Breaking and Entering Defense Attorney

Criminal defense lawyers dedicated to the defense of Breaking and Entering charges in Michigan. We have an unparalleled track record of winning in court and we will fight to keep you out of jail and do everything possible to help you avoid a conviction.

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Breaking and Entering with the Intent to Commit a Felony or a Larceny

In Michigan, the Breaking and Entering charge changes from a misdemeanor to a felony if the accused had the intent to commit a felony or a larceny inside the structure. Under the law, it is a felony to break into a tent, hotel, office, store, shop, warehouse, barn, factory or other building, structure, boat, shipping container, or railroad car with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. The maximum penalty for a breaking and entering in Michigan is up to 10 years in prison and up to 5 years on probation.

Intent to Commit a Felony or Larceny

A person who breaks into a structure without intent to commit a crime inside is only guilty of a misdemeanor. If a prosecutor alleges that the person entered with the intent to commit a felony or a larceny inside the building or structure, the charge would be a felony. A person’s intent can be proven by what he says or does. For example, if he is heard saying, “I’m going in to steal a shirt,” this would be an example of evidence that can be used to prove a person’s intent to commit a felony or larceny. On the other hand, if a person breaks into a jewelry store, while carrying an empty bag and a lock pick, this would be circumstantial evidence that he entered with the intent to commit a larceny.

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Defenses to a Breaking and Entering Felony Charge

There are many defenses to charges of Breaking and Entering in Michigan including duress, mistake, claim of right, and lack of intent. A great criminal defense lawyer will be able to meet with you, hear your story, and study the facts of your case to develop a winning defense strategy. In some cases, the defense attorney may look for facts that will show that the defendant is innocent and, in other cases, the strategy may be to show the defendant’s actions are not as serious as the police allege. If a defendant is innocent, the best way to avoid a wrongful conviction is with an experienced trial lawyer who has a known history of winning in court.

If you are guilty of Breaking and Entering, should you just plead guilty?

In those cases where a defendant actually committed a Breaking and Entering, pleading guilty without significant planning and plea negotiations is a major mistake with lifetime consequences. Prosecutors routinely negotiate with respected trial lawyers and compromise on charges to reach a plea bargain. Many judges will offer a favorable sentence as an incentive to resolve the case, like probation without jail as an example. A great trial lawyer stands the best chance of reaching a favorable resolution because they have established credibility and are respected by the court.

Charged with Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering Under Special Circumstances

There are exceptional circumstances that need to be considered in some cases. A person under the age of 24 may qualify for certain statutes designed to help youthful offenders and a judge may be persuaded to take a case under advisement so that the defendant can avoid a conviction. In the case of aliens who have legal or illegal status in the United States, a breaking and entering conviction can result in deportation, inability to get citizenship, or being blocked from reentering the United States. Anyone looking for employment or who has a professional license, is looking at dire consequences if convicted of Breaking and Entering felony charges in Michigan.

Common Breaking and Entering Questions

What is the minimum sentence or consequence for Breaking and Entering?

The minimum sentence is probation without jail or prison.

What is the maximum sentence or term for Breaking and Entering?

The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison or even more if the accused has prior felony convictions.

Is Breaking and Entering a Felony?

Yes, if the accused committed the offense with the intent to commit a felony or larceny.

Is it necessary to break down a door to be guilty?

No, any amount of force used to open a door or window to enter the building, no matter how slight, is sufficient to constitute a “breaking.”

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Experienced and Zealous Breaking and Entering Defense Attorneys in Michigan

The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with Breaking and Entering. It is widely known that these cases are regularly prosecuted in Oakland County, Wayne County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County and Macomb County and our team of defense attorneys regularly represent clients throughout Southeastern Michigan and achieves extraordinary results. If you or a loved one is charged with or suspected of committing a Breaking and Entering, call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.