What’s the Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary?
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People often mistake robbery for burglary, or burglary for theft. So what’s the difference?


Minnesota Theft Charges


Theft is generally defined as intentionally taking property that is not yours. The property can be taken temporarily or permanently, but as long as you take it without permission, a theft has been committed. Common types of theft include pickpocketing, shoplifting, tricking someone into providing services without paying, writing a bad check (or a check without enough funs in the bank causing it to “bounce”), stealing a car, forging a check, or wrongfully obtaining public assistance (welfare fraud).  The penalties for theft offenses in Minnesota vary depending on the specific type of theft charge.  Thefts involving money or goods up to $500 are misdemeanors punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Thefts involving money or goods up to $1,000 are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Thefts involving money or goods over $1,000 are felonies punishable by at least 1 year in prison or more. As a general rule, the higher the dollar value, the higher the penalties.


Minnesota Robbery Charges


Robbery is a theft including the use or threatened use of force. One example of robbery is when a suspect demands property from a victim while threatening them. “Give me your money or I’ll hurt you” is a classic robbery scenario. This is referred to as “simple robbery” in Minnesota.  A simply robbery becomes an “aggravated robbery” when either a dangerous weapon is used or when a victim is injured. So if a suspect hurts a victim while robbing them, or uses a knife or gun (or any other dangerous object) the robbery charges becomes more serious and the penalties are increased. Maximum penalties for robbery offenses range from 10 to 20 years in prison.


Minnesota Burglary Charges


Burglary is the entering a home without permission and for the purpose of committing a crime. The intended crime does not need to be theft, although that is a common reason for burglaries. A burglary can be committed if a suspect breaks into a home for the purpose of hurting someone or damaging property, as an example. Depending on the specific acts of a burglary offense, the maximum penalties range from 1 year in jail up to 20 years in prison.


Most theft, robbery, and burglary charges are felonies in Minnesota carrying strict punishments and harsh collateral consequences. Keyser Law, P.A. is a Minneapolis-based criminal defense law firm. We handle felony cases throughout the state and offer free consultations. Call us at (612) 338-5007 to learn how we can help.

If You Need a Top Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Call 312-338-5007



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