An Explanation of Michigan’s Breaking and Entering Offenses

Entering the private property of another is a serious crime in Michigan. However, the seriousness of such an offense depends significantly on the type of property at issue, whether force was used, as well as the intent of the person who is alleged to have entered.

Michigan lawmakers have created several different crimes, all related to unlawful entry onto another’s property. Each of these offenses is contained in Chapter XVI of the Michigan Penal Code. For example, on the less serious side, there is the crime of opening a coin or deposit box. This offense could apply to breaking into a parking meter, for instance, and is considered a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment. Similarly, the crime of breaking into an outside showcase involves breaking into an enclosed container, such as a display case. This, too, is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment.

When the structure at issue is one in which a person could be present, or is likely to contain things of more significant value, the seriousness of the crime increases. For example, the crime of entering without breaking into a “dwelling, house, tent, hotel, office, store, shop, warehouse, barn, granary, factory or other building, boat, ship, shipping container, railroad car” or any other structure is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one-year imprisonment.

If the person alleged to have entered a property of another has the intent to commit a crime while on that property, the seriousness of the crime increases dramatically. For example, if a person enters any of the above-listed structures with “intent to commit a felony or any larceny therein,” they can be found guilty of a felony and sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment. If that person uses force to “break” into the structure, the maximum penalty increases to 10 years’ imprisonment. Carrying a weapon while breaking or entering will also increase the seriousness of the offense.

The most serious type of breaking-and-entering crime is a Michigan home invasion offense. This occurs when a person:

  • Breaks and enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a misdemeanor while inside,
  • Enters a dwelling without permission with the intent to commit a misdemeanor while inside,
  • Breaks and enters a dwelling or enters a dwelling without permission and, at any time while he or she is entering, present in, or exiting the dwelling, commits a misdemeanor, or
  • Enters a dwelling without permission and, at any point during the process, violates a term or probation, parole, order or protection or any condition of pre-trial release.

Have You Been Arrested for a Michigan Breaking and Entering Crime?

If you have recently been arrested and charged with a Michigan breaking and entering offense, contact the Michigan Defense Firm for immediate assistance. Attorney Paul J. Tafelski is a dedicated Detroit criminal defense attorney with extensive experience helping clients defend their freedom from all types of serious accusations, including serious Michigan felony crimes. Attorney Tafelski fiercely defends the rights of his clients at every stage of a trial, from the moment he is brought onto a case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 248-451-2200 today.

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