Burglary vs Robbery: What is the Difference?

The terms burglary and robbery are often used interchangeably, but they are two different crimes with very different penalties. Read on to learn more about the difference between burglary and robbery.

What is Burglary?

In New Jersey, a burglary occurs when an individual enters a structure or research facility without permission, and with the intent to commit a crime inside said building. New Jersey defines the term “structure” as any room, building, ship, vehicle, airplane, or any place adapted either for sleeping or business. An aggravated burglary occurs when the offender inflicts, threatens, or attempts to inflict bodily injury on another individual while also committing burglary. Aggravated burglary also applies to burglars who are armed with, or appear to be armed with a deadly weapon or explosive.

What are the Consequences of Burglary?

There are two types of burglary recognized by the state of New Jersey– burglary and aggravated burglary. Those facing a standard burglary charge are committing a crime of the third degree and may face up to 5 years in prison, as well as a potential $15,000 fine. However, if you are convicted of aggravated burglary, a crime of the second degree, you face up to 10 years in prison, as well as up to $150,000 in fines.

What is Robbery?

Simply put, robbery is an aggravated theft crime. Under New Jersey law, simple theft becomes a robbery if any of the following events occur while the crime is being committed: 

  • Inflicting bodily injury or other use of force during the theft
  • Threatening or otherwise putting the victim in immediate fear of bodily injury 
  • Committing or threatening to commit a crime of the first or second degree during the course of a theft, for example, inflicting serious bodily injury or death, or using or threatening to use a deadly weapon (armed robbery)

What are the Penalties of Robbery?

If convicted of second-degree robbery, the offender can face five to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $150,000. First-degree robbery can result in 10 to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $200,000. In addition, robbery falls under the No Early Release Act. This requires the offender to serve 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. 

If you are facing burglary or robbery charges in New Jersey, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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