Burglary, Robbery & Theft & Handling

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We will work with you throughout the case with the additional help of external experts. Very serious cases may require Queen’s Counsel to defend you, in which case we can support them as Junior Counsel, ensuring the correct facts are available at all times. DPP Law can work with you from the police station to the Crown Court and if need be, the Court of Appeal, and can represent you at every stage.

We’ve been providing people with the best possible defence since 1982. Our team will discuss your evidence and options with you, defend your case, fight to reduce any charges and provide the best mitigation regardless of the outcome in court. We can also advise on appeals and confiscation orders.

If you’ve been accused of burglary, robbery, theft or handling stolen goods, you should get in touch with DPP Law immediately.

Definition and Maximum Sentence for Theft

Theft is defined as the taking of someone else’s property without consent. It is one of the most commonly committed crimes and does not involve breaking and entering or using force or fear.

The question of intent is the main variable in cases of theft, but the type and value of property will go towards determining the charges. Generally, each crime will be put into the category of petty or grand theft depending on these specific factors.

The maximum sentence for theft is seven years in custody, depending on the circumstances of the act.

Definition and Maximum Sentence for Robbery

Theft through the use of force or fear is known as robbery. So that the court may define clear tiers to tie in with robbery sentencing guidelines, your case will usually fall into one of three classes: street robbery or mugging, small business robbery and commercial robbery. There are also three levels of perceived “seriousness”.

Level One: Level 1: Robbery with minimal force.

Level 2: Robbery with use of a weapon.

Level 3: Robbery involving use of a weapon and a lot of force or serious injury.

If found guilty, you’ll be charged in accordance with these criteria.

If you are caught in possession of items that may be used to commit the crime in question, it could be considered that you were going equipped for theft. This factor, along with those of the nature of the victim and the value of the items stolen, will also affect the sentence handed down.

Robbery sentencing guidelines state that custodial sentences begin at four or five years. Robbery with a weapon is classed as armed robbery and can lead to life imprisonment.

Definition and Maximum Sentence for Burglary

Burglary also involves the unlawful taking of property, but the difference between robbery and burglary is that the latter is determined as the act of trespassing, breaking into a building without consent in order to commit a crime which does not necessarily include theft. While theft is the most common offence connected with burglary, other crimes committed can range from assault to criminal damage or rape. Burglary is classed as an ‘either way offence’ – meaning it could be taken to either Magistrates Court or Crown Court, and a person can be charged with it regardless of whether a crime was committed.

The maximum sentence for burglary equates to 14 years in prison, although aggravated burglary, when the perpetrator is armed with a firearm, can lead to a life sentence.

Handling Stolen Goods or Receiving Stolen Goods Punishment

Even if a person was not directly involved in a theft, robbery or burglary, if they hold, store, transport or hide the items that were stolen, buy them from the perpetrator or accept them as a gift in the knowledge that they were obtained through crime, they will also be prosecuted.

Handling stolen goods sentencing depends on the level of culpability the offender is considered to have – A: high culpability, B: medium culpability or C: lesser culpability. This depends on the significance of the role the individual is considered to have taken in the offending, the level of knowledge of the primary offence of theft, robbery or burglary, what the offender did after receiving the stolen goods (i.e. hid them, sold them, used them), any abuse of power or trust involved and the level of expertise with which the offence was carried out. The value of the items handled and the level of harm caused is also categorised from levels 1-4, with 1 being the most serious.

The most severe sentence for handling or receiving stolen goods is 14 years in prison.

Related Offences

Other offences that a person may be charged with along with theft, robbery, burglary or the handling or receiving of stolen goods include:

  • Making off without payment
  • Fraud by false representation
  • Burglary based on criminal damage or GBH
  • Taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent
  • Blackmail
  • Advertising rewards for the return of goods stolen or lost (if the advert uses any words to the effect that no questions will be asked)
  • Going equipped for burglary or theft
  • Armed robbery
  • Aggravated burglary

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between robbery and burglary?

Robbery can occur in any location and only refers to the act of illegally taking the property of another individual through the use of force, threat of violence or fear. Burglary does not necessarily involve theft, and an individual can only be accused of this offence if they have trespassed or broken into a property without consent in order to commit crime of any kind. However, both burglary and robbery sentencing guidelines state that a person committing the offence while equipped with a firearm may face life in prison.

What are the charges for burglary?

Individuals accused of burglary may be charged with trespassing or breaking and entering with additional factors of:

  • Theft or attempted theft
  • GBH or attempted GBH
  • Unlawful damage
  • Assault
  • Rape
  • Use of force

If a number of individuals are involved, they may also be charged with conspiracy to burgle.

What is aggravated burglary?

The offence of committing burglary using a firearm or imitation firearm or any other weapon, including explosives, is known as aggravated burglary. This charge can also be brought if the perpetrator knew, or should have known, that there was a person in the property at the time of the burglary. This particular offence comes with the maximum sentence for burglary – life in prison.

The sentences for theft, robbery, burglary and the handling or possession of stolen goods can be severe. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you get in touch with the criminal defence solicitors at DPP Law immediately if you or someone you know has been arrested for any of these offences. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Our criminal defence solicitors can defend you if you have been accused of any of the below criminal offences:

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