Let’s discuss the difference between robbery and burglary in Louisiana. I am discussing this because I’ve noticed people tend to use them synonymously. However, there is a big difference between the two. The law I am referring to in this post and throughout the website is always the Louisiana law as opposed to law in other states. Every state has its own state laws.
Robbery in Louisiana
Simple robbery in Louisiana is the taking of anything of value belonging to another from the person of another or that is in the immediate control of another, by use of force or intimidation, but not armed with a dangerous weapon. If the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon, then the charge becomes armed robbery.
Robbery is essentially using force to take an item from another. For example, the offender goes up to someone and says “give me your money or I’ll shoot you.” This is a robbery. If he has a dangerous weapon, it is armed robbery.
Burglary in Louisiana
Now, let’s talk about burglary. Simple burglary is the unauthorized entering of any dwelling, vehicle, watercraft, or other structure, movable or immovable, or any cemetery, with the intent to commit a felony or any theft therein, other than as set forth in R.S. 14:60.
As you can see, burglary involves the offender going into a house, business, or vehicle with the intent of stealing items or committing a crime. For example, the offender breaks into a car on the side of the street and steals the purse on the seat. That is a simple burglary.
Why Does it Matter?
The difference matters because they of the potential sentences. Although robbery and burglary are both felony charges, robbery charges are harsher in Louisiana. The sentencing ranges are much stricter for Robbery as opposed to burglary. For example, simple burglary has a sentencing range of 0-12 years in prison. The defendant can get probation. Although simple robbery carries 0-7 years in prison, it is a crime of violence. Many judges don’t allow probation for robbery charges even though a defendant could get probation for simple robbery.
Armed robbery is more serious. It carries 10-99 years in prison without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. This means that if the defendant is convicted of armed robbery, he is looking at doing at least 10 years in prison. Many offenders have no idea how serious armed robbery is until they are in jail and charged with the crime.
Why the Difference?
Robbery, especially armed robbery, is treated much more serious than burglary because the act of pulling a gun on someone while demanding money from them is extremely dangerous. Many times, it may result in a murder as the offender may be interested in protecting his identity. The burglary offender doesn’t have this issue as long as nobody sees him. Of course, if the state can prove he is armed with a dangerous weapon, the he can be convicted of Aggravated Burglary, which is more serious than Simple Burglary in Louisiana.
Basically, the difference between burglary and robbery comes down to where the item is that the offender is taking. If it is on the victim’s person, it is a robbery. If it is in the victim’s home or car, it is a burglary.
For more information on criminal laws in Louisiana, contact Carl Barkemeyer, Attorney at Law at 504-321-4300.