Burglary and Robbery: What’s the Difference?

Burglary and robbery are both serious offenses that carry steep punishment. While both terms describe various types of property crimes, there are distinguishing differences that set them apart. If you find yourself in any type of legal trouble, it is certainly helpful to understand what charges mean in order to better prepare yourself for the potential outcome and the possibilities you could have with your legal defense. While some states have very clear-cut points about burglary and robbery charges, the state of Florida is not as simple. Offered here is a brief description of how to distinguish between the two types of charges.


To put it simply, burglary involves entering a home, business, or another form of property with the intent of committing a crime. Florida law places the burden on the prosecution to prove what an individual’s intent was when entering the property. For example, the prosecutor would have to prove, based on evidence, that a person entered a home in order to commit a theft. However, based on the loosely defined term, burglary can be a charge based completely on trespassing. Burglary may also be a charge if a person once had permission to be on a property, but remained on the premises after they were asked to leave. The punishment for burglary in the state of Florida depends on several factors of the case. The following outlines some of the considerations that the court will have on a burglary conviction:

  • Was the property that was entered a home?
  • Was the premises occupied?
  • Was a weapon or force used?
  • Was the damage or theft exceeding $1,000?

While any of the above may be considered, any type of burglary conviction could lead to a prison sentence a lifetime of being labeled a convicted felon.


By most accounts, robbery is considered a much more serious crime. Robbery is a theft crime, but includes elements of force or violence. While robbery does not always mean that a person used a weapon, robbery always includes an element of fear. The victim feels threatened during the process. There are a number of factors that will determine the sentencing of a robbery charge. However the most significant factors are:

  • Was there an accomplice?
  • Was a weapon used or threatened to be used on the victim?
  • Did the victim suffer bodily harm?

A prison sentence of up to 30 years can be imposed on individuals who are found guilty of a robbery charge. Various factors will determine if there is any room for a lesser charge.

Need Help?

Facing either burglary or robbery charges is very serious. It is critical that you contact a defense attorney to help you maneuver the complicated legal process. The Skier Law Firm, P.A. is committed to providing each client with the criminal legal defense that they deserve. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Skier Law Firm, P.A. has been aggressively defending clients for several years and will be happy to provide you with a free consultation about your case.

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