When a thief breaks into a home and the resident is there, the burglary may turn into robbery instead. Burglary and robbery are often used interchangeably and although they are both property crimes, the two are different according to Utah state law.
Utah code 76-6-202 states that “An actor is guilty of burglary who enters or remains unlawfully in a building or any portion of a building with intent to commit: a felony, theft, […]”. Someone can commit burglary by breaking into a house while the homeowners are away on vacation. Burglary, or breaking and entering, doesn’t necessarily have to involve the victim themselves, just their home and their belongings.
Robbery in comparison
76-6-301 states “A person commits robbery if: the person […] takes or attempts to take person property in the possession of another from his person, or immediate presence, against his will, by means of force or fear […]”. Therefore to be considered robbery, a victim must be present at the scene of the crime and feel threatened or forced to give up their belongs by the intruder. Likewise, robbery doesn’t have to involve a dwelling or building whereas burglary does.
Penalties for burglary and robbery
76-6-202 defines burglary as a 3rd degree felony “unless it was committed in a dwelling, in which event it is a second degree felony.” Robbery, whether it takes place in a dwelling or in public is always a 2nd degree felony as it involves another person directly. If convicted, burglary and robbery charges can bring lengthy prison time. Many criminals with a history of theft don’t fully understand the ramifications when they directly involve the victim or intrude on someone’s home. For anyone facing burglary and/or robbery charges, communicate with a criminal defense attorney immediately.