Understanding the differences among theft crimes

People often use the terms robbery, theft and burglary interchangeably. They all generally refer to stealing someone else's property. However, the law distinguishes among the three crimes.

The crime of theft is when someone takes another person's property without authorization in order to deprive that person of his or her property. In Connecticut, as in most states, the term larceny means essentially the same thing. It can include identity theft as well as theft of services.

Burglary usually involves the theft of property, but it doesn't have to. The term refers to entering a structure illegally for the purpose of committing a crime. It doesn't have to be a theft crime. It can include any illegal activity, even if the intended crime was never committed. Burglary doesn't need to involve breaking and entering. Even if a person enters a business or residence through an unlocked door to engage in some sort of illegal activity, he or she can be charged with burglary.

Finally, robbery involves a theft crime that is carried out through fear or physical force. For example, if you leave your wallet behind on a counter and someone walks off with it, that's theft. However, if someone grabs it out of your hand or hold a gun on you and demands the wallet, that is robbery.

All of these theft crimes can come with serious consequences. If you or a loved one is charged with any of them or some combination of them, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance from a Connecticut criminal defense attorney to present your case and protect your rights in the justice system.

Source: FindLaw, "What's the Difference Between Burglary, Robbery, and Theft?," Daniel Taylor, Esq., accessed Aug. 10, 2017