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Criminal Damage to Property 2 Brutal Penalties in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, criminal damage to property is usually a Class A misdemeanor, but penalties reach Class I felony (up to a $10,000 fine and/or 3.5 years in prison) under certain conditions, such as damage to a highway, bridge, state-owned land or other circumstances outlined in (Wis. Stat. § 943.01).

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Criminal Damage to Property in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, criminal damage to property is not always a felony. Many charges are misdemeanors impacting your permanent record. Before settling for a fee-to-plea™ lawyer, contact Grieve Law for a free case assessment.

Penalties for criminal damage to property in Wisconsin

"Property of another" refers to property in which a person other than the defendant has legal or equitable interest, even though the defendant may also have legal or equitable interest in the property. For instance, if a spouse vandalizes or damages their shared marital home, it is not a defense that they also had legal interest in the damaged property.

Penalties for Criminal Damage to Property in Wisconsin

Criminal Damage to Property can result in two penalties in Wisconsin: Misdemeanor and Felony charges. A basic offense of Criminal Damage to Property, such as graffiti, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 9 months jail, a $10,000 fine, or both.

The penalty increases to a Class I felony punishable by up to 3 years 6 months imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both, in the following situations:

  1. The property damaged is a vehicle or highway and the damage is likely to cause injury to a person or further property damage;
  2. The property damaged belongs to a public utility or common carrier and the damage is likely to impair the services of the public utility or common carrier;
  3. The property damaged belongs to a person who is or was a grand or petit juror and the damage was caused by reason of any verdict or indictment assented to by the owner;
  4. The property damaged is on state-owned land and is listed on the registry of prominent features;
  5. The total property damaged is reduced in value by more than $2,500;
  6. The property damaged is a rock art site listed on the national register of historic places in Wisconsin;
  7. The property damaged is plant material used in research; or
  8. The property damaged is a machine operated by the insertion of coins, currency, or debit or credit cards.

It is a Class H Felony punishable by up to 6 years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both to damage property owned, leased, or operated by an energy provider if committed with the intent to cause substantial interruption or impairment of any service or good from the energy provider.

Remember, though:

You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted

Reduce or Dismiss Wisconsin Criminal Damage to Property Charges

If you are given felony or misdemeanor criminal damage to property charges, it is important to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer. The defense attorneys at Grieve Law know what issues to look for on your case and will skillfully litigate these issues to get you the best possible outcome. Attorneys at Grieve Law have a history of successfully reducing or dismissing charges for their clients.

Could you be facing FELONY charges?

Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be facing some serious jail time and heavy fines. The first step to lessening the penalties being pressed against you is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows their way around the legal system.

Common property damage charges that result in felony charges:

  • Destruction of power lines, power service equipment or other property critical to electricity distributionDestruction of power lines, power service equipment, or any other property critical to electricity distribution is classified as a Class H felony in Wisconsin. This type of charge will land you up to 6 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • Destruction of property worth more than $2,500 or certain types of property (church or a revenue office)If you're charged with a Class I felony in Wisconsin for the destruction of property worth more than $2,500 you could be facing up to 3.5 years in state prison or fines up to $10,000.
If you have been charged with Criminal Damage to Property, contact Grieve Law for a free initial consultation.

In Wisconsin, how long does a criminal damage to property charge stay on your record?

On top of the potential prison term of 10 years or a fine reaching $25,000, a felony-level criminal damage to property in Wisconsin would be listed on your record permanently unless a narrow set of circumstances were met.

How to Reduce Felony Penalties for Criminal Property Damage

Being charged with a felony for criminal property damage is a serious matter. Exercising your right to an attorney is one of the most beneficial things you can do if you’re faced with felony charges for property damage. Even if you’re facing a misdemeanor instead of a felony, you need to have qualified legal counsel to reduce potential legal penalties as much as possible. 


Tom Grieve is known for his passionate defense of the criminally accused. Well-versed in criminal penalties, Tom Grieve knows how to get the state to drop or reduce charges. With an induction into the “Wisconsin Rising Star” category from a nationally acclaimed attorney rating organization, Tom Grieve is a wise choice for legal representation. If you want an attorney who has a track record of negotiating felonies down to misdemeanors or less, give Tom Grieve a call. 


Other law firms will be eager to take your money to represent you in court, but you can only count on Grieve Law for the kind of representation that will try to shorten your time behind bars and reduce your criminal penalties. The life-changing effects of a felony conviction aren’t worth the money you’ll save on subpar legal representation. You need an attorney who excels in criminal defense and will fight to get your charges reduced.  

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