What is the legal difference between theft and burglary? TX law states that deadly force can be used to immediately prevent burglary, but only theft at night. Would this mean that store owners can't use deadly force against looters during the day? What about an individual's home/property?
Before answering your question I must tell you that I do not have a Texas law license and am saying this not as legal advice but to stimulate conversation. I just took the Texas bar exam and this will probably be the only time in my life I will know this and many other things about the law!!!
Thank God for legal specialization. Now to find a job.
The difference between theft and burglary is theft is the carrying away of property by an individual who is not in legal possession of the property with the intent to deprive the true owner of the property at the time of the carrying away.
Burglary is the unauthorized entering of a dwelling, used to be only a dwelling however I believe it also is considered a business currently, with the intent to commit a felony on the premises.
Again I do not warrant this as legal advice and state that I am not licensed to practice law in the State of Texas.
Sorry of the disclaimer, but I don't want to lose my license right after I get it. I want to hold on to it for at least a couple of years!
Theft - Taking something that does not belong to you.
Burglary - Entering into a building, dwelling, car, vending machine, etc. to commit theft or felony. Your entire body does not have to enter the contained area to qualify as a burglary. Just reaching into the building through a hole or opening counts.
Robbery - Taking something that does not belong to you by use of force, display of a weapon, or threat.
Added a little something.
This is a good point. If ANY portion of your body breaks the plane of a residence, etc... it's a burglary.
I once worked a case, where a subject reached through a partially open kitchen window (the window had bars on it), and pulled a plastic spatula from the kitchen sink. He dropped it on the ground, just outside of the window. He wasn't able to get a hand on anything else.
He was charged with burglary.
Texas Penal Code
(a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates
property with intent to deprive the owner of property.
(b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if:
(1) it is without the owner's effective consent;
(2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the
property knowing it was stolen by another; or
(3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was
explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as
being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was
stolen by another.
Theft is the taking of anothers property with the INTENT to deprive the owner of the property.
Texas Penal Code
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective
consent of the owner, the person:
(1) enters a habitation, or a building (or any portion of a
building) not then open to the public, with intent to commit a felony,
theft, or an assault; or
(2) remains concealed, with intent to commit a felony, theft,
or an assault, in a building or habitation; or
(3) enters a building or habitation and commits or attempts
to commit a felony, theft, or an assault.
(b) For purposes of this section, "enter" means to intrude:
(1) any part of the body; or
(2) any physical object connected with the body.
Burglary requires the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault. Burglary does not include vending machines or cars. There are crimnes relating to vending machines and cars, but they are seperate and distinct offenses and have lower punishments. ;)
True they are different offenses and have lower penalties, but they are still Burglary.
Actually they are under different sections. 30.02 is Burglary, 30.03 is Burglary of a coin operated machine, and 30.04 is burglary of vehicles.
But we really are splitting hairs. ;)