American criminal law is nuanced and complex. As a result, various crimes that seem fairly similar may be treated very differently by the courts. It is therefore important that if you are charged with a crime, you seek the guidance of an experienced criminal law attorney who can both explain your charges to you and advocate as successfully as possible on your behalf.
For example, say that you are accused of stealing something. Your attorney should be able to explain to you which theft crime or crime you have been accused of committing. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your alleged crime, you may face different potential penalties than you would had your circumstances been changed only a little bit.
In popular culture, burglary, theft and robbery are often treated as simply a crime involving “stealing.” However, the courts treat these crimes quite differently. In general, theft is the basic crime of taking property from another without permission. To be convicted of this crime, it must be generally proven that you intended to permanently deprive someone of their property.
When you use fear or physical force to commit a theft, you can be accused and convicted of robbery. As a result, robbery is often considered to be a more serious crime than theft is.
Finally, burglaries do not require theft. They do require however that you unlawfully enter a business, home or other physical structure with the intent to commit some kind of unlawful activity inside that the structure you have entered.
Source: Findlaw Blotter, “What’s the Difference Between Burglary, Robbery, and Theft?” Daniel Taylor, Jan. 5, 2015