There are several words that Maryland residents think about when it comes to stealing, including robbery, theft and burglary. While these words have similar meanings in general usage, they’re also legal terms. In a legal setting, they have very specific meanings. It’s important for people facing criminal charges to understand the nuances of these terms.
Understanding the differences
Robbery, theft and burglary have some similarities: They are all offenses in the criminal code, and they all involve crimes against property. However, there are important distinctions between these terms. Knowing those differences is helpful for people who are charged with offenses and need to plan a criminal defense strategy.
Theft has a very simple definition. A thief takes something that doesn’t belong to them, with no permission and with the intention of keeping it. Robbery is very similar to theft with the addition of the threat of using force. If someone uses intimidation or a weapon during the commission of theft, it can become robbery.
Finally, there’s burglary. Burglary is associated with theft in many people’s minds. However, burglary is actually the act of entering a space unlawfully with the intent to commit another crime while on the premises. For example, entering a school after hours with the intent to vandalize it could be considered burglary under the law.
Defending against criminal charges
If you or a loved one has been charged with one of these crimes, it’s important to retain an experienced attorney. Legal counsel may help you understand the charges against you. They may also be able to help investigate the case and prepare you for court if you decide to fight the charges.