In Virginia, burglary and robbery are legally considered to be two different crimes. They are handled in unique ways, have separate requirements in order for a person to be accused of them, and will result in their own penalties if an individual is convicted. But what exactly are those differences?
FindLaw explains that burglary is primarily defined as the unlawful entering of someone else's property, whether or not they are present at the time of the invasion. No physical breaking or entering of the property is required either. A person may simply walk through an open door or climb through an unlocked window, and it will still count as burglary. Additionally, one needs only have the intent to steal something; they do not necessarily need to have been successful.
The Free Dictionary explains that robbery, on the other hand, is generally a more violent crime. Robbery relies on fear or force to steal someone else's property. The victims are usually on or within the property at the time of the incident. For example, when bank robbers steal money from clerks, this is a robbery. On the other hand, if someone were to enter a person's open door and steal a package within their foyer, this is burglary.
Both of these crimes can result in potentially hefty penalties, though robbery is usually treated as the more serious crime of the two and thus has harsher penalties. Anyone facing any sort of theft charges may wish to contact an attorney to learn more about defense options when going to trial.