Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Attorney Sam’s Take: Arrest for Burglary / Arrested for Robbery – What’s The Difference?

The are many theft-related crimes for which one can get arrested in the Boston area. Among the most serious are those of Robbery and Burglary. Both are generally regarded as crimes of violence. Both carry heavy potential prison terms. For both, you had best get an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you at the first possible moment.

The crime of Robbery is basically the taking of someone’s property through use of force. The force can come from a gun, a knife or even a fist. It can be the words “I am going to beat you to a bloody pulp”.

Often, the Robbery is accompanied by a few companion charges. For example, if there is an allegation of an actual touching during the crime, the charge of Assault is added. If that touching was with whatever article was being used in the theft, then that will be treated as an assault with a dangerous weapon. As I have indicated in earlier blogs, that “weapon” can be anything. Even a shoe or a pencil. Naturally, if it is what is commonly considered to be a weapon, the charge of possessing that weapon will also be added.

Robbery is, of course, a felony, and is treated rather seriously in the criminal justice system.

Like Robbery, Burglary is a serious felony, although this depends on a few other conditions. The time of day will effect how serious the crime was as well as the presumed intent behind the breaking and entering. What will also matter a great deal is what was broken into. For example, if one broke into a store to simply get warm in the cold New England weather, one is likely to be prosecuted differently than someone breaking into someone’s home at night with the intent to commit a felony such as rape.

Like Robbery, Burglary has some associated charges that often a accompany the main charge. Among the most popular of such charges is the possession of burglarious tools. Like the weapon in assault with a dangerous weapon, such “tools” can be anything that one might use to break into a place. Of course, it can also be something people generally carry around.

For example, I usually carry a small flashlight with me so I can easily find something if I drop it in my car or some dark place. If I was suspected of breaking and entering, that would be considered a tool of the trade for my moonlighting position of breaking into places.

I am sure you have heard the term “home invasion”. This is generally the breaking and entering into a home and force is generally involved.

There are some other factors with both Burglary and Robbery of which you should be aware. One of the most important is that “self help”, although appreciated in our modern world, is not so acceptable in the criminal justice system. For example, let’s say that Danny Deadbeat owes you money and simply refuses to pay you. You have various remedies under the law available to you. Going up to Danny, grabbing him by the throat with one hand and carrying a broken bottle in the other is not one of them. That is called robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Likewise, forcing yourself into Danny’s home one night and explaining that you are not leaving until you either get your money back or cripple him is frowned upon. We call that breaking and entering in the night time with the intent to commit a felony…among other things.

So, if someone owes you money and will not pay…consult a lawyer.

If you are being charged with either Burglary or Robbery, understand that, although you may think that the law involved is simple, it really isn’t. You want to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side representing and advising you.

If you wish to discuss the matter with me, feel free to call me at 617-492-3000.

In the meantime, have a great, healthy and law-abiding Labor Day Weekend!

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