Many people believe the terms ‘burglary‘ and ‘larceny‘ (or theft) mean the same thing and are therefore the same crime, but these are actually two different illegal activities that carry different consequences when you are charged with either. Let’s take a closer look at what each crime entails to understand why one is more severe than the other.
What is Burglary?
The main difference between burglary and larceny is that the former is focused more on intent than the actual act of committing a crime. Burglary is the unlawful entry into any building or structure with the intention of committing a crime. ‘Unlawful’ here means that you did not have permission to enter the building and that you used any amount of force to make your way inside, even if that force was simply pushing open a door or climbing through a window.
To convict someone of burglary, the prosecutor must prove that there was intent to commit a crime. Burglary charges typically carry a prison sentence, and the terms will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the burglary.
What is Larceny?
This crime occurs when the intended crime of theft is actually carried out or committed successfully. Larceny means that a person has taken possession of another person’s property without permission and without intending to return it to the owner. A burglary can lead to larceny when the person who enters a property unlawfully goes beyond the intention of committing a crime and actually steals a piece of personal property from the building they entered. There are two main classifications of larceny in MD:
- Stolen item(s) typically valued at under $1,000
- Can involve a fine or jail sentence of up to 6 months
- Stolen item(s) typically valued at over $1,000
- Can involve fines and jail sentence up to 3 years
If you have committed burglary or larceny, hiring an expert MD lawyer to help defend your criminal case is the best way to avoid harsher penalties for your crime.
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Albers & Associates is a professional law firm in Maryland that has been assisting clients all throughout the state in ensuring they get the best outcome from their criminal cases for many years.