What is the difference between theft and burglary?
Theft involves the taking of another person’s money or property without their consent and with the intention to deprive them of it temporarily or permanently.
Most people mistakenly believe that a burglary involves a theft of something, but that is not accurate. Actually, a burglary only requires that someone enter a property or conveyance (i.e. car) without permission and while having the intention of committing any crime once inside. So although a burglary commonly involves an intent to steal or commit a theft, a person can still be accused of burglary if they enter without permission and intend on committing another type of crime like, for example, battery (i.e. the unlawful touching of another person). Moreover, according to the Florida Statute § 810.02(2), a burglary that also involved an assault or battery on any person enhances the potential punishment to a first-degree felony, which includes life imprisonment.
But even if a person does not go through with committing the crime they intended to do once inside, it might still qualify as a burglary. For example, entering into another person’s home with the intent to steal money or jewelry is considered a burglary even if, ultimately, no money or jewelry is ever taken. And if a person was armed or became armed with a dangerous weapon once inside the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, it might enhance the potential punishment to a first-degree felony.