What is the Difference Between Burglary, Theft, and Robbery?

What is the Difference Between Burglary, Theft, and Robbery?

What is the Difference Between Burglary, Theft, and Robbery?We at Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell often receive questions about the differences between different crimes. We also receive questions about various legal procedures, terms, and other aspects of the criminal justice system in California. Browse this blog for many more answers to common questions, and read on to find out about some interesting information about burglary, theft, and robbery.

This blog explores the difference between burglary, theft, and robbery. While many people use these terms interchangeably, they are distinct crimes from the perspective of the law in the state of California.


The common thread between burglary, theft, and robbery, is that they all relate the unauthorized taking of someone’s properly by another person—also known as stealing. Apart from this commonality, burglary, robbery, and theft are rather unrelated crimes.

Theft, which is also known as larceny, happens when someone takes the property of another without permission with the intent to permanently deprive that person of it.

Robbery, on the other hand, is theft that’s accomplished through the use of physical force or fear. So, for example, if someone steals your cell phone by pickpocketing you on the subway without you noticing, it’s theft, but if the person threatens you with a knife and then steals it, it’s robbery.

Burglary doesn’t require that a theft occur at all. The person doesn’t even need to have the intention to commit a theft to be charged with burglary. Instead, burglary is the unlawful entry into a residential or commercial property, with the intent to commit a crime inside, either theft, rape, murder, illegal drug use, or any other crime. While burglary is often committed by breaking and entering, it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps someone entered through an unlocked door, but they weren’t authorized to enter that building, and they committed a crime there. If so, they could be charged with burglary.

Q&A with Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell

Here at Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell, we are always happy to answer your legal questions. There are so many legal matters such as procedures and vocabulary that can be difficult to understand.

If you have a felony or misdemeanor case that’s pending in Southern California, whether it’s burglary, theft, robbery, or any other crime, contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell today to schedule a free case evaluation with Attorney Howell today. He’ll review the facts of your case and realistically let you know what you can expect the outcome of your case will be. Then if you decide to allow him to represent you in your case, he’ll work tirelessly to achieve the ideal outcome in your case, whether that’s acquittal, a reduction of the charges, or the lightest possible sentence.

Schedule our free consultation with Attorney Howell today by calling Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at 909-920-0908 or emailing torrence@torrencelhowelllaw.com.