Removing a major part of a vehicle without the owner’s consent is a felony in Wisconsin.  Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. at (414) 270-0202 for immediate help.

Removing a major part of a vehicle without the owner’s consent is a serious criminal charge in Wisconsin.  This charge is a Class I felony, meaning the maximum penalty is 3.5 years in prison, $10,000.00 in fines, or both.  That 3.5 years prison breaks down into 1.5 years initial confinement followed by 2 years extended supervision.

While the definition for “major part” is relatively broad, frequently this charge involves items like catalytic converters and the rims on vehicles.  Importantly, these items must cost over $500.00 to qualify under the statute.

The criminal defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. regularly defend individuals facing serious charges throughout Wisconsin.  Frequently those charges are serious felonies, including theft charges such as this.  We certainly have a successful track record filing pre-trial motions and fighting cases through trial.  Contact our firm immediately at (414) 270-0202 for help.

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What does Section 943.23(5) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibit?

Section 943.23(5) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibit removing a major part of a vehicle without the owner’s consent.  The law says:

(5) Whoever intentionally removes a major part of a vehicle without the consent of the owner is guilty of a Class I felony. Whoever intentionally removes any other part or component of a vehicle without the consent of the owner is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

You’ll quickly notice that one version of this crime is a Class A misdemeanor.  Importantly, the lesser version of the offense applies only when a “major part” of the vehicle is not involved.  Section 943.23(1)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes provides a list of items that qualify as a major part: the engine, the transmission, a door, the hood, the grille, either bumper, each front fender, the deck lid, tailgate, or hatchback, either rear quarter panel, the trunk floor pan, the frame, or any other part which has a value exceeding $500.00.  Whether a part of the vehicle qualifies as a major part is a legal determination, and is up to the fact finder (usually a jury, sometimes a judge) to determine.

Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1467

In order to sustain a conviction against the defendant, the government must prove, by evidence which satisfies the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, three elements (provided in Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1467):

  • Firstly, that the defendant intentionally removed a major part of a vehicle.  Intent requires that the defendant had the mental purpose to remove the part.  Certainly removing a part during a vehicle-to-vehicle car accident does not apply.
  • Secondly, the defendant removed the part without the consent of the owner of the vehicle.  Consent requires that the owner actually allow the defendant the right to remove the part.  Threats, or causing consent to be given by fear, do not satisfy this requirement.
  • Finally, the defendant knew the owner did not consent to the removal of the part.  The second element focused on consent not existing.  This element focuses on the defendant knowing that fact.

These are the three elements, or parts, of the offense that the government must prove against you.  Courts typically read jury instructions out loud to jurors.  Additionally, attorneys typically use jury instructions to break offenses down into more-defensible sections.  The elements certainly make understanding the offense a little bit easier.

Removing a major part of a vehicle without the owner's consent.
Removing a major part of a vehicle without the owner’s consent is a felony in Wisconsin. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. immediately for help with this or any other charge: (414) 270-0202.

Is there a way to win removing a major part from a vehicle charges?

The first thing to remember when asking this question is that the government has a burden.  Proof beyond a reasonable doubt means that if the jurors have a doubt, and that doubt is reasonable, whether you committed this offense, you must be acquitted of the charges you face.  Some clients may be uncomfortable discussing the possibility of a trial early in a case, but it’s important to remember that this is always an option.

Well before you decide whether to pursue that option, we may consider filing pre-trial motions.  Pre-trial motions are simply requests for the court to take a certain action.  A typical example of a pre-trial motion is one challenging the validity of a search warrant.  Because we’re dealing with a criminal charge that includes physical evidence, this could be relevant to your case.  Insufficient police investigation and faulty allegations in an affidavit could lead to a court determining the search warrant was faulty.  If the only evidence found against you was in connection to that search warrant, the charges against you could be in the position for dismissal.

Other motions aren’t as powerful.  Sometimes we’ll file motions challenging the use of your statements in court.  If your statements were incriminating, but the case wasn’t built entirely on those statements, your case likely won’t be dismissed.  But the things you said to the police could be kept out.  (Reminder: you don’t need to talk to the cops, and it rarely helps you.)  This makes your trial outlook a little more positive.

Finally, our firm offers free one-hour consultations to potential clients.  During those consultations we’ll get into more of the details of your case and talk about potential outcomes.  This page is general – those conversations can be specific.

Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. immediately for help.

Van Severen Law Office, S.C. is a criminal defense law firm where we focus specifically on helping individuals facing criminal charges.  We don’t handle civil law.  We can’t help with your divorce or writing your contract.  But we can help when you’re seeking an attorney to defend your removing a major part of a vehicle without the owner’s consent charges.  Our firm has defended many theft cases, many felony cases, and many cases that had the potential to change our client’s life.

Contact us at (414) 270-0202 immediately to schedule a free consultation.  You’ll have the chance to sit down with one of our criminal defense attorneys to figure out where you’d like the case to go, where we think it will go, and whether we’re a match.

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