While many people believe that the terms robbery and burglary mean the same thing, these are separate crimes in Indiana. So what is the difference? This blog delves into the legal aspects of robbery and burglary in Indiana, clarifying the definitions and the potential penalties of both.
A conviction for robbery or burglary can have severe consequences, so don’t wait to contact a criminal defense lawyer in Evansville, Indiana.
Defining Robbery and Burglary
Robbery: Indiana Code § 35-42-5-1 defines robbery as taking property from another person by using force or the threat of force. Robbery is considered a violent crime in Indiana.
Burglary: Burglary involves entering or breaking into a building or structure unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime. Even lifting a partially open window a few more inches and squeezing through is enough to qualify as breaking and entering.
The key differences between robbery and burglary in Indiana extend beyond the basic definitions. Let’s dive deeper into each point for a better understanding.
- Robbery: The goal of a robbery is always the theft of property.
- Burglary: While theft is the most common motive, burglary can also be committed with the intent to commit other crimes like arson or assault.
Force or Threat
The element of force or intimidation is essential for a robbery charge. This can be physical, such as grabbing or pushing the victim, or it can be verbal, involving threats of violence or harm. The key element is that the victim experiences a reasonable fear of imminent harm if they don’t comply with the perpetrator’s demands.
Force is not a necessary element of burglary. Even without physical force or threats, illegally entering a property to commit a crime fulfills the requirements. This includes gaining entry through deception, trickery, or exploiting existing vulnerabilities without causing damage.
Victim’s Awareness or Presence
- Robbery: As mentioned, the victim in a robbery must be aware of the perpetrator’s actions and intent. If the victim is unconscious, asleep, or unaware of the theft, it may not constitute robbery.
- Burglary: The victim’s presence or awareness is not a requirement for a burglary charge. Consider the example of a burglar who breaks into a house and steals while the residents are away.
- Robbery: While most robberies occur in public spaces, they can happen anywhere at any time. This includes streets, parks, transportation systems, and private dwellings.
- Burglary: Burglary is inherently tied to unauthorized entry or presence on property. This term is used widely and can mean a dwelling, a commercial building, a vehicle, or even an enclosed outdoor space like a shed or yard.
Penalties for Robbery and Burglary in Indiana
Both robbery and burglary are serious offenses in Indiana, carrying significant penalties.
Consequences of Robbery
Classified as a Level 5 felony, robbery carries a potential sentence of 1-6 years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000. The penalties can escalate, reaching 16 years for armed robbery or when bodily injury occurs.
Depending on the circumstances, burglary can range from a Level 5 felony to a Lev. The most severe cases involving burglaries of dwellings resulting in serious bodily injury are punishable by up to three years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
Reach Out to a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Evansville!
The distinction between robbery and burglary is not merely an academic exercise. It is essential for your defense in a criminal case. Accusations, evidence presented, and potential defenses differ based on the specific offense charged.
If you are facing either robbery or burglary charges, having an experienced Evansville criminal defense lawyer on your side is essential. An experienced attorney can help you devise the best strategy for your case and protect your rights.