Should law enforcement officers charge you with allegedly stealing something in Ohio, they may or may not charge you with stealing per se. Instead, they may charge you with theft or robbery or burglary. FindLaw explains that these three white collar crimes, while similar, represent different crimes requiring the prosecutor to prove different things.

Basically, theft, sometimes called larceny, requires that you steal property from someone and that you intend to deprive him or her of it permanently. If the value of what you allegedly stole amounts to less than $1,000, the charge likely will be petty theft, a misdemeanor. If the value exceeds $1,000, then the theft offense constitutes a felony. Grand theft, a more serious felony, requires a value exceeding $7,500 or the alleged stealing of a vehicle or a dangerous drug.

Robbery

Generally, robbery requires that you not only take someone’s property intending to deprive him or her of it permanently, but also that you use a weapon such as a knife, gun, etc. while allegedly committing this crime. In any event, your alleged victim must fear that you will harm him or her if (s)he refuses to give up the property.

Burglary

Burglary, on the other hand, does not require that you actually take someone’s property. It requires only that you illegally enter someone’s premises intending to commit a crime once you gain inside access. It makes no difference whether or not you actually break into the property; you could gain access via a door or window that the owner failed to lock. In addition, it makes no difference whether or not you actually carry out your alleged intent to commit a crime, stealing or otherwise, once inside. The prosecutor must prove only your unlawful entry and your criminal intent to convict you of burglary.

While you should not interpret this information as legal advice, it can help you understand the differences amount theft, robbery and burglary.