Since the rise of the online shopping industry, porch piracy, or the stealing of packages on a person’s doorstep, has become an increasing problem across the U.S. The holiday season is a particularly popular time for criminals to engage in mail theft through the interception of packages left on doorsteps.
To combat this, on Dec. 16, 2019, porch piracy became a felony in Michigan. The Michigan Senate passed the law in a unanimous vote, making the specific type of theft a state-level crime that can be prosecuted locally.
What is the legal definition of porch piracy?
Porch piracy is the act of intentionally intercepting packages from the doorstep of another person’s home. Whether you were on private property at the time is irrelevant to the crime. For example, if you acted with intent to steal a package belonging to a person living in the same apartment building as you, it would still be considered to be porch piracy.
What are the consequences of being found guilty of porch piracy now that new laws are in place?
If a person is found guilty of stealing a package for the first time, they will be charged with a misdemeanor, and they will face up to one year in jail. However, if a person is found guilty of repeat offenses, they will be charged with a felony. This will make prison time almost guaranteed, and they may face up to five years behind bars.
How can I defend myself against an accusation of porch piracy?
There are many ways that a person can defend themselves from an accusation of porch piracy. The defense that you will make will be specific to your circumstances, and it will also depend on what evidence can be used against you.
You may have simply made a mistake and believed that the package was yours. For example, if your packages are frequently delivered to the wrong address, you may have assumed that the package belonged to you. Similarly, when collecting a package at the mailbox in your apartment building, you may have accidentally picked up a package belonging to someone else.
If you have been accused of porch piracy in Michigan, you should take swift action to form your defense.