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Theft Charge Defense Options in Wisconsin

 Posted on December 05, 2023 in Criminal Law

Waukesha County criminal defense lawyerThe charges and convictions for theft in Wisconsin range from Class A misdemeanors to Class F felonies. The severity of the penalties for these convictions can vary widely. Understanding how to defend yourself against theft charges is a great first step toward avoiding a conviction. An attorney with experience in theft charge defense can provide ample options to help you fight them.

What is Theft in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin defines theft as an intentional act of depriving an owner of their possession(s). The alleged thief can do so physically by taking, using, transferring, or holding onto the property without the intention of returning it. Theft by fraud is another option where a person deliberately uses false information to acquire another owner’s possession(s).

Penalties For Theft Convictions

Theft penalties are often dependent on the property value which was stolen. As mentioned, penalties for theft can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class F felony, all of which are significant. A guilty conviction could subject you to the following penalties:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Property value of less than $2500 carries a penalty of up to nine months imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000.
  • Class I Felony: Property value greater than $2500 but less than $5000 carries a penalty of up to three and a half years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Class H Felony: Property value greater than $5000 but less than $10,000 carries a penalty of up to six years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.
  • Class G Felony: Property value greater than $10,000 but less than $100,000 is punishable with ten years imprisonment and fines up to $25,000.
  • Class F Felony: Property value exceeding $100,000 carries a penalty of up to 12.5 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

A theft conviction can negatively impact your life, so choose your defense attorney wisely.

Your Defense Options

There are six standard defense options for theft worth examining:

  • Claims of ownership: The accused believes the property is their property. This defense will require proof of ownership by the defendant at the time of the alleged theft.
  • Under the influence: Claims of drunkenness or impairment when the property was taken can show you lacked intent. The prosecution must prove intent to win their case.
  • Lack of intent: A prosecutor who cannot prove intent in a theft case has no case. When intent cannot be proven, it is possible to have the case dismissed.
  • Entrapment: Used most often in police sting operations. Police coercion to commit a theft can be used as a defense.
  • False allegations: Sometimes, a defendant can be falsely accused by honest mistake or spite. Proof of false accusations can help a defendant avoid conviction.
  • Flawed valuation: Incorrectly valued property can get theft charges reduced as theft charges are based on the dollar value of the stolen goods.

Contact a Waukesha County, WI Criminal Defense Attorney

Theft charges carry serious penalties a defendant must be aware of. In theft cases, a Brookfield, WI theft charge defense lawyer is a necessity to getting your charges dropped or reduced. If you stand accused of theft, contact Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP at 262-232-6699 for a free consultation to go over your case and build a solid defense.

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