How Do the Criminal Charges among Theft, Burglary, & Robbery Differ from Each Other?
In the context of criminal law, there are certain vital distinctions between theft, robbery, and burglary. The charges and penalties for someone arrested for burglary, robbery, and theft will also vary accordingly.
One of the most common crimes in Pennsylvania is explained by the Pennsylvania Criminal Code Chapter 18 Section 3701, which defines robbery as a theft along with involving a kind of assault, force, or intimidation. Robbery generally involves taking from another person or an entity, such as a financial institution.
And, the robbery of a motor vehicle, also known as carjacking, has been specifically covered in an additional statute: Pennsylvania Criminal Code Chapter 18 Section 3702. Carjacking is a first-degree felony if the vehicle is stolen in the presence of either the owner or someone else who is in legal possession of it. This charge is subject to sentencing enhancement.
Robbery can be categorized into first, second, and third degree felonies based on certain circumstances. It can be connected with theft if it happens while the theft is occurring or while the perpetrator is fleeing the scene.
Burglary has been defined under the Pennsylvania Criminal Code Chapter 18 Section 3502 as something that particularly entails entering an occupied building (or part of a building) or any kind of property “with the intent to commit a crime therein.” According to the state law, defendants charged with this offense have the right to raise 3 defenses: 1) the perpetrator had permission to enter the property, 2) the property was abandoned, and/or 3) the property is open to the public.
Theft is considered to be a, by a wide margin, the most common among these kinds of criminal offenses. Therefore, it is sometimes also referred to as larceny. For example, the terms “grand larceny or grand theft” or “petit larceny or petty theft” are commonly heard terms.
Theft, as opposed to burglary or robbery, which is quite specific in nature, is a broader category of criminal charges encompassing a number of offenses. Some examples of such common offenses include shoplifting while there are others too, which are quite obscure and virtually not known.
Previously, illegal use of computers was considered to be under the offense category of theft. However, this relevant statute was repealed in 2002.
Theft might include taking possession of a tangible item like a wallet or a car, a utility or service such as electricity or the internet, or a valuable piece of information such as a person’s identity or the trade secrets of a business organization that does not belong to you.
According to the nature of the alleged charges involved, theft grading will run the gamut from the third-degree offense to a first-degree felony. Therefore, any defendant who is charged with theft can be subjected to a period of imprisonment varying between 1 to 20 years along with monetary penalties, which also range from $2,000 to $25,000. This will be determined by the sort of and the dollar value of the property, along with several other relevant factors. For example, theft will automatically be categorized under a second-degree felony if the item which is stolen is a firearm or if the overall value of the commodity which is stolen ranges from $100,000 up to an amount of $500,000.
Therefore, if you or someone you know has been charged with a theft offense in Pittsburgh or in and around elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you should get in touch with a Pittsburgh criminal lawyer at the earliest. He or she will have the relevant experience in criminal defense that is required to fight this legal battle. With their skill and knowledge, they will be able to protect your rights and interest in the best possible manner and try to get an outcome in your favor. So, resort to a criminal defense attorney immediately and schedule a free consultation now.