Fighting Theft Crime Accusations in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, theft is defined as a person who intentionally does the following acts without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possessing such movable property:
- takes and carries away
- takes and uses
- takes and transfers
- takes and conceals
- takes and retains possession
The penalties of a theft crime conviction depend on the value of the property, among other factors. If you are found guilty of theft in Wisconsin, you may be subject to a:
- Class A misdemeanor charge if the value of the property does not exceed $2,500
- Punishable by $10,000 fines and/or 9 months in prison
- Class I felony charge if the value of the property is greater than $2,500 but less than $5,000
- Punishable by $10,000 fines and/or 3.5 years in prison
- Class H felony charge if the value of the property is greater than $5,000 but less than $10,000
- Punishable by $10,000 fines and/or 6 years in prison
- Class G felony charge if the value of the property is greater than $10,000 but less than $100,000
- Punishable by $25,000 fines and/or 10 years in prison
- Class F felony charge if the value of the property exceeds $100,000
- Punishable by $25,000 fines and/or 12.5 years in prison
With these legal punishments in mind, it is a good time to discuss the 6 possible theft defenses that our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer may employ in your case:
- Claim of ownership: This defense implies you had a good reason to believe the allegedly stolen property was yours. You must prove that you owned the item at the time of the alleged offense.
- Intoxication: If you were impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of your reported offense, you likely lacked the skills needed to possess the intent to commit theft, which brings us to our next point.
- Lack of intent: The prosecution has the burden of proving that you intentionally took away the owner’s property without their consent and with the intent to permanently deprive them of such property rather than “borrow” it. If prosecutors cannot meet their burden of proof, your case may get dismissed.
- Entrapment: This defense can be used if a police officer or other government official induced or lured you into committing a crime. It is particularly common to use this defense in cases involving sting operations.
- False allegations: Whether it be out of spite or pure mistake, your accuser may have identified you as a theft crime suspect. Although a theft allegation is purely that — an allegation — and not an indication of guilt, this defense can ultimately get your case dismissed from court.
- Flawed valuation: The prosecution may have incorrectly valued the allegedly stolen property as higher than it actually was, which can help get your theft charges drastically reduced.
If you are facing theft charges in Milwaukee, our theft attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella is on your side. Retain our powerhouse defense by contacting our firm at (414) 882-8382 today!