How Does Larceny from the House Differ from Burglary?
Oklahoma has a couple of different laws concerning unlawfully taking something from another person’s home: larceny from the house and burglary. On the surface, these crimes might seem the same – they both involve entering someone’s residence with the intent to steal any item of value. However, a closer look at the elements reveals that the offenses are different. Although both crimes are charged as felonies, burglary is the more severe and carries harsher penalties.
The Elements of the Crimes
Before going into detail about the differences between larceny from the house and burglary, it is important to discuss the elements of each offense. The elements are the specific actions a crime is comprised of. When a prosecutor brings charges against an individual, they have the burden of proving each element beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Elements of Larceny from the House
Larceny from the house is defined in 21 O.S. § 1723.
The offense involves:
- Entering a house,
- Taking or carrying away,
- The personal property,
- Of another,
- Using fraud or stealth,
- With the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently.
The Elements of Burglary
In Oklahoma, burglary is separated into two degrees: first and second. First-degree is the more serious offense and is defined in 21 O.S. § 1431. The elements for second-degree are found in 21 O.S. § 1435. Although separate statutes exist for first- and second-degree burglary, the crimes are similar with a couple of differences. As such, we’ll discuss the elements as one but include the distinguishing characteristics of each.
- Breaking and entering into,
- The house of another when no one was present (second-degree), or when at least one person was present (first-degree),
- Where property was kept,
- With the intent to steal any property or commit any felony (second-degree), or with the intent to commit some crime therein.
The Differences Between Larceny from the Home and Burglary
Both larceny from the home and burglary involve unlawfully entering another person’s house. However, the other elements reveal that marked differences exist between the offenses.
First, burglary consists of breaking into a home, whereas larceny from a house does not. “Breaking” means forcing one’s way into a structure.
The statute for first-degree burglary specifically identifies the following actions as breaking and entering a house:
- Bursting or breaking a wall, door, or window; or
- Using false keys or burglary tools to unlock a door or window.
Second, with larceny from a home, the purpose of the crime is to take anything of value. Although removing someone’s property can be an element of burglary, it’s not the only act comprising the offense. With second-degree burglary, the alleged actor could have entered the residence with the intent to steal something or to commit an offense while there. For first-degree burglary, a person commits the offense if they intended to commit any crime. The crime does not specifically have to be larceny; it could be something like assault, which does not involve unlawfully taking someone else’s property.
Third, as mentioned earlier, burglary is classified as first- or second-degree, where first-degree involves situations where someone is present at the home when the crime was committed. Larceny from the house is not separated into degrees. The same charge applies whether or not someone was in the home.
That said, Oklahoma has a separate statute for grand larceny in a dwelling house. Grand larceny consists of matters where the item stolen was valued at $1,000 or greater. Thus, a person could face harsher punishments for grand larceny in a house than for larceny from a home.
Lastly, the penalties for larceny from a home, while still serious, are less severe than those for burglary.
- Larceny from the home is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
- Second-degree burglary is punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
- First-degree burglary is punishable by 7 to 20 years in prison.
Reach Out to a Lawyer About Your Case
Larceny from a home and burglary are different offenses. Although burglary is a more serious crime, a charge for either can have devastating outcomes. If you have been accused of either, talk to a criminal defense attorney about ways to challenge the allegations.
At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., our Norman team provides aggressive legal representation for misdemeanor and felony charges. Schedule a consultation by contacting us at (866) 590-8173 today.