Theft is a complicated crime that has many variations. The most well-known types of theft crimes are robbery and burglary, but what about larceny? For those who have been involved in or subject to a theft crime, they might wonder how the three differ. This can be important to learn as there are very different penalties associated with the three crimes.

Defining Larceny

Larceny is actually the simplest form of theft to define. Larceny is the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. It is different from robbery in that robbery denotes the threat or use of violence or force. Because larceny does not involve violence or threats, it usually occurs when the victim is not present. The notable exception to this is street theft such as pickpocketing or cellphone snatching. When the stolen items are valued above a certain dollar amount (which differs from state to state) it is generally called grand theft.

Defining Burglary

Burglary is defined as the unlawful and unauthorized entry of a building or structure. Burglary is strongly associated with theft because the purpose of the unauthorized entry often is theft; however, this is not necessarily the case. A person who unlawfully enters a home in order to stalk the inhabitant, for instance, would also be guilty of burglary. Burglary and larceny often occur together, but technically speaking the crime of unlawfully entering and the crime of actually stealing another’s property are separate crimes.

The Difference Between Larceny and Robbery

As previously stated, the difference between robbery and larceny is the threat or actual use of force. There can be times when it is difficult to distinguish which crime actually occurred. In many situations, it is difficult to unambiguously prove that a threat was used rather than deception or stealth. This is crucial to the case as the punishments associated with robbery are usually more serious than those applied to cases of larceny.

If this is an issue that you would like to discuss with a professional, then contact the law offices of Eric Harron. After all, if you’re being charged with larceny, you need a larceny lawyer to defend you.