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What defines different types of theft?

In New York, theft can be defined in a number of different ways. Depending on how much you have been accused of stealing, the total worth of the stolen goods, and the circumstances around the incident, you could be facing charges that you might not initially expect.

FindLaw shows the line that divides theft, robbery and burglary. Robbery, for example, must specifically involve a threat of physical force or fear. If you're being accused of robbery, then it's a combination of stealing or attempting to steal items along with threatening people in order to get those items. Bank robberies are an example of this, with people typically accused of threatening the tellers or other customers in some way.

Theft is simply the act of stealing. It's a blanket term that can cover any scenario in which an item was taken from another person with no intention of returning it. This can range from snacks at a gas station to expensive designer items from a store. Larceny sometimes falls under this category, but is also considered its own separate crime in certain states.

Burglary is one act that doesn't actually require theft to have occurred. It only requires the intention to commit a crime, and the unlawful entering of a property that doesn't belong to you. This can include breaking and entering, or even trespassing through an unlocked door.

Though these terms may sometimes be used interchangeably, they are separate charges that come with their own unique set of consequences. If you have been charged with anything related to theft of any sort, you might benefit from contacting an attorney for guidance.

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