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Information on crimes that are commonly charged in Michigan. If you need legal assistance, please contact a lawyer.


Larceny in a Building

Statute: MCL 750.360
Crime Group: Property
Sentence Class
: G
Minimum Sentence: 0 Months
Maximum Sentence1: 48 Months (4 Years)
Maximum Fine: Not Specified
Jury Instructions: MCJI2d 23.04
Sex Offender Registration Required: No

Statutory Language:

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.


Michigan has no crime specifically called “burglary,” which is a traditional common law offense that involves breaking into the home of another person at night to commit a felony (not just “theft” but any “felony”) within. Instead, Michigan uses a variety of statutes to cover the same offense, but with varying penalties and requirements. “Larceny in a Building” is one such law. Unlike common law burglary, a “larceny in a building” can take place at anytime (not just at night), can involve any kind of building (not just a “dwelling house”) and some kinds of vehicles, and specifically involves theft (including theft that would otherwise be a misdemeanor). The prosecutor most establish the defendant: first, took the property of another; second, took the property without the consent of the owner; third, took the property from a type of building (or a specific type of vehicle); fourth, moved the property in some manner; fifth, took the property that was worth something at the time it was taken; and finally, intended, at the time the property was taken, to permanently deprive the owner of the property (i.e., steal or destroy it).

Because this type of charge covers a wide range of activities—from traditional burglaries to shoplifting—each case is very fact-specific. In some cases, the larceny may involve theft when no one is around, making the issue of whether police tracked down and identified the correct perpetrator as the main question at trial. In other cases, the issue may be whether the defendant had permission to take the property. There are many as different ways to approach a larceny case as there are ways of stealing.

Many of these cases result with a plea agreement in which the defendant pleads guilty to a simple larceny. This reduced charge may be a low-level misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the items stolen and other circumstances.

In some cases, where a defendant is at least 17 years of age but less than 21 years of age at the time of the offense (or between 21 and 24 years of age, with the consent of the prosecutor), (s)he may be eligible for sentencing under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (“HYTA”) (MCL 762.11). HYTA allows for a deferred sentence, meaning that a defendant will receive the status of “youthful trainee.” Upon a successful completion of the trainee probation, all charges will be dropped and no public record of the charge will appear. If the defendant does not successfully complete probation, a conviction will enter without a trial and the defendant is re-sentenced.

A defendant convicted under this statute will typically be sentenced according to the Michigan sentencing guidelines. Because these guidelines consider both the nature of the current crime and the past record of the defendant—and because the guidelines are “advisory only” and judges are not required to follow them—it is impossible to predict a likely sentence without taking a look at the specific facts of a defendant’s case and reviewing the past record of a defendant, and even then such predictions are an “educated guess” at best.

1Maximum sentence shown is for a first-time felony offender. Prior felonies make a defendant liable for “Habitual Offender” (“HO”) sentencing enhancement. Thus, for a defendant with one prior felony or attempted felony (“HO2”), the maximum sentence raises to 72 months (6 years); for a defendant with two prior felonies or attempted felonies (“HO3”), the maximum sentence raises to 96 months (8 years); and a defendant with three or more prior felonies or attempted felonies (“HO4”) faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.



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