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Property Crime Attorney in Green Bay & De Pere, WI

Property Crimes

     Property crimes include things such as shoplifting, retail theft, theft, burglary, robbery, receiving stolen property, and criminal damage to property. All of these crimes carry with them the potential for very serious consequences ranging from fines to jail or prison time.

     Being accused of a property crime such as theft or robbery is not only a frightening experience, but also embarrassing. Accusations of theft and robbery carry with them a strong stigma of dishonesty and deception. Such allegations can affect not only your relationships with family and friends, but also can have a serious impact on your employment or ability to find future employment. If convicted of a property crime, your conviction will appear in any background check and potential employers may choose not to hire you as a result.

     If you have been accused of a property crime such as theft, robbery, or burglary, it is very important that you contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Brabazon Law Office right away. You have a constitutional right to defend yourself against such accusations. The attorneys at Brabazon Law office will immediately begin an investigation into the accusations and aggressively work to defend you and your rights, and get you the best result possible.

More Information on Wisconsin Property Crimes

Chapter 943 of the Wisconsin Statutes distinguishes four subchapters of crimes against property:
     (1) Damage
     (2) Trespass
     (3) Misappropriation
     (4) Crimes Against Financial Institutions

Damage
     The first subchapter, Damage, includes, among others, such crimes as criminal damage to property, graffiti, and arson.

     Criminal damage to property may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the charge. The following is a list of circumstances that may result in being charged with criminal damage to property as a Class I felony:
     • The property damaged is a vehicle or highway and the damage is such
          that would likely cause injury to a person or further property damage;
     • The property damaged belongs to a public utility;
     • The property damaged belongs to a judge;
     • The damage caused would reduce the value of the property by more
          than $2,500.00;
     • The property damaged is on state-owned land and is listed on the
          registry maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

     Graffiti is defined as intentionally marking, drawing, or etching on property belonging to another person without that person’s consent. Graffiti is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor, but may be charged as a Class I felony under the following circumstances:
     • The property is a vehicle or highway and the graffiti is such that would
          likely cause injury to a person or further property damage;
     • The property belongs to a public utility and the graffiti such that would
          likely impair the services of that utility;
     • The property belongs to a judge;
     • The graffiti caused more than $2,500.00 in damage to the property;
     • The property affected is on state-owned land and is on the registry
          maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

     To be found guilty of arson, the State must prove not only that the individual damaged a building that belonged to another person by means of fire, but also that the individual did so intentionally and without the owner’s consent. In many cases, an individual charged with arson is also charged with criminal damage to property as a lesser-included offense. Under Wisconsin law, arson is a Class C felony in the following circumstances:
     • By means of fire, an individual intentionally damaged any building
          of another without consent;
     • By means of fire, an individual intentionally damaged any building
          with the intent to defraud an insurer of that building; or
     • By means of explosives, an individual intentionally damaged any
          property of another without the other’s consent.

Trespass
     The second subchapter, Trespass, includes, among others, the charges of criminal trespass to property and burglary.

     A charge of trespassing may include trespass to land, trespass to a dwelling, trespass to a medical facility, or unlawful entry onto a construction site or into a locked building, dwelling, or room.

     An individual found guilty of trespass to land is subject to a Class B forfeiture. Trespass to land includes an entry onto the property that is enclosed, cultivated, or undeveloped land, or land that is occupied by a structure used for agricultural purposes, without the express consent of the owner. Such a charge also includes an individual who enters or remains on the land belonging to another person, after the owner of the land has notified the individual not to enter or remain on the premises. Notification can come in the form of postings on the property indicating the land is private.

     There are times when an individual may have the implied consent of the property owner to enter or remain on the property. To determine whether an individual has implied consent to enter or remain upon the land of another, a court will consider the following:

     • Whether the owner has previously allowed the individual or other
          individuals to enter the property under similar conditions;
     • The customary use of the land;
     • Whether the landowner has represented to the public that the land
          may be entered for particular purposes;
     • The general arrangement or design of any structures or improvements
          on the land.

     There are circumstances where entering onto the land of another will not result in a criminal charge. To determine whether an entry onto the land of another does qualify as trespass under Wisconsin law, contact a criminal defense attorney at Brabazon Law Office.

     Criminal trespass to a dwelling occurs where an individual intentionally enters the dwelling of another, without consent of some person lawfully upon the premises, under circumstances tending to create or provoke a breach of the peace. A “dwelling” is a structure in which a person makes a home, and can include an apartment, room, or building. It is not necessary that an actual breach of the peace occurred as a result of defendant's conduct. Criminal trespass to a dwelling is a Class A misdemeanor under Wisconsin law.

Misappropriation
     The third subchapter, Misappropriation, includes, among others, theft, robbery, and receiving stolen property.

     In Wisconsin, a wide range of behaviors falls within the definition of theft. What is consistent among the various types of theft is that the prosecution must prove that the individual intended to commit the theft. The individual must have intentionally taken and carried away, used, transferred, concealed, or retained possession of movable property belonging to another person without the consent of that person, and with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property. The prosecution must not only prove that the owner of the property did not give the individual consent to take the property, but also that the individual knew that the owner did not consent to the taking of the property. An individual who sincerely believed that he had the property owner’s consent to take the property is not guilty of theft. Additionally, the prosecution must prove that the individual intended to take the property and never return it to the rightful owner.

     The potential penalties associated with theft charges range from ordinance violations to misdemeanors to felonies. The penalties associated with the various forms of theft depend on the value of the property involved.

If the value of
the property is…
Then the
crime is a…
And the maximum
potential penalties are…
Less than $2,500
Class A Misdemeanor
9 months in jail or a $10,000 fine, or both.
Between $2,500 & $5,000
Class I Felony
3 ½ years imprisonment or a $10,000 fine, or both.
Between $5,000 & $10,000
Class H Felony
6 years imprisonment or a $10,000 fine, or both.
More than $10,000
Class G Felony
10 years imprisonment or a $25,000 fine, or both.

     Whether you have been charged with a crime or are being investigated, you need to contact one of the expereinced criminal defense attorneys at Brabazon Law Office. Your initial consultation is free.


Brabazon Law Office, LLC P.O. Box 11213 Green Bay, WI 54307-1213 Phone: (920) 494-1106 Fax: (920) 494-0501 E-Mail: brabazonlaw@msn.com

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