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How are theft, robbery and burglary different?

Should you face theft, robbery or burglary charges in Texas, you may be confused as to what differences exist among these three. FindLaw explains that while all three charges represent stealing crimes, they nevertheless are three distinct crimes for which the prosecutor must prove different things in order to convict you.

Some states call theft larceny. By whatever name, a theft conviction requires that the prosecutor prove that you deliberately stole something from someone intending to permanently deprive him or her of that property. A petty theft charge usually involves your allegedly stealing something with a value of less than $1,000 while a grand theft charge usually involves your allegedly stealing something valued at over $1,000.


Robbery involves not only proving the fact of your alleged stealing, but also the fact that you used some sort of weapon or threat while allegedly committing your robbery. To prove robbery, the prosecutor must convince the jury that you put your alleged victim in fear for his or her life or safety if (s)he refused to accede to your demands.


Unlike theft and robbery that require proof of an actual taking to convict you, the prosecutor need prove only your intent to convict you of burglary. Specifically, (s)he must prove that you entered a building without permission for the purpose of committing a crime once inside. Keep in mind that the nature of your alleged intended crime makes no difference, nor the fact that you never actually carried out your alleged intent.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.