Person wearing a hoodie and a beanie breaks into a car at night

These Are the Differences Between Robbery and Burglary

The terms “robbery” and “burglary” are often used interchangeably, but the two terms mean very different things. It’s important to understand the distinction between the terms, especially if you’ve been charged with one of these crimes.

Here’s what you need to know:


According to Georgia Code §16-8-40, “A person commits the offense of robbery when, with intent to commit theft, he takes property of another from the person or the immediate presence of another:

  • By use of force;
  • By intimidation, by the use of threat or coercion, or by placing such person in fear of immediate serious bodily injury to himself or to another; or
  • By sudden snatching.”

Penalties for Robbery in Georgia

Georgie Code §16-8-40 also states that “a person convicted of the offense of robbery shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years.” If the offender is 65 years of age or older, the penalty increases to imprisonment for no less than five nor more than 20 years.

In Georgia, robbery is penalized according to the following:

  • Attempted Armed Robbery:
    • Level VII crime severity
    • 40 to 102 months imprisonment
  • Robbery:
    • Level VIII crime severity
    • 65% to 90% of the prison sentence
  • Armed Robbery:
    • Not parole-eligible except on Life Sentence
      • Eligible for parole consideration after 14 years or 30 years if the crime was committed after July 1, 2006

Additionally, robbery and armed robbery are considered a “forcible felony” which is “any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person.”

“‘Felony’ means any offense punishable by imprisonment for a term of 1 year or more and includes conviction by a court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for an offense which would constitute a felony under the laws of the United States.”


According to Georgia Code §16-7-1, a burglary in the first degree occurs when someone enters the dwelling of another without permission with the intent to commit a felony or theft. The dwellings mentioned in the law include the following occupied or unoccupied spaces:

  • Vacant dwelling house
  • Any:
    • Building,
    • Vehicle,
    • Railroad car,
    • Watercraft,
    • Aircraft, or
    • Other such structure designed for use as the dwelling of another.

A burglary in the second degree occurs when someone occupies another’s space without permission. The areas included in the law are any of the following occupied or unoccupied spaces:

  • Vacant building
  • Structure
  • Vehicle
  • Railroad car
  • Watercraft
  • Aircraft

Penalties for Burglary in Georgia

In Georgia, burglary is penalized according to the following:

  • Burglary Level I:
    • Level I crime severity
    • Non-dwelling, less than $300, one count
    • 15 to 26 months imprisonment
  • Burglary Level II:
    • Level II crime severity
    • Non-dwelling, $300 to $2,000, one count
    • 18 to 28 months imprisonment
  • Burglary Level III:
    • Level III crime severity
    • Non-dwelling, 2 to 5 counts, or $2,001 to $5,000
    • 20 to 32 months imprisonment
  • Burglary Level IV:
    • Level IV crime severity
    • Non-dwelling, over $5,000 or 6 or more counts
    • 22 to 38 months imprisonment
  • Burglary Level VI:
    • Level VI crime severity
    • Unoccupied dwelling
    • 36 to 78 months imprisonment
  • Burglary Level VIII:
    • Level VIII crime severity
    • Occupied residence
    • 65% to 90% of the prison sentence

Burglary in any degree is considered a forcible felony. In addition, the state of Georgia has the right, under Georgia Code §35-3-33, to “obtain and file fingerprints, descriptions, photographs, and any other pertinent identifying data.”

Robbery and burglary charges are very serious and should not be taken lightly. Ignoring such charges will do nothing but hurt you. If you’ve been arrested on charges of robbery or burglary, it’s essential that you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. Your freedom is nothing to leave to chance.

Contact our office today by calling (770) 884-4708 or by filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case with our skilled Atlanta criminal defense attorney.