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What is the difference between a burglary and a robbery?

Many people in Georgia may use the terms “burglary” and “robbery” interchangeably. This is not really correct, however, as they describe two distinctly different crimes. Both can, and often do, include stealing someone else’s property, but according to FindLaw, it is not actually necessary to take something to face burglary charges. 

If you were to unlawfully enter a business, home or other structure belonging to someone else with the intention of committing a crime, that would be a burglary in the eyes of the law. You would not have to successfully complete the crime, and the crime would not need to involve taking someone else’s property. The law would still regard it as burglary whether your intent was to commit murder or to spray the walls with graffiti, et cetera. 

Robbery, however, always involves stealing property that does not belong to you. What sets robbery apart from theft is that theft is merely taking someone’s possessions without permission, while robbery is using force or intimidation to obtain someone else’s possessions. Note that a robbery does not always involve forcibly taking the property away. It is still robbery if the individual hands over the possession(s) out of fear of a threat to his or her wellbeing. 

It could very well be possible to commit burglary and robbery at the same time. If you were to unlawfully enter someone else’s building with the intent of taking his or her possessions by force, that would be burglary, and if you succeeded in taking someone else’s property via violent or threatening means, that would be robbery.

 The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.