Robbery Vs. Burglary: What is the Difference?

8Robbery Vs. Burglary: What is the Difference?

Theft is a common crime in North Carolina and across the country. Theft is the taking of property that does not belong to you. A person may be charged with theft if they are accused of stealing items from a store, taking a car, or grabbing a purse. There are various types of theft charges and depending on the severity, the charge could be either a misdemeanor or a felony. While most people use the terms “robbery” and “burglary” interchangeably, they are different crimes and one is more serious than the other. If you are charged with theft, you will want to vigorously defend the charges with help from a North Carolina criminal defense attorney.


Definition of Robbery

Robbery is the “unlawful taking of property from the person of another through the use of threat or force.” Robbery simply means that someone took property from someone else and used force, threatened to use force, to take it. The person accused of robbery did not have to actually show a weapon, threatening to use a weapon is enough. Robbery occurs in the presence of the victim. For example, someone confronts a woman on the subway and states they have a gun. They force the woman to give up her purse. This is a common scenario that is called robbery. It is different from burglary.


Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I have an outstanding warrant, what should I do?”


What is Burglary?

Burglary, or common theft, is a crime that occurs outside the presence of the victim. Burglary happens when someone takes someone else’s property through unlawful entry. One type of burglary occurs when someone breaks into someone’s home or business and steals items. The victim did not authorize the other party to take the property. The burglar had to take the property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. While a burglar may use tools to gain entry, they typically do not have a weapon because they are attempting to take something without confronting another person.handcuffs-Charlotte-Mecklenburg-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer


Penalties for Robbery and Burglary

North Carolina law provides guidelines for penalties based on the severity of the crime. Judges have some leeway in handing down sentences, but they still must stick to the general guidelines for a particular crime. Burglary is usually a less severe offense than robbery. Basic robbery may not involve a weapon but instead, the accused may hit the victim. This is called common law robbery and is typically a Class G felony with a sentence of up to 50 months in prison.

Armed robbery is a Class D felony and, if convicted, carries a sentence of up to 12 years in prison or more. A person who helps someone commit a robbery could be charged with aiding and abetting, which carries the same penalties as the person who committed the crime. Burglary may be a misdemeanor or felony and if convicted, you could face penalties that include fines, a jail sentence, probation, and more.


All types of thefts are crimes that could result in serious penalties upon conviction. In addition, a conviction will become part of your permanent record. If you have been charged with robbery or burglary, you may want to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your case.









The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



Chapter 14 – Article 14 (

robbery | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


Image Credit:


See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:


See Our Related Blog Posts:

Armed Robbery in Charlotte North Carolina


Aluminum-Covered Bank Robbers Foiled by Security Cameras

Contact Information