When Maryland residents hear that someone has taken another person's property without their authorization, they think of the terms burglary, robbery or theft interchangeably. However, even though there are similarities between these terms, in the eyes of the law there are subtle differences that could alleviate the level of the crime and therefore the consequences associated with it.
The most basic crime is that of "theft or larceny." When there is an intent to permanently deprive someone of their property in an unauthorized manner and that is followed up by taking it, this is known as theft. How does this differ from robbery? A robbery takes place when theft is accompanied by physical force or fear. Therefore, if a bag is stolen while lying on the table, this is considered theft but if it is violently grabbed away from the holder, it would be considered a robbery.
Burglaries are most commonly mixed up with theft, but in reality a burglary doesn't actually require theft to take place. A burglary takes place when someone enters into another's premises with the intent to commit a crime inside the structure. Though burglaries are mostly associated with theft, it could be to commit any crime, including murder. Burglary charges can follow even if no crime was committed.
Understanding the different categories of crime is the first step when it comes to protecting oneself against serious charges. If a Maryland resident is accused of committing a crime, they may want to consider consulting an attorney to discuss how to protect their rights and to understand what laws apply to them.