Criminal Defense Lawyer Charleston, SC
Unless you work in South Carolina law enforcement, you may not realize that there is a legal difference between the charges of burglary and robbery. Many people think that theft is theft and use the two words interchangeably, however, there is a definite legal difference between the two. If you have been charged with any form of theft, a criminal defense lawyer in Charleston, SC can help.
Both burglary and robbery are classified as property crimes, meaning they require theft of property from the victim or an unlawful entry with the intent of theft of property. In order to understand what the differences are, we first have to understand what the legal definition of theft is. Under the law, theft is the act of taking another person’s property without their consent.
Robbery is taking another person’s property by using a threatening force. It is defined as intentional and requires person-to-person contact.
Burglary is defined as the unauthorized entry into a person’s property in order to commit any number of offenses. Burglary does not have to involve theft as robbery does. The intent of the offender who is committing burglary could be to vandalize the property or it could be to commit a violent act.
If the offender is caught, they often face additional charges besides burglary depending on what other types of acts they committed. Burglary does not require person-to-person contact. Burglary is also not used when the theft or attempted theft is a victim’s vehicle.
Deciding Which Charge Will Be Filed
Each offense requires certain elements. For example, robbery does not require the offender to enter a victim’s property, while the crime of burglary does. The crime of robbery requires the offender to threaten the victim with harm, while the crime of burglary does not even require the victim to be present.
The penalties for burglary and robbery vary, depending on the circumstances, but both types of crimes are considered serious and carry harsh punishments if convicted. Both burglary and robbery are usually divided into different degrees of severity which are determined by several factors, including the type of weapon used and whether any victims were injured.
Both types of crimes are usually considered felonies and can carry significant prison sentences and expensive fines.
The penalties for robbery are typically pretty much the same in each case, with the severity of sentencing dependent on the type of weapon used. In the case of burglary, the courts may look at several factors when determining the sentence, including:
What type of crime did the offender plan to commit or did commit once inside the property?
- Was the offender armed with a weapon?
- What type of building did the crime take place in?
- Was the building occupied at the time of the crime?
Are You Facing Charges?
If you have been charged with burglary, robbery, or any other type of theft charge in South Carolina, you need an aggressive Charleston criminal defense lawyer representing you. Call Joe Good, Attorney at Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help.
What You Should Avoid If You Are Fighting Criminal Charges
If you were recently charged with a crime, you may feel nervous and stressed. Although dealing with criminal charges is difficult, it is important to remain calm and take the necessary steps to fight your charge. Here are several actions you should avoid:
- Talking to the police. After you are detained, the police will probably want to speak to you about your case. Even if they seem like they want to help you, do not trust them. They only want to talk to you to find information to use against you. You are under no obligation to talk to the police. Politely decline to discuss your case with the police.
- Contacting the alleged victim. Some people charged with crimes make the mistake of contacting the alleged victim to make amends. This is not a good idea. You might think that you can solve the issue by apologizing, but it may actually hurt your case. If you apologize, you are admitting guilt.
- Discussing your case with family and friends. When you are dealing with something as stressful as criminal charges, it is understandable that you may want to talk to your family and friends. You may want a shoulder to lean on. However, it is not advisable to share information about your case with anyone but your lawyer. If they are subpoenaed, they will be required to tell the court what you told them.
- Failing to hire a criminal lawyer. No matter what crime you have been charged with, it is critical to have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side. Depending on the type of crime you have been charged with, you might face heavy fines and prison time. Getting convicted of a crime may also leave you with a criminal record, making it difficult to secure employment. A lawyer can create a strong defense and improve your chances of a favorable outcome. He or she may also protect your legal rights and reduce your stress levels.
- Not telling your lawyer the truth. Your criminal lawyer has to know the complete truth about your case. Otherwise, your lawyer can’t help you to the best of his or her ability. Remember that your lawyer is there to help you, not judge you. You should not feel ashamed to tell your lawyer anything.