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What are the differences between burglary and theft?

People in California have an expectation of privacy in their homes. They expect that what they have in their home will be protected as well. Various businesses also expect that the possessions and merchandise that they have in their stores will only leave when they sell the merchandise to a buyer. People are also generally aware that sometimes people steal things for various reasons.

When people take things that do not belong to them, it is illegal and they could be charged with a crime. Which crime they may be charged with depends on the circumstances though. Depending on the location of the property that was taken, people could be charged with theft or burglary.

Elements of Burglary

If people go into a people’s homes, apartments, warehouses, shops or other buildings without permission and take property, they could be charged with burglary. They could also be charged with burglary if they are in a retail shop without permission, such as after hours, and take merchandise.

Elements of Theft

Thefts occur when property or money is taken in other manners than physically entering a home or other building. It is also a theft or shoplifting if the person enters a store during regular business hours, and have not been asked to leave, and take merchandise from the store. People can also be charged with simple theft or grand theft, which would be charged if the value of the property stolen is more than $950.

There are many people in California who take things from various locations without permission or without paying for them. People who are caught could be charged with crimes and could face serious consequences. People only realize these potential consequences if they are convicted of the crime though. People are innocent until proven guilty and people charged with a crime may have defenses. Experienced attorneys understand people’s rights and may be able to help protect them.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.