What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary?

While many people use the terms robbery and burglary interchangeably, the fact remains that they are two completely different crimes in the state of Indiana. Robbery involves using the threat of force to unlawfully take property from another, whereas burglary involves breaking into a business or dwelling with the intent to commit theft or a felony offense while inside the property. Not only do these crimes have different definitions, but the consequences and potential defenses used to clear your name are also varied.

The Penalties Of a Burglary Conviction May Be Devastating

Indiana generally considers all types of burglary crimes to be felony-level charges according to Indiana Code § 35-43-2-1. The level of the felony you are charged with will determine the severity of your penalties. For example, if you are accused of burglarizing a non-residence, you could be charged with a level five felony, which is punishable by up to six years in prison. However, if you were charged with burglarizing a residential building, this could be elevated to a level four felony, which carries a prison term of up to 12 years.

If anyone is seriously injured during a burglary attempt, charges will automatically be considered a level three felony, which carries prison time of up to 16 years. If you are accused of using a deadly weapon, expect your burglary charges to reach the level two felony level, which carries up to 30 years in prison. In the event you are accused of using a deadly weapon and causing severe bodily injury, expect to be charged with a level one felony. If convicted, you could be facing up to 40 years in prison.

It should be noted that you can commit both burglary and robbery in the same situation. This means you could be facing multiple criminal charges and significant penalties.

A Robbery Conviction Could Turn Your World Upside Down

Robbery is also generally considered a felony-level offense. In most robbery cases, whether you are charged with a level three or five felony, you could be facing fines not to exceed $10,000. However, your level of felony charges will determine the extent of your prison term. For example, if you are accused of committing a level five robbery offense, you might spend up to six years in prison under

Indiana Code § 35-42-5-1. However, if you are found guilty of committing armed robbery, which is a level three felony, you could be looking at up to 16 years in prison.

Both robbery and burglary charges can carry mandatory minimum sentences. As a convicted felon, you will also likely experience many collateral consequences, including job loss, child visitation issues, having your professional license suspended or revoked, and more. Your felony conviction will likely remain on your criminal record indefinitely unless or until you are granted an expungement.

Multiple Factors Influence Which Charges Apply in Your Case

Several potential factors will determine which charges apply in your case. If the prosecuting attorney is unable to show that the elements of the offense have been met, the charges against you should be dismissed or reduced to a more appropriate crime. There is also the potential for burglary or robbery charges to be elevated to a more serious offense if aggravating factors are present. For example, if the alleged victim was seriously injured or killed in the incident, you could expect harsher criminal charges and penalties.