Many Michigan residents may not know the specific differences between theft, robbery and burglary. They reflect common criminal offenses, but knowing how they differ can help build a strong defense against a prosecutor’s allegations.
A robbery charge could result from threatening an individual to give up property, as noted by Reader’s Digest. A conviction generally requires a prosecutor to prove the act included force or intimidation to persuade an individual to turn over something of value.
Theft versus robbery offenses
Theft offenses generally do not involve violent or threatening actions. An individual could face a theft charge after walking peacefully into a store, placing items in a bag and then leaving without paying.
By adding violence to the circumstances, however, theft could become a robbery charge. Making verbal threats until a cashier turns over money, for example, could classify as robbery.
Robbery with a weapon versus burglary
When an individual allegedly uses a dangerous weapon for coercion, a charge could elevate to armed robbery. Holding a gun, for example, and demanding a cashier to open a locked vault classifies as armed robbery. Burglary, however, does not include the use of threats or a dangerous weapon. According to the Michigan Legislature’s website, burglary charges may result from entering a building without permission and taking property.
A burglary conviction may not require showing evidence of a broken window or door. A prosecutor could succeed in proving an intent to enter a public or private structure to remove property without permission.
Michigan considers certain theft, robbery and burglary offenses as serious felonies. A charge may require an aggressive defense to avoid conviction. The circumstances involved may help a defendant counter a prosecutor’s claims that the intent existed to commit a serious crime.