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Are Penalties for Robbery Different Than Burglary in CT? Not Really

Law Office of Douglas D. Rudolph
Thief Breaking Into House

The question of what is burglary vs. robbery is one that is often asked by the uninitiated. It is easy to confuse the two and different states around the country often have different laws and definitions. Many view robberies as a far more severe crime than burglaries.

While the state of Connecticut maintains different legal definitions for robbery and burglary, on the other hand, the courts typically view them as nearly identical when it comes to sentencing.

This is why knowing the differences between these two crimes is imperative when you have been arrested for either of them.

The Differences Between CT Robbery and Burglary

In the state of Connecticut, the definition of robbery is as follows:

“A person commits robbery when, in the course of committing a larceny, he uses or threatens the immediate use of physical force upon another person for the purpose of:

  • Preventing or overcoming resistance to the taking of the property or to the retention thereof immediately after the taking; or
  • Compelling the owner of such property or another person to deliver up the property or to engage in other conduct which aids in the commission of the larceny.”

So, according to this definition, a robbery occurs when there are victims present and violence or coercion is used against them.

Burglary in the state of Connecticut is defined as:

“Burglary crimes involve entering either a building or a dwelling with intent to commit a crime. A “dwelling” is a building usually occupied by someone lodging there at night. A “building” is broadly defined to include in addition to its ordinary meaning, a watercraft, aircraft, trailer, sleeping car, railroad car, or other structure, vehicle, or building with a valid certificate of occupancy.

No mention of the building or dwelling being occupied at the time the crime is committed. As you can see according to Connecticut law, the primary difference between burglary and robbery? The presence of victims.

All CT Burglaries and Robberies Classified by Degree

Every robbery and burglary is classified under one of the same three levels, first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree crimes.

The penalties for these crimes are exactly the same at all three levels:

  • First-degree Robbery and Burglary – Class B Felony
  • Second-degree Robbery and Burglary – Class C Felony
  • Third-degree Robbery and Burglary – Class D Felony

Only minor differences exist for aspects such as the use of a weapon during the commission of a burglary. The only thing that changes in these instances is an additional mandatory minimum sentencing.

Penalties for These Felony Theft Crimes in Connecticut

The difference between each of the felony classifications lies in the severity of the punishment. As you would imagine, the lower the felony class, the less severe the punishment an offender will face.

An example of this is third-degree robbery vs. second-degree robbery. Third-degree robbery is a robbery without any extra factors attached to it.

The crime of second-degree robbery comes into play if a weapon is brandished or certain other criteria are met. Sentencing for each class is:

  • Class B Felony – 1 to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $15,000
  • Class C Felony – 1 to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000
  • Class D Felony – 1 to 5 years in state prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000
Thief With Handcuffs

Even though the punishment for robbery and burglary are similar at each level, defense for the two crimes may be different. It is important to consult with an experienced defense attorney who understands each crime and how to construct a proper defense.

Breaking into an empty home is something completely different from holding someone up for their wallet. The right attorney can make that case in a way that could help you escape maximum penalties — and often even conviction at all.

About the Author

Douglas D. Rudolph practices criminal defense law with two guiding principles in mind: that you are someone who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that you are innocent until proven guilty. Those are beliefs that have served him well so far in New Haven and across Connecticut, where he has built a reputation as someone who truly cares about his clients and will fight aggressively for them. His work has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including landing on The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 list two years in a row and being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2018.

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