Can You Legally Set Booby Traps to Protect Your Property in Michigan?
They do it all the time in the movies. Would-be criminals are often thwarted by elaborate contraptions just before they strike. But is it legal?
You Can Do Anything in the Movies
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) took setting booby traps to a whole new level in 'Home Alone.' The 8-year-old successfully outsmarted Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) numerous times to protect the family's Chicago-area bungalow.
From heating up the front entry's doorknob from the inside with a barbeque starter to rigging up paint cans to swing from the upstairs balcony in order to hit his enemies in the head, little Kev was the master contraption builder.
'Nightmare on Elm Street,' 'You're Next,' and countless other films have taken setting traps to next-level extremes, all in the name of entertainment.
(Side Note: If you haven't seen the aforementioned 'You're Next,' put it on your must-watch list. Lock the doors before you press play.)
In April of last year, a Bay County man pleaded no contest to three counts related to setting contraptions designed with the intention of causing great bodily harm less than murder.
Roger Broadstone originally faced 17 charges, including five counts of attempted murder after allegedly rigging his home with booby traps that could have potentially killed five police officers.
Michigan Law Proposed
In 2017, House Bill 5176 was introduced after a police officer in Wyoming, Michigan was injured after falling onto a bed of screws at a marijuana grow facility.
The 'booby trap' bill would make it a two-year felony to place "a contraption or device capable of causing injury or death" on your property. The penalty would increase to 15 years if someone is killed.
US Law Makes Booby Traps Expressly Illegal
Federal law makes it illegal to go full-on Kevin McCallister, even on your own property, according to US Legal.
"If a person sets up such a trap to protect his/her property, he/she will be liable for any injury or death even to an unwanted intruder such as a burglar. It is illegal to set a booby trap on one's own property to prevent intruders."