Michigan Criminal Trespass Laws

When you enter someone's property without their knowledge or permission, you not only invade their privacy, you also commit the offense of trespassing. In addition to the civil liability that you could face, you also may be charged with criminal trespass.

Trespass by Destroying or Damaging Property

Most criminal trespassing acts are classified as misdemeanors. However, Michigan recognizes felony acts of criminal trespass as well. For example, a person who enters a neighbor's land without permission and intentionally and maliciously cuts down or destroys the neighbor's tree has committed an act of criminal trespass. This offense is classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the destroyed or damaged property and the trespasser's criminal history.

Michigan Criminal Trespass Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of laws related to Michigan's criminal trespass laws, including links to important code sections.

Statutes

  • Michigan Complied Laws 750.552 (Trespass on private property)
  • Michigan Compiled Laws 750.552a (Unlawful dumping)
  • Michigan Compiled Laws 750.382 (Trespass by destroying/damaging property)
  • Michigan Compiled Laws 750.552b (Trespass of a state correctional facility)

Misdemeanor Trespass

Private property trespass: An individual who commits the following is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in county jail for a term not to exceed 30 days and/or a fine of $250.

Prohibited activities:

  • Enter another person's property after being forbidden to do so by the owner.
  • Remain on another person's property after having been notified to depart by the owner.
  • Enter or remain on another's fenced or posted farm property without the owner's consent.

Unlawful Dumping: Any individual who dumps, or places any garbage or filth on another's property without consent.

Trespass by destroying/damaging property:

  • Property value less than $200: Imprisonment of up to 93 days and/or a fine of not more than $500 or 3x the value of the destroyed/damaged property, whichever is greater.
  • Property value $200 or more, but less than $1,000: Imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or a fine of not more than $2,000 or 3x the value of the destroyed/damaged property, whichever is greater.

Felony Trespass

Trespass by destroying/damaging property:

  • Property value $1,000 or more, less than $20,000: Penalty is imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or a fine of not more than $10,000 or 3x the value of the destroyed/damaged property, whichever is greater.
  • Property value $20,000 or more: Imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of not more than $15,000 or 3x the value of the destroyed/damaged property, whichever is greater.

Trespass of a state correctional facility: Punishable by imprisonment of up to 4 years and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Possible Defenses

  • Owner's consent
  • Legal right to be on property
  • Necessity

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Connect with a Defense Attorney about Your Trespass Case

Connect with a Defense Attorney about Your Trespass Case

Although trespassing is less serious than many crimes, being convicted can affect your criminal record. Consider talking to an experienced attorney who understands Michigan's criminal trespass laws and can evaluate your case. Connect with a local criminal defense attorney today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.