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Home Invasion, Breaking and Entering, Burglary

A person’s home or dwelling has long been recognized as a place where one should be free from intrusions which jeopardize security, tranquility and contentment. In Michigan, there are several laws for the protection of a person’s dwelling and property (MCL 750.110: Home Invasion Statute).

Pursuant to Michigan criminal laws, greater punishment is imposed for the crime of home invasion of an occupied dwelling (1st Degree) than for an unoccupied dwelling (2nd and 3rd Degree).

Degrees of Home InvasionMaximum Penalty
1st Degree-Occupied dwelling20 years prison, and, or, $5,000 fine
2nd Degree-Unoccupied dwelling15 years, and, or, $3,000 fine
3rd Degree-Unoccupied dwelling5 years, and, or, $2,000 fine

The offense of home invasion may be charged by itself or be charged together with a larceny related offense or malicious destruction of property.

Related CrimesMaximum Penalty
Possession of Burglar ToolsFelony
Larceny in a Building4 years
Malicious Destruction u/$1,000Misdemeanor
Malicious Destruction o/$1,000Felony
Entering without PermissionMisdemeanor
Receiving Stolen Property u/$1000Misdemeanor
Receiving Stolen Property o/$1,000Felony
Larceny u/$1,000Misdemeanor
Larceny o/$1,000Felony

Avoidance of a conviction, especially when the crime is a felony, is the foremost legal goal of ABDO LAW when we are entrusted with a criminal case. In addition to facing prison, there are serious legal and personal ramifications associated with a felony. To name just one, a person convicted of a felony cannot possess a firearm pursuant to both State of Michigan and Federal laws.

Larceny in a Building: Stores, Factories, Hotel Rooms, Boats, Locker Rooms

A person may be charged with larceny in a building where the entry is with permission, does not involve a break-in and is otherwise lawful. Larceny in a building is a felony which can carry a maximum of 4 years in prison pursuant to MCL 750.360 and encompasses larceny offenses committed within dwellings as well as other places (see below):

Any person who shall commit the crime of larceny by stealing in any dwelling house, house trailer, office, store, gasoline service station, shop, warehouse, mill, factory, hotel, school, barn, granary, ship, boat, vessel, church, house of worship, locker room or any building used by the public shall be guilty of a felony.

Although the offense larceny in a building is categorized as a felony, a plea bargain may be negotiated for reduction to a misdemeanor or HYTA for eligible youthful offenders.

Youthful Offenders and Home Invasions: Curiosity, Peer Pressure, Drug Problem

Most charged with the crime of home invasion don’t fit the profile of a cat burglar wearing a mask and stocking cap. Our Macomb County clients facing home invasion charges consist primarily of suburban males, between the ages of 17 to 30 years old, without a prior criminal record. Home invasion is also high on the list of offenses committed by juveniles (under age 17). When a juvenile is charged with a criminal offense, it is referred to as a juvenile delinquency proceeding (in Michigan, a person is treated as an adult at age 17 and beyond).

Often, the dwelling that is the target of a home invasion is within the same locale or neighborhood as the offender. In addition, home invasions are rarely random crimes and usually occur with some planning based upon inside information regarding the absentee status of the occupants (vacation plans or employment schedules).

Home Invasion Investigations

Law enforcement officers utilize various resources and technology to investigate home invasions including fingerprint technology, reviewing surveillance video and checking local pawn shop records.

Since 1999, the FBI has utilized the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS. The IAFIS permits the processing of all incoming fingerprint submissions in an electronic environment. Every day, the FBI receives thousands of digital or paper based fingerprint submissions. Fingerprints are then kept in a computer database which can be accessed by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. When fingerprints are lifted at a crime scene, such as a home invasion, they can be electronically submitted to the IAFIS for a possible match. The IAFIS program has proven to be an efficient tool for law enforcement officers.

Aiding and Abetting Home Invasion

The Michigan Criminal Jury Instruction (MCJI 8.1) provides that anyone who intentionally assists someone else in committing a crime is as guilty as the person who directly commits it and can be convicted of that crime as an aider and abettor.

Fingerprint analysis or other information, may reveal the identity of one or more potential crime suspects. Once a suspect is identified and questioned, the police will attempt to obtain a confession which may implicate others involved. Home invasion charges can be brought against every person that provides aid or assistance towards the commission of the offense. An aider and abettor faces the same criminal penalties, including full restitution, as imposed against the primary perpetrators. Some examples of aiding and abetting: acting as a ‘look-out’ person or ‘drives the get-away car’.

Restitution: Reimbursement may be prerequisite to a plea bargain.

A home invasion is usually committed for the purpose of stealing personal property that can be easily concealed, pawned or sold (jewelry, money/coins, guns, tools, credit cards, prescription drugs and computer equipment). Restitution can be ordered to be paid directly to the injured party for the full amount of all losses/damages, or a third party (insurance company) that has paid off any claims.

Problems arise in cases involving property damage or theft when the accused party cannot retrieve the stolen property or does not have the funds to pay full restitution within a specified period of time. The inability to pay restitution may preclude a favorable plea bargain, such as reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor or HYTA status for youthful offenders. Other problems occur when the property value is difficult to ascertain (jewelry, antiques) or when the alleged victim files a dishonest claim beyond actual losses sustained. Unfortunately, the person charged with theft is rarely in a good position to challenge the integrity of the alleged victim.

Let Us Help Protect Your Personal Rights!

Retaining a criminal defense lawyer should be your first priority if you are accused of any misdemeanor or felony. Fortunately, legal entanglements are often manageable. In addition, being charged with a felony does not necessarily mean that you will go to jail or be convicted of a felony. Once in the court system, a case may be resolved favorably, without trial, by obtaining one of the following dispositions:

  • Reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor.
  • HYTA status, limited to youthful offenders (age 17 but under 24) to get a dismissal and the record sealed.
  • Consent Status for juvenile offenders (under age 17) to get a dismissal and the record sealed.
  • Delayed Sentence pursuant to MCL 771.1 for consideration of sentence leniency or a dismissal. However, a delayed sentence is not automatic and may require the approval of the victim, judge and prosecutor.

ABDO LAW, established in Macomb County in 1980, provides unrivaled legal services to those that seek highly rated criminal defense lawyers. We believe that every client has a unique situation and deserves to be treated with respect and dedication to achieve the best possible result in the Michigan court system. In our 35 years of practicing criminal law, we have amassed 1,000’s of legal victories in every type of criminal matter.

It takes only one phone call to get immediate answers to your most pressing legal questions. Call ABDO LAW for personal and confidential advice from attorneys that have achieved AVVO’s highest rating of Superb and Martindale Hubbell’s Preeminent rating for legal ability and ethical standards by members of the bar and judiciary.

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