How Does Florida Define Robbery, Burglary, and Theft?

There are many different criminal offenses in Florida related to taking property or money from another person or party without the proper authority. While many people closely associate the offenses of robbery, burglary, and theft as similar crimes, they are each distinct offenses with their own elements and penalties. The following is an overview of how Florida defines each of these crimes.


Florida law defines robbery as the taking of money or property from the custody of another person by using threats or force. Robbery involves stealing something directly from the person of someone else, unlike other theft crimes. An offender may forcefully take something from another individual or may demand the individual give them something by using threats of harm. Some robbery cases involve harm caused to the victim. Robbery can be charged as follows:

  • If an offender did not carry a weapon = Second-degree felony charge with a possible 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000
  • If an offender carried a deadly weapon = First-degree felony charge with a possible 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000

Robbery can also be considered a “strike” on your criminal record in the context of Florida’s Three Strikes law.


Burglary is most commonly associated with robbing a house, though theft does not have to occur for burglary to be charged. In Florida, the law defines burglary as entering or wrongfully remaining in a dwelling or structure without permission and with the intent to commit a crime therein. The crime committed inside the structure might be theft, but it might also be assault and battery or another offense. Depending on the circumstances, burglary might result in one of the following charges and possible penalties:

  • Third-degree felony with up to five years in prison
  • Second-degree felony with up to 15 years in prison
  • Third-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison


“Theft” refers to the taking of property or money with the intent to wrongfully benefit from it or deprive the rightful owner of it. Many different types of crimes fall under the category of theft, including:

  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Shoplifting
  • Larceny
  • Motor vehicle theft

The charges and penalties for theft offenses will depend on the value of what was stolen. For example, “petty theft” can refer to stealing something worth $100 or less, which is a second-degree misdemeanor. If the property is valued at $100 to $750, the charge can be a first-degree misdemeanor. On the other hand, property valued between $20,000 and $100,000 can lead to a second-degree felony, while stealing property over $100,000 can lead to first-degree felony charges.

Contact a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer for Assistance Today

The Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., represents clients charged with all types of theft crimes, and we work to help clients avoid harsh penalties. If you need assistance from a Tampa criminal defense attorney,  call 813-227-9642 or contact us online today.