Louisiana residents may use the terms theft and burglary interchangeably, and may not even be aware that there is a crime called larceny, but in fact though these crimes are similar in some respects, there are some major differences between them. They are similar in the sense that they all involve an element of stealing-- taking someone else's property without authorization from them. However, that is where the similarity ends in the eyes of the law.
Larceny, a crime many people may not be aware of, is the most basic of the three mentioned above. When someone intends to unlawfully take someone else's property away from them, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property, it is considered larceny. Though in some states the crime has merged with theft, it is still considered a separate crime in others.
Then how does robbery differ from larceny? It is theft with the addition of use of physical force or fear. Therefore, theft might be picking up someone's wallet from the table and walking away without the owner being aware, whereas robbery would be demanding the owner hand it over in a threatening way.
A burglary involves the unlawful entry into a structure, intending to commit a crime inside it. One common misconception is that it must involve theft, but this is not the case. Firstly, it can be the intent to commit any crime, from theft to murder. Secondly, the crime does not actually have to be committed-it is the entry that must be unlawful.
Understanding the nature of the felony one is accused of committing is very important-the prosecution must prove every element of the charges the suspect is facing and each one of these crimes has different elements. An experienced attorney may be able to examine the allegation in light of the applicable law and cerate an aggressive criminal defense.