Wisconsin law protects people’s property by imposing criminal penalties on those who willfully damage or steal something that belongs to somebody else. In addition to theft, Wisconsin defines a wide range of different property crimes, and some come with much more serious penalties than others. If you have been arrested for criminal damage to property, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the specific charges you are facing and the possible penalties if you are convicted.
Understanding Types of Criminal Damage to Property
In Wisconsin, some of the most common state charges for property crimes include:
- Damage to property: Sometimes known as vandalism, physically damaging someone’s property without their consent is usually considered a Class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin, and it can result in up to $10,000 in fines and up to 9 months in jail. This offense may be charged as a felony depending on the victim or type of property damaged, the likelihood of causing injury, or the intent to commit theft.
- Arson: This offense refers specifically to the intentional damaging of someone’s property by fire. If the property is not a building, the offense is typically considered a Class I felony. If a building is damaged, the offense is considered a Class C felony, with penalties including up to $100,000 in fines and 40 years of imprisonment.
- Burglary: Entering someone’s property without their consent and with the intent to steal or commit a serious crime is considered burglary, which is charged as a Class F felony. This offense can be raised to a Class E felony if the offender was armed with a weapon or explosive, or if he or she allegedly committed battery against a person on the property.
- Theft: This offense refers broadly to the taking of someone’s property without his or her consent. Theft may involve physical property, money, wages, identification, mail, and more, and charges range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class F felony depending on the value and nature of the property stolen.
- Robbery: A person may be charged with this offense if they allegedly took someone’s property by force or threat of force. Simple robbery is considered a Class E felony in Wisconsin. Armed robbery, meaning robbery with a dangerous weapon of any kind, is a Class C felony.
As you may note from these descriptions, it is often possible to face charges for multiple property crimes in the same case, and the penalties can be severe. It is crucial that you hire an attorney who can give you the best possible defense, including fighting to have your charges dropped if you were arrested for a crime you did not actually commit or attempting to argue or negotiate for a reduced sentence if you are facing conviction for a serious property crime.
Contact a Milwaukee, WI Criminal Defense Lawyer
Facing criminal charges is stressful under any circumstances, and it can be especially hard when you do not fully understand the nature of the allegations against you. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we are experienced with defending clients in all manner of property crimes, and when you hire us, we will fight to protect your rights at all times. Contact a Milwaukee property crimes defense attorney today at 414-271-1440.