Some legal terms are often confused or interchanged because people, through no fault of their own, aren’t always readily aware of what those terms actually mean. Some of the most often confused and/or interchanged criminal law terms are robbery and burglary – two offenses that have some similarities but are actually very different. In fact, a friend once recounted the following story after returning home to find their apartment had been broken into and calling their local police precinct:
Victim: “Hello, officer. I’ve just been robbed.”
Police Officer: “Robbed? Did they use a weapon? Have you been injured?
Victim: “No, I wasn’t home when it occurred.”
Police Officer: “You mean your house was broken into?”
Police Officer: “You weren’t robbed, you were burgled.”
While the terms both involve theft, they each refer to a distinctly different kind of theft in Alabama. If you are facing Alabama robbery or Alabama burglary charges, it is important to understand the distinction between them.
Alabama Robbery Charges
In short, Alabama robbery occurs when someone uses force or the threat of force to take items from an individual. Most likely, those that have been “mugged” are victims of robbery. Alabama law §13A-8-41 through §13A-8-43 specifies three degrees of robbery, charges for which will depend upon the individual circumstances of a case. Such circumstances can include whether or not a weapon was used – or the impression that a weapon was going to be used was given by the defendant – or whether or not the robbery was committed with another person. All three degrees of Alabama robbery charges count as felonies, with robbery in the first degree carrying the most serious consequences. Conviction for Alabama robbery in the first degree can carry a prison sentence with a minimum of 10 years and the potential for a much longer sentence depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Alabama Burglary Charges
Alabama burglary occurs when someone enters a building or remains in a building illegally for the purposes of committing any crime, including theft. Alabama law §13A-7-5 through §13A-7-7 specifies three degrees of burglary, too. As with robbery, the specific burglary charge will be based on the circumstances of the alleged burglary itself. These circumstances may include whether or not another person was injured during the course of the burglary as well as what type of weapon, if any, was used in the burglary. All three degrees of burglaries count as Alabama felonies, with a conviction for burglary in the first degree having the most serious consequences. As with robbery, conviction for Alabama burglary in the first degree can come with an extremely lengthy prison sentence of over 10 years.
Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney
Robbery and burglary are serious Alabama criminal charges. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction could mean a lengthy jail sentence as well as financial penalties. If you are facing Alabama robbery or Alabama burglary charges, or other Alabama criminal offenses, we have a Birmingham criminal defense team ready to work with you. When facing Alabama criminal charges, being represented by an experienced Alabama criminal defense attorney can have a large impact on the outcome of the criminal proceedings.