Thief, robber, burglar—these are three words that don’t typically describe you. Yet you have found yourself in a situation in which your perfect record is about to come crumbling to the ground. Perhaps the police picked you up after committing what you thought was a simple crime. Or perhaps you have been wrongfully accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Regardless, you likely have many questions running through your head. What’s the difference between theft, robbery, and burglary? How will this affect my life? Can I be deported for this? What will my punishment be? These are all fair and justified questions. You are probably feeling scared, embarrassed, confused, and potentially disappointed in yourself. These are all normal emotions, but we don’t want you to panic yet. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Andres R. Guevara will walk you through your questions and will fight to make sure that you receive a fair trial.
Theft, also known as larceny, is the general term used when you take something from another person without that person knowing or without his or her consent. Theft can be broken up into two categories: petty theft and grand theft. A theft is considered petty when the item is under $500 in value. However, when the item is more than $500, the theft will be considered grand. The biggest difference between these two categories is the punishment. While petty theft is considered a misdemeanor, grand theft is considered a felony. Therefore the punishment will differentiate to fit the item stolen.
Like theft, robbery can be broken into two categories: simple and aggravated. The general definition of robbery is using force to take a person’s possessions. The force used is the differentiating factor between simple and aggravated. With a simple robbery, the accused uses force, threat, or intimidation and can be punished by a two- to four-year sentencing in prison.
On the other hand, an aggravated robbery requires the presence of a deadly weapon. If a person is convicted of aggravated robbery, he or she may have to serve between four and twelve years in prison. However, it must be noted that the punishments may vary depending on your particular case. No case is the same, and each case can be defended and sentenced differently.
Burglary is another form of crime. Burglary is harder for the prosecution to prove because of the need to prove intent at the moment the defendant entered the building. If the defendant chose to commit a felony or theft while inside the building, this would not constitute burglary. Burglary is defined as unlawfully entering a building with the intent to commit a certain crime. The keyword in this phrase is intent. For example, Julia entered a coffee shop with a large purse around her shoulder. As she was walking out of the store, she grabbed a coffee mug off the shelf and put it into her purse. She says she committed petty theft; however, the prosecution insists it was burglary.
The prosecution has to prove that Julia entered the shop with the intent of stealing the mug. They may say that by carrying the purse, she had pre-planned stealing the mug. There is also the chance that she told someone what she was going to do before walking into the shop. If they can prove her intent to steal when she walked in to the store, it will be considered burglary; however, if she decided to steal the mug when she was in the store, it will be petty theft.
You may be wondering why this is a big deal. It’s important because the punishment for burglary as opposed to that for petty theft is different. The punishment for burglary is more severe. It’s also important to note that a person can be convicted of burglary without stealing; if a person enters a building without consent, this constitutes a break and entry by burglary standards. Additionally, if a defendant enters the building with the intent to commit a crime but is caught before the crime or theft takes place, that person can still potentially be charged with burglary.
To prove intent, the prosecution will attempt to see if you discussed the intent to burglarize with anyone before entering the building. They will also look at your actions and choices before and after entering the building. If you were carrying a large bag, the prosecution could potentially say that this showed intent. Furthermore, they will look into your past. If you have a history of petty theft, this could increase your chances of a burglary conviction.
Can I be deported for this?
If you are not a U.S. citizen, this will probably be one of the first questions you ask yourself. Our goal is to help you through this. We do not want your life to be turned upside down because of a mistake. In order for a non-citizen to be deported, he or she has to have been convicted of committing an aggravated felony. This could be a theft or a violent crime in which you were sentenced for a minimum of one year.
The complicated issue of deportation is that while a crime may seem minor in our eyes or your eyes, it could potentially be considered an aggravated felony by U.S. immigration authorities. For more information on deportation, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website and call our office.
Where do I go from here?
Any of these charges could affect your future in major ways. It may become harder to get a job, you may not be able to get a license, and it will go on your criminal record. We understand this, and we want to help you attain the best future possible. Contact the Law Office of Andres R. Guevara, where we treat our clients like people. We’ll stand by you and listen to you. We will take your worries and views into consideration. Know that the attorneys at the Law Office of Andres R. Guevara are here for the people of Denver, Colorado, and its surrounding areas. We fight for you.