Burglary and Robbery in South Carolina | What Are the Differences?

Despite both arguably falling under the category of theft crimes, burglary and robbery are two very different crimes. If you need help distinguishing between the two, please read on, then contact an experienced Chesterfield County theft lawyer to learn what the differences are between burglary and robbery in South Carolina.

How is burglary different from robbery in South Carolina?

The most important thing to remember is that burglary involves entering a home or another building illegally whether or not the criminal steals something. A robbery involves taking property from a person through threats or fear of harm.

How are the penalties different between burglary and robbery in South Carolina?

Both burglary and robbery come in various gradations, each with its own categorizations and penalties. The definitions and penalties are as follows:

Burglary in the first degree, mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison if:

  • Illegal entry (particularly if at nighttime) and one of the following:
  • Possession of a deadly weapon
  • Causes physical injury to another person
  • Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon
  • Displays a dangerous weapon
  • The defendant has prior convictions for burglary

Burglary in the second degree, punishable by up to 10 years in prison if:

  • The defendant acts as a lookout for another defendant who does any of the above
  • Illegally enters (particularly if at nighttime) without violence

Burglary in the third degree, punishable by 0 to 5 years in jail if:

  • The defendant illegally enters a building

Armed robbery:

  • A mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to 30 years in prison
  • Parole cannot be granted until at least 7 years have been served

Attempted armed robbery:

  • Up to 20 years in prison

Why do you need a Chesterfield criminal defense lawyer?

A person charged with burglary should reach out to a skilled Chesterfield criminal defense lawyer to see if he or she qualifies for a diversionary program. These programs, such as Pre-Trial Intervention, can help a person avoid both a conviction for the crime and jail time. On the other hand, a robbery charge requires a strong defense, as a conviction can have a significant impact on every aspect of your life. In either case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed or attempted to commit theft and/or used or threatened to use force in carrying out the theft. A seasoned legal professional can make that a tall order. Do not go it alone. Give us a call today.


Our legal team has significant experience helping clients through a wide array of legal matters, including those involving criminal law, personal injury law, divorce & separation, and family law. For competent and trustworthy legal counsel, simply contact The Cockrell Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule your free initial consultation with our legal team.