What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary?
To many people, robbery and burglary are interchangeable terms to refer to a specific theft offense. In fact, many people think both simply mean something was stolen from someone. While that is generally true, there are still significant differences between the two crimes under Minnesota law.
Under Minnesota law there are two basic kinds of robbery. They are known as simple robbery and aggravated robbery. Both are serious felony offenses and carry severe penalties. Simple robbery occurs when someone takes property from someone else by using or threatening to use force. For example, walking up to someone and threatening to punch them if they do not hand over their wallet would be simple robbery. Simple robbery carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $20,000.
Aggravated robbery can be either first or second degree. First degree occurs when someone uses a dangerous weapon and inflicts bodily harm on another while committing a robbery. For example, someone who pistol whips another while demanding their wallet could be charged with first degree aggravated robbery. First-degree aggravated robbery is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or up to $35,000 in fines.
Second-degree aggravated robbery occurs when someone, while committing a robbery, leads the victim to believe they are in possession of a dangerous weapon. For example, someone who has their hand in their pocket and asks for another person’s wallet while telling them that they have a gun in their pocket, could be found guilty of second degree aggravated robbery. Second-degree aggravated robbery is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and/or up to $30,000 in fines.
Generally, burglary involves entry into a building, without permission, and with the intent to commit a crime while in the building. In Minnesota burglary can be first, second, third, or fourth degree. First, second, and third-degree burglary are all felony offenses while fourth-degree burglary is a gross misdemeanor offense.
First-degree burglary occurs when someone enters a building without permission and intends to commit a felony. First-degree burglary also requires that the building be a dwelling with someone else in it, the burglar possesses a dangerous weapon, or the burglar assaults someone while on the property. If the burglary is of an occupied dwelling, like someone’s home, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of at least six months in a county jail or workhouse.
Second-degree burglary generally occurs when someone enters a building without permission, intending to commit a crime therein, and if the building is a dwelling, bank, pharmacy, government building, religious establishment, historic property, or school building, or if the burglar possessed tools to gain access to money or property. Second-degree burglary is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
Third-degree burglary occurs when someone enters a building without permission with the intention of stealing or committing a felony or gross misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for third-degree burglary is up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
Fourth-degree burglary occurs when someone enters a building without permission and with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, other than stealing, while therein. The maximum penalty for fourth-degree burglary is up to one year in jail and/or up to $3,000 in fines.
What Do I Do If I Have Been Charged?
If you have been charged with a robbery or burglary offense in Minnesota, the most important thing you can do is make sure you have knowledgeable counsel by your side. There may be any of several defenses to these charges and you cannot afford to attempt to handle a case like this on your own because a conviction could carry a lengthy jail or prison sentence in addition to hefty fines. Contact the BK Law group today for your free consultation.