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The Name You Know.
The Name You Trust.

We have deep ties to the community, we have represented clients in Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.

The Name You
Know.
The Name You
Trust.

We have deep ties to the community, we have represented clients in Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.

Photo of Ian F. Mann

Is it burglary or theft? How to tell the difference.

Facing charges relating to theft or burglary can have grave consequences. You can get jail, prison time or probation depending on your charges. You may also need to pay fines.

You may wonder what the difference is between the two. Although these two charges are typically related, there is a significant difference between theft and burglary charges.

What is theft?

The legal definition of theft is when you purposely take someone else’s belongings and intend to keep them and never return them.

This definition protects most individuals from accidentally taking someone else’s property. The intent component solidifies it as a theft or larceny charge and burglary.

The monetary worth of the stolen goods usually determines the penalties for theft charges.

What is burglary?

Burglary, on the other hand, involves entering someone else’s property. The Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature states that the legal definition of burglary includes entering some private dwelling without permission with the intent to commit a crime.

The main difference between theft and burglary is that burglary includes any crime where someone enters another person’s property without permission and plans to commit a crime. This may or may not include the intent to steal anything. However, one exception exists for abandoned buildings. While it may be unlawful to enter an abandoned building without permission from the owner and may result in criminal charges, burglary is unlikely to be one of them.

Burglary charges may exist independently of theft charges, but like theft, the element of intent solidifies the charges against it.

If you face burglary and theft charges, an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options.

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