These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they differ in fundamental ways. Each of them is considered a property crime, but occur under different circumstances. Understanding the difference between the two impacts the type of criminal defense an Illinois resident accused of either will need.

Both robbery and burglary fall under the category of theft, along with others. The law defines robbery as the unlawful taking something of value from an individual by using threat, force or intimidation. The victim of this type of theft needs to be present in order for a robbery to occur. There can be just one victim (mugging) or multiple victims (bank robbery).

Burglary is different. The victim does not need to be present when this type of theft occurs. The law defines it as entering a structure illegally with the intent of stealing property. Structures include homes, office buildings or even a shed in a backyard.

One thing a structure cannot be is a vehicle. A separate form of theft covers that. Each of these crimes also comes in varying degrees, depending on the circumstances. The differences between burglary and robbery are important because the possible penalties imposed upon conviction vary with the type of crime charged.

Whether an Illinois resident is charged with burglary or robbery, the penalties for a conviction could be severe. More than that, however, is the fact that such charges could adversely affect other aspects of an individual’s life such as the ability to obtain certain jobs, along with limiting housing and education prospects. For these and other reasons, it would be beneficial to discuss the situation with a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Source:, “Burglary vs Robbery: What’s the Difference?“, David DeMille, Accessed on April 10, 2017

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