Robbery or Burglary: What’s the Difference?

Ordinary citizens often confuse the words robbery and burglary when describing a personal experience they have had as a victim of a crime. For example a person may say “My house got robbed” when describing a residential break in. It’s a common mistake but under Texas law they are very different crimes.

I once heard a judge describe the difference perfectly during jury selection. He said, “People get robbed. Houses get burglarized.” Robbery is the theft of property from a person by force. If the victim is threatened with a gun, knife, or other deadly weapon then the crime becomes Aggravated Robbery.

Burglary is when a person enters a house or building without the owners consent to commit theft, assault or a felony. The house or building doesn’t have to actually be broken into to qualify as burglary. Entering without the owner’s consent to commit a crime is the key.

Both crimes are very serious felonies under Texas law. If you are ever accused or investigated for either of these criminal offenses consult with an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Do so before you consent to an interview with the police.

Engaging in Organized Crime Parole Consequences

The Texas Engaging In Organized Criminal Activity statute, better known as Engaging In Organized Crime, is a powerful tool used by law enforcement and prosecutors. Charging criminal activity under this statute enhances the punishment range and also allows prosecutors greater latitude in presenting extraneous offenses to prove the criminal case.

There is another powerful aspect to the statute that isn’t as well publicized but can have dire consequences to the defendant who is in danger of being sentenced to a prison term. Release from prison from a conviction for Organized Criminal Activity requires the defendant to serve half the prison sentence before they can become eligible for parole.

This type of parole requirement typically occurs in aggravated offenses such as Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Sexual Assault and Murder. Other felony prison sentences for crimes such as theft or burglary don’t require a defendant to serve half the prison sentence before parole eligibility and a defendant can expect to get released long before half their time is served. However, if the same defendant were convicted of Engaging in Organized Crime, and the underlying offense was burglary or theft, the defendant would be required to serve half the time prison sentence before parole eligibility.

The danger of serving aggravated time for conviction under any scenario of the Engaging in Organized Crime Statute should be carefully weighed by the criminal defense attorney when they are in engaged in plea negotiations with the prosecution.

Should I Talk To The Police?

Should I talk to the police? That's the first question a citizen who has come under police suspicion has for the criminal defense [...]

Three Ways You can be Charged With Deadly Conduct

The criminal charge of Deadly Conduct can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony under Texas law. The misdemeanor penalty range is [...]

Shoplifting Can Become a Felony Robbery Charge in Texas

In Texas a misdemeanor shoplifting offense can turn into a felony robbery case. How does this happen? Shoplifting in Texas is when a [...]

Cowboys Wilson cleared in Frisco road rage case

Cowboys Wilson cleared in Frisco road rage case Fox4 News, October 11, 2017 Dallas Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson was cleared of all charges [...]

Calls for Balch Springs officer to be arrested unlikely to be met, experts say Staff - May 4, 2017 A rising chorus of voices is calling for fired Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver to be [...]

Dallas basketball player’s killer arrested for sexual assault

April 3, 2017, by Fox4News A former basketball player at Dallas Madison High School who was charged with murder in 2014 is now [...]

Police arrest boyfriend of missing college student after discovering human remains

LynnAnne Nguyen,, Feb 4, 2017 The boyfriend of missing college student Zuzu Verk has been arrested, one day after police say they found [...]

Jury deliberates in trial of former Garland officer

Rebecca Lopez, WFAA, December 16, 2016 Defense attorneys shouted at prosecutors during closing arguments as emotions ran high in the trial of Garland [...]