Burglary is defined simply as the entering of the property of another with the intent to commit theft or any other felony. If you have been charged with burglary or are being investigated for burglary, it is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. The more time an attorney has to prepare your defense, the better the chances of a successful outcome. Our burglary defense attorney knows that good people can make bad decisions and that good people may be wrongfully accused of committing crimes; therefore we fight passionately to ensure your rights are protected throughout every step of the criminal process.
The sentence you could receive for a burglary conviction in Michigan depends on the facts surrounding your case. Residential burglary will generally be treated much more severely than will commercial burglary, but again, this will depend on the facts of each case. Burglary charges are most commonly filed in association with theft charges but also are filed in conjunction with sex crimes, homicide, assault, and other felonies. Depending on the underlying crime, a burglary charge can carry “sentencing enhancements” which can add anywhere from one year to life to the sentencing range. Your prior criminal history will also affect the sentence in your case.
Burglary, Felonies, and Penalties
In Michigan, if the structure is someone’s residence, whether permanent or temporary or even a building attached to a residence, the accused could face a very serious charge of home invasion (in the first, second, or third degree). In general, burglary is broken down into the following categories:
First Degree: Unlawfully entering a home, business, or property while in possession of a weapon or explosive device with the intent to steal. This offense carries up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines if convicted.
Second Degree: Second degree charges apply if you are believed to have broken and entered a dwelling without permission, with intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault while within, whether or not you were successful. If convicted, this offense carries up to 15 years in prison and fines reaching $3,000.
Third Degree: If you are accused of breaking and entering a dwelling (without permission) with the intent to commit a misdemeanor or if while within you break the terms of your probation, parole, or a protection order, you could face charges of home invasion in the third degree. This offense is a felony charge and carries up to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $2,000.
There are a variety of defenses that an experienced attorney can assert on a client’s behalf. For example:
- Unlawful entry: The defendant was granted permission to enter the premises, and the entry wasn’t illegal
- Intent to commit a crime: The defendant didn’t actually intend to commit a crime at the time that they entered the building, structure, or dwelling place
- Actual innocence: The defendant didn’t actually commit the acts in question
- Coercion: It is a defense if the defendant was forced to commit the acts under the threat of harm, physical injury, or death, it will serve as a defense
- Consent: If the plaintiff consented to the defendant’s acts, it may serve as a defense.
Police officers and prosecutors make mistakes just like anyone else. An experienced criminal defense attorney can quickly identify possible defenses and get wrongful burglary charges dismissed as quickly as possible.
If you have been charged with burglary or breaking and entering in Michigan, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Prosecutors are already building a case against you and will push for the harshest possible penalties. If you are in trouble with the law regarding burglary, or if it is your family member in trouble, please call 877-886-1441 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We will keep your information confidential.