In both robbery and burglary, criminals often intend to steal property. However, burglary does not always include the added offense of theft. In fact, burglary in an inchoate crime, which is utilized to prepare for a number of additional offenses once the perpetrator has illegally gained access to a structure. Those offense can include crimes against property, or crimes against a person.
Whereas, robbery always concludes with the theft of property utilizing the threat or violence or actual violence. In either case, the perpetrator may carry a weapon, which subsequently results in more serious charges. However, burglarsare not likely to reveal their weapon, as they generally do not come into contact with their victims. Robbery always includes some form of contact between the victim and the perpetrator.
Robbery often incurs more serious charges than burglary. However, the charges and sentence are dependent on several factors, including state and federal law. In addition, burglary, as an inchoate offense, can result in a number of differing proceeding offenses. If the proceeding offense is theft, the burglar is likely to face less serious charges than an individual that takes part in crimes against a person, such as assault. In addition, some crimes against property are more serious than others.
For example, a burglar that commits arson, is going to face more serious charges than a burglar that steals property. Most of these distinctions are made by state laws. Yet, in some cases, federal law applies, depending on the nature of the crime. If federal laws apply, those laws supersede state laws and criminals must first answer the federal charges. Federal laws apply for robbery or burglary, in certain circumstances, such as financial institutions or post offices. Robbery would also incur more serious charges than burglary, due to the more serious nature of the crime.
The major difference between burglary and robbery, is intent. The robber intents to steal property, utilizing the threat of violence, or actual violence. Whereas, the burglar's intent is not always as clear. Burglars intend to enter a structure, without permission. However, burglars can have varying intents once that portion of the crime has been committed.
Statistically, burglars usually intend to steal property and never come into contact with their victim. However, some burglars intend more harm than robbers, as is the case with assault, kidnapping and murder. Both crimes are serious and perpetrators often face harsh prison sentences, especially if they have violated any federal laws.