Pennsylvania’s laws have many different “types” of theft and there is a strong distinction between theft, robbery and burglary. Always request an attorney before talking to the authorities and it is important you know the exact charges you face. Of all the Criminal laws in Pennsylvania, the legal distinctions between robbery, burglary and theft seem to create the most confusion. Each charge has its own unique elements and people can be charged with more than one crime for the same event or, what is termed, the same “criminal episode.”
Generally speaking, these crimes are defined as follows:
Robbery: Taking property from another person, typically by force.
Burglary: Entering a building, that is not open to the public (a dwelling or business), with the intent to commit a crime.
Theft: The unlawful taking of property from another with the intent to deprive him thereof. Examples include retail theft or white collar crimes such as, embezzlement or welfare fraud. charges result from any form of stealing.
Robbery, Burglary and Theft offenses present unique challenges for the Prosecution in proving their case. In almost all cases, a victim is needed to identify the perpetrator. In other cases, identification will have to be established by circumstantial evidence. If the prosecution cannot place a defendant in a business or home, burglary cannot be substantiated.
If a robbery is committed with any kind of firearm, whether real or a replica, it presents an additional issue that must be considered when evaluating the possible consequences of a conviction. An offender may be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five to ten years.
At Mullaney & Mullaney, we are intimately familiar with all aspects of these laws and will ensure our clients’ rights are protected. Contact us at (610) 584-4416, for a free consultation and case evaluation.