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    The Difference Between Theft Robbery and Burglary in California

    Posted on: September 3rd, 2022 by Dod Law

    Difference between theft robbery and burglaryDespite being different crimes that carry different penalties, many Californians use the terms theft, burglary, and robbery interchangeably. If you face any of these charges, it is essential to understand the difference and your legal options to protect your rights. Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you as well as your best path forward for fighting them.

    At Dod Law, APC, we are committed to ensuring our clients have the knowledge necessary to fully understand their rights, options, and charges they face. Attorney Dod has worked on over 6,500 criminal cases and has a proven track record of successfully helping his clients achieve justice. When you partner with him, you can have peace of mind that an experienced and skilled legal professional will craft your defense.

    What Is the Difference Between Theft, Burglary, and Robbery in California?

    To better understand the charges you may be facing, it is essential to understand the critical differences between theft, burglary, and robbery.


    In California, theft is considered the unlawful taking of someone else’s property without force. In fact, many theft crimes occur with little to no interaction between the perpetrator and the victim.

    Depending on the monetary value of the stolen items, an individual may be charged with petty theft or grand theft. If the value of the stolen items is less than $950, the suspect will likely be charged with petty theft. If convicted, they may face up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. If the value of the stolen items exceeds $950, the suspect may face grand theft charges. Grand theft is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of $10,000.


    Robbery is similar to theft but involves contact or force between the victim and the perpetrator. In a robbery case, force could mean using a deadly weapon or simply intimidating the victim. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime, suspects may be charged with robbery in the first or second degree. Individuals convicted of first-degree robbery may face up to nine years behind bars, while those convicted of second-degree robbery may face up to five years.


    Burglary differs from both theft and robbery in several ways. One notable difference is that property does not have to be stolen for a burglary. California law defines burglary as entering a building or structure with the intent to commit a felony. For example, an individual may be charged with burglary for unlawfully entering a home with the intent to steal valuables, even if nothing was stolen.

    Similarly to robbery, burglary can be charged as a first or second-degree offense depending on the facts of the case. Those convicted of first-degree burglary may be sentenced to up to six years in prison, while those convicted of second-degree burglary may be sentenced to up to one year.

    How Can a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me Fight Theft, Burglary, or Robbery Charges?

    Regardless of your charges, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. A few ways your lawyer may be able to help you include the following:

    • Thoroughly investigating your case
    • Collecting essential evidence and witness statements
    • Filing all paperwork correctly and on time
    • Negotiating with the prosecutor on your behalf
    • Aggressively advocating for your rights and interests inside and outside of the courtroom
    • Guiding you through every step of California’s legal process
    • Keeping you informed and answering your legal questions

    At Dod Law, APC, our attorneys are committed to working with our clients to defend their rights and finding the best possible path forward after an arrest.

    Speak to a Talented Criminal Defense Attorney at Dod Law, APC

    Being charged with theft, robbery, or burglary can leave you feeling stressed and confused as you contemplate your legal options. If you are facing criminal charges in California, the stakes are too high to go without an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. At Dod Law, APC, our attorneys are dedicated to putting our clients’ needs first as we aggressively defend their rights and freedoms. When you work with us, you can have peace of mind that we will craft the best defense possible on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our talented team, call us today at (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form.

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    Meet Attorney Dod Ghassemkhani

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