Articles Posted in 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.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan breaking and entering case involving law enforcement’s use of GPS data recovered from the defendant’s cellular phone. The case required the court to determine if law enforcement’s search of the defendant’s phone required suppression of the evidence that was on the phone. Ultimately, the court concluded that the search was permissible, affirming the defendant’s convictions.

According to the court’s opinion, the allegations in this case spanned from December 22 to December 23, 2016. Evidently, someone broke into a Clinton County business and then stole a car from a neighboring business. Later that day, a barn in Bingham Township was broken into. The next day, a gun was stolen from a car in Fowler. Several of these locations had video surveillance.

After reviewing the video, detectives developed the defendant, who was known to police, as a suspect. A few days later the defendant was arrested. While being held at the jail, the defendant asked a deputy if he could get his phone back to make a call. When the deputy gave the defendant his phone, the defendant performed a factory reset.

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