structure without authority with the intent to commit certain crimes inside. While theft is one of the crimes that might be involved, it could also be assault or felony offenses. Home invasion specifically refers to a burglary that takes place in a habitation.

Burglary charges can vary depending on the location and type of building entered, as well as the crime committed or intended, and whether there was a deadly weapon or harm caused. If the crime is theft, charges can also depend on the value of what was taken. However, burglary is a felony offense in Texas regardless of the circumstances.

What is Robbery?

Robbery is theft when the offender takes the property directly from another person by using violence or threats of harm. This is not only a property crime but is also considered to be a violent felony. In Texas, robbery is a second-degree felony, which can come with a prison sentence of two to 20 years.

The charges can be enhanced further if authorities allege any of the following:

  • You had a deadly weapon during the robbery
  • The victim was age 65 or older or mentally or developmentally disabled

Aggravated robbery - also commonly called armed robbery - is a first-degree felony, which can mean five to 99 years in state prison if you are convicted. Since robbery is classified as a violent felony, it is also considered to be a “strike” under the Texas Three Strikes law. This makes avoiding a conviction that much more critical.

Contact Our Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers for Assistance Right Away

Whether you are accused of theft, burglary, or robbery, it is imperative that you have the defense representation you need to fight the charges. The penalties can be serious and lasting, and you want right Austin criminal defense attorney on your side as soon as possible. The legal team at Granger and Mueller PC is ready to help, so please call 512-474-9999 or contact us online to discuss your situation today.