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Misdemeanor theft charges in Wisconsin fines, defenses, lawyer costs

In Wisconsin, misdemeanor theft is a Class A misdemeanor, which means fines could reach $10,000, confinement could reach 9 months, or the penalty could include both jail and a fine.

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According to Wisconsin statute 943.20(3), misdemeanor theft is a class A misdemeanor. The penalties in Wisconsin for a class A misdemeanor are a fine up to $10,000, 9 months in prison, or a combination of both. 

Theft is classified as a misdemeanor when the stolen property is worth less than $2,500.

To find a defendant guilty of violating this statute, the district attorney would have to prove four elements:

  1. The defendant intentionally took and carried away movable property of another
  2. The owner of the property did not consent to taking and carrying away the property
  3. The defendant knew that the owner did not consent
  4. The defendant intended to deprive the owner permanently of the possession of the property

Our criminal defense attorneys have negotiated multiple felonies down to misdemeanors, non-criminal tickets and outright dismissal of charges. Through negotiation or jury trial our Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys faithfully represent your interests to the fullest under criminal law. Grieve Law LLC has firearm, criminal defense, drug and DUI attorneys in Waukesha, Madison and Milwaukee.

Misdemeanor theft charges in Wisconsin

You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted

Initial Appearance, Further Proceedings, and Your 2 Choices

The stages you can expect throughout the pendency of the case include your initial appearance, where your bail is decided, and a scheduling/status/further proceedings conference. The purpose of this conference is to let the court know how you plan to proceed with the case, whether it be taking it to trial or settling with a plea agreement. At this point what you can expect will diverge.

Option 1: Go to Jury Trial

If you decide to take your case to trial, you will first have a jury status date to:

  • File a witness list
  • File motion in limine
  • Give parameters or rules for the attorneys to follow during trial
  • Give jury instructions if needed

Your jury status date will be followed quickly by your jury trial date. Depending on the court’s schedule, it is possible your case will not take place on that date. Typically this is because other trials are set for the same day and time, and for a number of reasons another case may take precedence over yours. Your attorney will advise you regarding your decision to go to trial, but ultimately it is up to you.

2. Settle with a Plea Agreement

If you choose not to take your case to trial you will likely proceed by accepting an offer made by the district attorney. In a case involving misdemeanor theft, restitution is likely going to play some sort of role in the offer.

Once you enter a plea your case will proceed to the sentencing stage of the case. During sentencing, the district attorney and your attorney will present arguments to the Judge in regards to how you should be sentenced following a conviction.

It is your attorney’s job to balance all of these factors in order to secure the best possible outcome.

If you have been charged with Misdemeanor Theft, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney with a record of success in handling criminal defense cases. There are important nuances in Misdemeanor Theft cases that can make or break your case, and you need a skilled advocate to navigate them properly. Schedule a free case assessment with Grieve Law to find out your best option.

Contact Grieve Law’s Milwaukee misdemeanor theft defense attorneys for your free consultation.


Could You be Facing a FELONY Theft Charge in Wisconsin?

Depending on the severity of the theft, you could be facing large penalties including time in state prison and fines. 

Theft of property worth more than $10,000 -   If you're being charged with the theft of property worth more than $10,000 in Wisconsin, you'll be facing charges associated with a Class G Felony. A Class G felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Theft of property worth $5,000-$10,000, firearm, or domestic animalCommitting theft of a property worth $5,000-$10,000, theft of a firearm, or theft of a domestic animal in Wisconsin is classified as a Class H felony. This type of felony will get you 6 years in prison and require a maximum fine of $10,000.

Theft of an unoccupied property - Theft of unoccupied property in Wisconsin could land you a Class H felony charge. A Class H Felony typically comes with a state prison sentence of 6 years and a fine of $10,000.

Theft of property worth $2,500-$5,000Being charged with theft of a property worth $2,500-$5,000 could land you a Class I felony in Wisconsin. This type of felony is punishable by up to 3.5 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000.

In Wisconsin, how long does a misdemeanor theft charge stay on your record?

Theft penalties in Wisconsin can escalate to a $10,000 fine, and even if a conviction doesn�t lead to that extreme of a penalty, you could still have it on your record for life.

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