Are Theft, Burglary, and Robbery the Same Thing under Arizona Law?

Although in day-to-day conversation you may use the words robbery, theft, and burglary to mean the same thing, these words actually have very different legal meanings in Arizona and cannot be used interchangeably in the courtroom. If you or a family member has been arrested for theft in Arizona, you may have a lot of questions about what these different charges mean. As Tempe criminal lawyers, we'd like to lend a hand in clarifying these three criminal offenses and help you understand the differences between them.

Burglary in Arizona:

According to the Arizona Revised Statues, burglary is basically "entering or remaining unlawfully" on a property "with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein." This can cover a fairly wide spectrum, from entering a commercial parking lot to actually entering a residential home with the intent to steal items within.

Robbery in Arizona:

The Arizona Revised Statutes state that:

"A person commits robbery if in the course of taking any property of another from his person or immediate presence and against his will, such person threatens or uses force against any person with intent either to coerce surrender of property or to prevent resistance to such person taking or retaining property."

So, essentially, robbery is the use of threats or violence to attempt to steal from another person. It is different from burglary because intimidation or force must be used, and the victim is present at the time.

Theft in Arizona:

Theft is basically defined as unlawfully taking property that doesn't belong to you. This may come in many forms, including stealing physical items, taking advantage of a "vulnerable adult" while you are in a position of authority, or may apply to intellectual property. While burglary or robbery involves the intent of theft, both possess different nuances and actions by legal definition.

If you have been arrested for theft, robbery, or burglary in Tempe, you could be facing very serious punishment depending on your circumstances and whether a weapon or threat was used. Don't wait until it's too late to consult with a skilled and experienced Tempe criminal lawyer who can help protect your rights and work toward the best outcome in your specific situation. Give us a call today at 1-888-929-5292 to speak with someone who can help you get started. If you'd like to learn more about who we are and what we do, please also request your free copy of our highly informative book, Arizona Criminal Law - What You Must Know.