Theft, burglary and robbery are often interchangeable terms in common conversation, but legally, they are different things. While robbery and theft both involve obtaining someone else's property through illegal means, a burglary does not have to involve theft. Instead, a burglary is when a person enters any structure illegally with the intent to commit a crime. It is these two factors that are the most important to burglary charges.
What type of structure the person enters is not important, but the method of entry is. Burglary can be applicable to a home, business or any other public or private property. While many people think that burglary must involve some type of forcible entry, such as breaking a lock or a window, that is not the case. Walking through an open door can constitute burglary if there was intent to commit a crime inside.
Intent is one of the most crucial points to a burglary charge, but it can also be difficult to prove. If the intent was there, a person can be charged with burglary even if the crime was not actually committed. For instance, if a person goes into a home with the intent of taking property or harming one of the occupants but leaves the house before doing so, burglary has still been committed.
When someone is charged with theft, robbery or burglary, the first step is always understanding the charges. There are many nuances to Connecticut laws that the average layperson may not be aware of. Having a better understanding of the applicable laws can help defendants be well informed as they move forward.
Source: FindLaw, "Burglary Overview" Oct. 27, 2014