A person dressed in dark clothing, a hat, and gloves is kneeling on the floor, shining a flashlight into an open drawer in a dimly lit room. The person appears to be searching for something, suggesting a potential burglary. Electronic equipment is visible on a nearby table.

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 York County, PA theft crime attorney to learn what the differences are between burglary and robbery in Pennsylvania.

How is burglary different from robbery in Pennsylvania?

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 Pennsylvania?

Burglary in  first degree:

  • Up to twenty years in prison
  • A fine of up to $25,000

However, if the building or structure that the defendant entered was not meant for overnight accommodation and no one was inside at the time of the defendant’s entry, it may only be a second degree felony. If so, the penalties are as follows:

Burglary in the second degree:

  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $25,000

First-degree robbery (involving the possession of dangerous weapons and/or serious bodily harm) carries the following penalties:

  • Up to 20 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $25,000.

Second-degree robbery occurs when a bodily injury or threat of a bodily injury takes place during the commission of a theft. The bodily injury does not have to be serious or life-threatening. The penalties include:

  • A prison sentence from 5 to 10 years
  • A fine of up to $25,000

Why do you need a York County, PA criminal defense lawyer?

A person charged with burglary should reach out to a skilled York County, PA criminal defense attorney to see if he or she qualifies for a diversionary program. These programs 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.


We understand that going through the legal system alone can be both confusing and highly stressful. That is why it is our job to help you through every step of the process ahead. For years, we have been helping clients throughout Lancaster County and its surrounding areas through a wide range of legal matters, including personal injury cases, criminal defense matters, family law issues, estate planning law matters, and more. If you need legal assistance, we are here to help. Contact Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today.