How Burglary and Robbery Are Different in Georgia
Burglary and robbery are often terms that are used to describe the same event. People tend to interchange the two terms, believing that they are the same thing. The fact of the matter is that burglary and robbery are very different things in Georgia and elsewhere.
To help make it more clear, here is a rundown of each crime. Understanding what burglary is versus robbery in Atlanta can help you understand what consequences you may be facing if you’re charged with either of them.
Burglary in Georgia
Burglary is a property crime. It occurs when a person enters a structure, such as a business or home, in order to commit a crime inside that structure. The intended crime may be theft, but it may also include other crimes. There are three forms of burglary in the state: First degree, second degree and “smash and grab.”
For a person to be charged with first degree burglary, they must have:
- Entered a dwelling or structure, whether or not the structure was occupied or vacant, and
- Intended to commit a theft or felony once entry was gained.
Second degree burglary requires the same elements, but only applies to structures that are not considered dwellings.
A smash and grab is slightly different, in that the defendant must have intentionally entered a store or shop with the intent to commit a theft and caused more than $500 in damage.
Penalties for Burglary
A conviction for the crime of burglary has very serious consequences. The penalties for burglary are as follows:
- First degree: This is a felony crime and a person convicted may spend up to 20 years in prison.
- Second degree: Also a felony, a person may be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.
- Smash and Grab: A smash and grab burglary is a felony that could net a convicted person up to 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Any person who is convicted of burglary may choose to have their sentences suspended or probated with the help of their attorney. If a person has been convicted of burglary four or more times, this cannot happen.
Possible Defenses to Burglary
When a person is charged with a crime, they have the opportunity to be heard in court. Possible defenses against a charge of burglary include intoxication, mental incapacity, mistake of face and age.
Because each case is different, an attorney is necessary when attempting to create a defense against a charge as serious as this.
Robbery in Georgia
Robbery is also a property crime in the state. It can also be a financial crime in a sense. When a person takes property from another and uses force or threats, the crime is robbery. Robbery differs from burglary in that a person must be present. In other words, there is a victim present at the time of the commission of the crime.
Armed robbery occurs in Georgia when a person takes something from a victim, using the threat of force or actual force, but the difference is that there is a weapon involved.
John is walking down the street. All of a sudden he is approached by a man holding a gun. The man demands John’s cell phone and wallet. John complies. The person has just robbed John.
It should be noted that a person can be convicted of armed robbery even if they use a BB gun or toy gun in the commission of the crime. As long as the victim believes the gun to be real, it is real in the eyes of the law for the purpose of sentencing.
A quick note: Robbery of a pharmacy is a separate charge in the state. If a person attempts or does steal items from a pharmacist, there are special penalties and consequences for the perpetrator.
Possible Penalties for Robbery
The penalties for robbery are serious and can have lasting implications. A person convicted of robbery will be sentenced depending on the details of the crime.
- Robbery: A person convicted of robbery faces up to 20 years in prison.
- Armed Robbery: A person convicted of armed robbery faces between 5 and 20 years in prison.
- Robbery of a Pharmacy: When a person is found guilty of robbing a pharmacy, they will be imprisoned for a minimum of 15 years if someone was intentionally injured. Otherwise, the minimum amount of time behind bars is 10 years.
Depending on the circumstances of the crime, a person convicted of armed robbery faces life in prison. There may be the possibility of capital punishment if someone was killed during the commission of the crime.
Speak with an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Today
As you can see, burglary and robbery are both types of theft. When a burglary occurs, there is no human victim present at the time of the crime. When robbery is committed, a human is definitely the victim of the crime.
Either charge is serious, and an experienced Atlanta criminal defense attorney is required for anyone arrested for burglary or robbery. Being convicted of a felony can impact your ability to maintain or gain employment, find a place to live and enjoy the life you have become accustomed to.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Atlanta, you need a knowledgeable attorney who is not afraid to stand up for your rights. Our attorneys are experienced in defending people charged with felonies in Atlanta and know what it takes to protect their legal rights and freedoms. If you need an attorney, call our office and schedule a free case evaluation. Your future is on the line. Call today.