Image of attorneys and staff at Brunvand Wise, P.A.

The Strong Defense
You Deserve

Text Us Now

Understanding the Differences Between Robbery, Larceny, and Embezzlement

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Criminal Law

When facing charges related to theft in Tampa, Florida, it’s crucial to understand the distinctions between robbery, larceny, and embezzlement. Each of these terms carries specific legal implications and consequences under Florida law, and being well-informed can significantly impact the defense strategy. At Brunvand Wise, P.A., our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to help you navigate these complex legal waters.

Theft: The Broad Spectrum

Theft, in its most basic form, involves knowingly taking someone’s property with the intent to deprive them of it, either permanently or temporarily. Unlike robbery or burglary, theft does not necessarily involve force, unlawful entry, or a breach of trust.

For example, shoplifting is a common form of theft where an individual discreetly takes an item from a store without the owner’s knowledge. According to the 2023 Florida Statutes (Chapter 812), theft can be classified as either petit theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the stolen property.

Petit Theft: Involves property valued at less than $750. Convictions can result in fines and possible jail time.
Grand Theft: Involves property valued at $750 or more, leading to more severe penalties, including longer prison sentences.

Burglary: The Crime of Unlawful Entry

Burglary differs from theft in that it specifically involves unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime, usually theft, inside. This crime does not necessarily require a confrontation with the property owner. Instead, the focus is on the invasion of private spaces such as homes or businesses.

For instance, breaking into a house at night to steal valuables would be considered burglary. Florida law categorizes burglary based on the circumstances and the presence of individuals during the crime, which can significantly affect the severity of the charges and penalties.

Robbery: Theft with Force

Robbery is a more aggressive form of theft that involves using force or threats to take someone’s property. Unlike other property crimes, robbery always includes a direct confrontation. Imagine a scenario where an individual threatens another with a weapon to steal their wallet—this is classic robbery.

Under Florida law, the penalties for robbery can be severe, especially if a weapon is involved. Convictions can lead to lengthy prison sentences, reflecting the violent nature of the crime.

Embezzlement: Misappropriation of Funds

Embezzlement is a white-collar crime distinct from robbery and burglary, primarily involving financial misconduct. It occurs when a person in a position of trust misappropriates funds for personal gain. This could involve an employee siphoning money from a company account over time.

Unlike theft or robbery, embezzlement involves a breach of trust rather than direct confrontation or unlawful entry. The penalties for embezzlement can vary depending on the amount of money involved and the nature of the breach of trust.

Navigating Legal Defenses

Understanding these distinctions is crucial when preparing a defense. Each type of charge—whether it be theft, burglary, robbery, or embezzlement—comes with unique legal challenges and potential defenses.

At Brunvand Wise, P.A., we provide tailored defense strategies to address the specific nuances of your case. Our attorneys are well-versed in Florida’s criminal statutes and can help you understand the full impact of the charges against you.


If you or a loved one is facing charges related to robbery, larceny, or embezzlement in Tampa, Florida, it’s essential to seek expert legal counsel. At Brunvand Wise, P.A., our dedicated criminal defense attorneys are committed to providing comprehensive legal support. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure your rights are protected.

By understanding the specific elements and implications of these charges, you can better prepare for your defense. Trust the expertise of Brunvand Wise, P.A. to guide you through the complexities of criminal law and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.


FindLaw Network