Michigan Criminal Law: Theft/Larceny Crimes; Breaking & Entering

Certain charges combine elements of larceny/theft offenses with added elements comparable to the home-invasion series of charges. Breaking and Entering is chargeable against an individual who allegedly “breaks and enters, with intent to commit a felony or a larceny therein, a tent, hotel, office, store, shop, warehouse, barn, granary, factory or other building, structure, boat, ship, shipping container, or railroad car.” MCL 750.110.

This charge is broadly worded. It may be levied against individuals who break and enter a building with the intent to commit either a felonious or misdemeanor larceny. MCL 750.110. It may also be charged against individuals who allegedly break and enter “with intent to commit a felony.” MCL 750.110. That extra portion of language makes this charge more expansive and escalates the possible charges for someone regardless of the underlying alleged felony. However, if a prosecutor alleges a felony was committed after the breaking and entering, they must also prove that the individual intended to commit that particular felony. People v Westerberg, 274 Mich 647, 265 NW 489 (1936).

The charge, if convicted, is a felony, “punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years,” probation, restitution, fines, costs, community service, or other sanctions at the discretion of the court. MCL 750.110. The potential maximum penalties and minimum penalties could increase substantially if a person has prior felony convictions and if they are charged as a habitual offender.
As the Model Jury Instruction explains, in order to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must show the following:

(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of breaking and entering. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the defendant broke into a building1. It does not matter whether anything was actually broken; however, some force must have been used. Opening a door, raising a window, and taking off a screen are all examples of enough force to count as a breaking.2 Entering a building through an already open door or window without using any force does not count as a breaking.

(3) Second, that the defendant entered the building. It does not matter whether the defendant got [his / her] entire body inside. If the defendant put any part of [his / her] body into the building after the breaking, that is enough to count as an entry.

(4) Third, that when the defendant broke and entered the building, [he / she] intended3 to commit [state offense] .4

Crim. JI. 25.1.

Like a vast majority of theft offenses, this charge is also considered a “specific intent” crime. Crim. JI. 25.1.

This charge contains more severe penalties for a conviction than a similar charge, Entering without Breaking, MCL 750.11. Entering without Breaking is considered a “lesser included offense.” Crim. JI. 25.1.

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

For information on the Michigan charge, “Uttering & Publishing,” click here.

For information Michigan’s Armed Robbery Charge, click here.
For information on Michigan’s Unarmed Robbery charge, click here.
For information on Michigan’s embezzlement charge, click here.
For information on Michigan’s charge, Home Invasion, Third Degree, click here.
For information on Michigan’s charge, Home Invasion, Second Degree, click here.
For information on Michigan’s charge, Home Invasion, First Degree, click here.
For information on Michigan’s charge, Larceny from a Building, click here.
Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent. The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that ultimately, they will be convicted.
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.
If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public’s expense. You have a right to counsel.