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What is the difference between robbery and burglary?

More often than not, burglary and robbery get lumped together because most people believe both crimes involve taking a person’s property. Although in some respects this is true, there are distinct differences between the two. 

1. Robbery

The state of Maryland’s definition of robbery is intentionally taking property or services from someone by use of force or threat of force. The act of robbery must include the intent to deprive the owner of his or her property or restore the property if the owner provides payment. 

A person found guilty of robbery faces a felony conviction with up to 15 years in prison. A charge of armed robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment. 

2. Burglary

Often associated with robbery, burglary is different as it does not have to involve the taking of property. A person only needs to break into a structure with the intent to commit a crime. Maryland breaks down burglary into four degrees. 

  • Fourth-degree involves breaking and entering a residence, backyard, front yard or storehouse 
  • Third-degree is the breaking into a person’s dwelling with intent to commit a crime 
  • Second-degree breaking and entering a storehouse intending to commit a crime of theft, violence or arson or with the purpose to steal, take or carry away a firearm 

First-degree burglary is a felony and includes home invasion. Home invasion involves breaking into an occupied dwelling intending to commit a violent crime. The charge carries up to 25 years in prison. The severity of the charge depends on the structure, such as a residence, storehouse or land. 

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