The Florida court system (and many others) seem to use many different words for what seems to be the same type of crime. Assuredly though, that is not the case at all. You’ll find that the Florida courts separate these crimes into categories that can result in various consequences and penalties. This is where a Tampa theft crimes lawyer can help.

The following is a brief outline of some of the differences in these crimes:


Theft is simply defined as taking the property of another. You would be committing theft, if you knowingly obtained, used, or attempted to take or use the property of another person. This can apply for either a temporary period or permanently.

A few examples would be:

  • Depriving another of their right to the property or benefit from it.
  • Appropriating the other property for your use or any other person’s use of the property for his or her benefit

Within this definition, there is also a distinction between grand-theft and petit theft. So, the value of the item that’s taken matters, and creates a distinction between charges and penalties for the crime. These distinctions result in 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree charges, and consequentially more severe penalties. Grand theft is charged if the value of the item is over $300 and is always considered a felony.

It’s important to note, that these laws are always being revised, and if changed usually may result in more serious penalties for you, not lesser ones.


Burglary is a crime that always involves property. When you trespass on another’s property and go to where you normally wouldn’t be permitted, This act differentiates it from theft because you have violated the property or “private space” of another without consent. In this case, your charge is always a felony and is treated by the Florida courts as a more severe crime. So also, is the punishment you would pay.

Examples are:

  • Entering a home or any premise that would not normally be considered a public space to commit the crime
  • If under pretenses, you entered a “private space” to commit the crime
  • If you had permission to enter, but that right was revoked
  • If you forced or even attempted to force your way into the premises

There are many factors the court may consider in a burglary charge. Such as the use of a weapon, if witnesses were present, and the type of structure or conveyance entered. All may result in more serious burglary charges and your consequences.


Robbery is also a property crime, like burglary and theft, but involves the use of force. “Force” is usually defined as the use of force, violence, assault, or putting fear in another individual(s). The use of force or even the threat of force puts robbery in this category. It is more detailed in the charges you face and may have profoundly serious consequences.

It is defined as the taking of money or other property that may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another. This is usually with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property.

How is Larceny Defined by the Florida Courts?

The Florida courts consider larceny to be theft. You can also be charged with grand larceny and petit larceny, accordingly. It is not defined as a different category than the others but will be prosecuted as a 1st-degree felony in most cases.  A 1st-degree felony can result in up to thirty years in jail and very substantial fines.

Some examples of possible larceny charges are thefts of bicycles, thefts of motor vehicle parts and accessories, shoplifting, or the stealing of any property or article that is not taken by force, violence, or by fraud. Attempted larcenies may also be included in offense totals.

Any of these types of crimes, whether burglary, larceny, etc. can, and usually do, result in heavy charges and profoundly serious penalties. If you are arrested and charged with any of these types of crimes in Florida, obtaining the professional consultation of a Tampa criminal defense lawyer is vital. You and your criminal defense attorney can begin to defend your case from the onset, and by doing so, possibly have the charges (by use of their differences) changed, reduced, mitigated, or even dropped. You could suffer life-changing penalties for any of these charges, and you need an attorney that will fight back!

If I Am Charged with Robbery, Burglary, or Theft in Florida, What Should I Do First?

Your criminal defense attorney will explain that the prosecution bears the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So, for example, to properly defend a burglary charge for you, your criminal defense lawyer must create a plausible doubt in the minds of the jury as to whether the prosecution’s evidence truly demonstrates that you committed the crime.

Because of the possibly dire punishments you face, if convicted of theft, burglary, or robbery charges, it’s crucial to seek a quality criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These types of charges (and their many categories and punishments) can be very confusing to understand.

Your criminal defense attorney must mount a professional and detailed defense against the formidable Florida law enforcement system. The first thing to do is to secure a skilled criminal defense lawyer and get the legal advice you need to make the most optimal choices about your defense. You and your family’s future are at stake.