Most people understand robbery and burglary generally involve stealing from other people. Under Minnesota law Robbery and Burglary have distinct legal definitions, but what exactly is the difference?
Robbery is a classification of theft in which the perpetrator forcibly takes (or attempts to take) something from another person. Force can mean physical violence or the threat of physical violence. Aggravated robbery, a much more serious crime, involves using (or threatening to use) a weapon to commit the theft. Minnesota law recognizes several levels of robbery.
Simple robbery is the use or threat of imminent use of force against any person to unlawfully take personal property from another person. A simple robbery does not involve the use or threat of use of a weapon. Simple robbery is a felony crime with a maximum punishment of ten years in prison.
Second Degree Robbery
Second degree robbery involves threatening to use a weapon. Minnesota law has aggravated criminal penalties for threatening the use of a weapon during a robbery or attempted robbery. This felony crime is punishable up to fifteen years in prison.
First Degree Robbery
First degree robbery is the most serious aggravated robbery under Minnesota law and involves use of a dangerous weapon, or inflicting bodily harm on another person to commit or attempt to commit the theft. First degree robbery is punishable up to twenty years in prison.
Burglary, unlike robbery, generally does not involve a face to face confrontation. Minnesota law defines burglary as any unlawful entry of a building, residence, structure or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. This of course includes homes, garages, RVs, buildings and storage sheds, for example. A burglary could involve entering a building without the consent, using trick or misrepresentation to obtain consent, or even remaining within a building without the consent of the person in lawful possession.
Minnesota law recognizes several levels of burglary.
First Degree Burglary
Burglary in the first degree is the most serious classification and could involve multiple scenarios, including:
(1) unlawful entry into a dwelling while another person – not an accomplish or co-defendant – is present during the burglary;
(2) unlawful entry into a building when the burglar has a dangerous weapon, or anything fashioned in a manner to lead a victim to reasonably believe it to be a dangerous weapon; or
(3) the burglar assaults a person within the building or on the building’s appurtenant property.
Burglary in the first degree is punishable up to twenty years in prison.
Second Degree Burglary
Burglary in the second degree likewise includes several possible scenarios, including:
(1) unlawful entry of a home or dwelling when no one is present;
(2) unlawful entry to a building that includes a banking business and the entry is with force or threat of force; or
(3) unlawful entry into a building that includes a pharmacy, or other lawful business in which controlled substances are routinely held, and the entry is forcible.
Second degree burglary is punishable up to ten years in prison.
Third Degree Burglary
Burglary in the third degree involves unlawful entry into a building with the intent to steal or commit any felony or gross misdemeanor. Third degree burglary is punishable up to five years in prison.
Fourth Degree Burglary
Burglary in the fourth degree includes unlawful entry into a building with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, other than to steal. Fourth degree burglary is a gross misdemeanor a punishable up to 365 days in jail.