Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary Charges in Illinois

 Posted on February 11,2019 in Felonies & Misdemeanors

Arlington Heights, IL Theft Lawyer

In casual conversation, robbery, theft, and burglary may seem synonymous, but in the criminal justice system, they are not. Robbery, theft, and burglary are three different charges that have very different consequences. 

Most people know these crimes all involve taking property that belongs to someone else, but there are various behaviors that constitute each offense. If you face robbery, theft, or burglary charges, it is important to understand the differences.


This is a crime in which an individual simply takes something that is not theirs. Theft occurs when you knowingly:

  • Obtain control over property without permission from the property’s owner;
  • Take control of property by use of threat or deception; or
  • Take possession of property you know or should reasonably know to have been stolen.

Theft crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the circumstances involved. The sentencing for theft crimes is directly related to the dollar value of the property that was taken. At the low end, if the property taken is valued at less than $500, then the crime is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. Theft crimes can also be classified as Class X felonies in extreme circumstances, punishable by six to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.


If a person takes property directly from an individual or their presence and threatens the use of force or actually uses force, it is classified as robbery. General robbery is classified as a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Aggravated robbery occurs when the person being robbed is told by the assailant that they are armed. Aggravated robbery is classified as a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison.


Like theft, burglary involves the unlawful taking of property. The difference with burglary charges is that they involve knowingly entering a structure or vehicle with the intent of committing a felony or theft. If no damage is caused during the burglary, the crime is classified as a Class 3 felony, which carries a punishment of two to five years in jail. If damage is present, the crime is upgraded to a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison.

A Rolling Meadows, IL Theft Defense Attorney Can Help

Theft, robbery and burglary charges carry serious punishments for a conviction. If you face one or more of these charges, you need immediate help from an Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense lawyer. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has more than 25 years in criminal law, including defending clients against theft charges. Contact our office today for a free consultation at 847-253-3400.


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