What Is The Difference Between A Burglary And A Robbery?
Interviewer: Is a vehicle considered a dwelling? Can you burglarize a car?
Stuart: It is not in New York. In other states, it actually can be. New York does not consider a car a burglary. That is simply just a larceny or a theft of some kind. It could be a criminal mischief depending on damage that is done, but New York is one of the states that does not consider a vehicle a dwelling.
Interviewer: Are there any other unusual structures that you could burglarize, that you would not normally think you could?
Stuart: No, with most of the structures in New York, it is pretty clear that you would think about it. The only question is whether you knew or should have known whether it was habitable; as opposed to thinking it is just an abandoned place.
Interviewer: What is a robbery then, versus a burglary where someone is home for instance? What is different about a robbery?
Stuart: People mistakenly use the terms somewhat interchangeably. As I said, a burglary is in essence of a structure, whether it is a dwelling or a commercial structure. A robbery is the taking of property by force from a person.
A robbery is what we see on the news. For example, somebody goes into Central Park and is accosted by a mugger with a gun, or something like that. A robbery does not involve any kind of dwelling or structure.
Interviewer: Suppose I bust into a convenience store and pull a gun on the clerk. I say, “Give me all the money out of the safe.” I am not burglarizing the store. I am robbing the person. Is that robbing the store; or what am I doing?
Stuart: Actually, you could be doing both. In that sense, you could be robbing from the person. You have a gun and there is a robbery there. You could also, depending on the circumstances, actually be burglarizing.
Normally, because it is a person-on-person when you steal from the clerk, you are not really stealing from the dwelling. It is usually charged as a robbery. Sometimes, they will also throw in that it is a form of a burglary.