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What is the Difference between Burglary & Robbery?


Many people often confuse the terms burglary and robbery with one another. Although both crimes involve an element of theft, there are several differences between the two.

Person-to-Person Interaction

For example, robbery is defined by California law as stealing or attempting to take something of value from a person using force, intimidation, or threat. For a robbery to occur, a victim must be present at the crime scene.

By contrast, a person-to-person interaction does not have to take place during a burglary. Rather, the crime only involves unlawful entry to a dwelling or structure to commit theft or any other felony. An individual can be charged with burglary even if the intended crime wasn’t actually committed.


Robbery will also be charged as a felony offense. First-degree robbery occurs if the crime was committed in an inhabited residence or structure, against those using public transportation, and against those using ATM machines. Second-degree robbery is considered all other instances of the crime.

Burglary, can either be charged as a misdemeanor or felony--commonly known as wobblers. If a person commits burglary when entering an inhabited residence or structure, it is considered first-degree burglary, which is a felony. All other instances are second-degree burglaries, which are either misdemeanors or felonies, based on the circumstances of the offense and the suspect’s criminal record.

Charged with a Theft Crime in Santa Barbara?

If you have been arrested in connection to a burglary or robbery in Santa Barbara or Ventura County, our experienced legal team at Appel & Morse is dedicated to helping you get the best results possible. We can evaluate your case, discuss your legal options, and create a strong defense strategy to either get your entire case thrown out or your charges reduced. Just because you have been charged, doesn’t mean you are guilty.

Contact our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney and schedule a consultation today.

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