Criminal damage to railroads cases are serious.  Contact Van Severen Law Office today.  (414) 270-0202

Criminal damage to railroads charges aren’t incredibly frequent in Wisconsin.  While recognizing that fact, they’re certainly serious.  Depending on a few different facts, the charge is either a Class B misdemeanor or a Class I felony.  The misdemeanor offense only carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, $1,000.00 in fines, or both.  While that’s on the lower end of the penalty spectrum, slightly different circumstances lead to a Class I felony charge, with a maximum penalty of 3.5 years in prison and $10,000.00 in fines.

Any criminal conviction is serious and remains on your record forever.  While a felony carries additional serious collateral consequences, our criminal defense attorneys recognize the harm that any conviction carries.  We dedicate ourselves to providing you the very best criminal defense in Wisconsin.

Van Severen Law Office, S.C. is a criminal defense law firm based in Milwaukee, WI.  We have satellite offices throughout Wisconsin, allowing us to better serve clients in any Wisconsin community.  We’re open to in-person or remote/telephone consultations to potential clients.  Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202 to begin discussing your case.

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What is criminal damage to railroads?

Section 943.07 of the Wisconsin Statutes provides the official criminal damage to railroads definition.

There are two circumstances where criminal damage to railroads is a Class I felony.  They include circumstances where:

  • The defendant intentionally causes damage or causes another person to damage, tamper, change or destroy any railroad track, switch, bridge, trestle, tunnel or signal or any railroad property used in providing rail services, which could cause an injury, accident or derailment; or
  • The defendant intentionally shoots a firearm at any portion of a railroad train, car, caboose, or engine.

Not all criminal damage to railroad cases are felonies.  The crime is a Class B misdemeanor where:

  • The defendant intentionally throws, shoots or propels any stone, brick or other missile at any railroad train, car, caboose, or engine; or
  • The defendant intentionally throws or deposits any type of debris or waste material on or along any railroad track or right-of-way which could cause an injury or accident.

What about the jury instructions for this criminal charge?

If you’re familiar with the other content on our website, you’re aware that we regularly talk about the jury instructions connected to various criminal charges.  Jury instructions are prepared instructions that courts, defense attorneys, defendants, other attorneys, and juries use to understand criminal charges.  The instructions break offenses down into smaller parts, or elements.  The government must prove each of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a conviction against the defendant.

Criminal damage to railroads charges don’t have any official jury instructions.  That being said, there is a criminal jury instruction for a similar charge – criminal damage to property.  Let’s use that to draft a few for criminal damage to railroads:

  • Firstly, the defendant caused damage to a railroad.
  • Secondly, the defendant intentionally caused the damage.  Intentionally means the defendant has the mental purpose to damage the property or was aware that the conduct was practically certain to cause that result.
  • Thirdly, the damage created the potential for injury, accident, or derailment.
  • Fourthly, the defendant caused the damage without consent.
  • Finally, the defendant knew the property was a railroad and knew the property owner did not consent to the damage.

This potential jury instruction only applies to one version of the Class I felony.  The jury instructions for shooting a train and for both misdemeanor offenses will be different.

A damaged Wisconsin railroad
Criminal damage to railroads is both a misdemeanor and felony criminal offense in Wisconsin. Looking to hire a top Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer? Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. immediately at (414) 270-0202.

Wondering how we defend cases?

All criminal cases are different, and therefore one article simply won’t do a good job explaining how we can help defend you.  At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., we believe in being completely transparent in our interactions.  That’s one of the reasons we offer free consultations to potential clients.  You’ll have the chance to sit down with one of our staff attorneys, discuss your case, ask questions, and choose whether or not you’d like to move forward.  We’ll be able to determine if our firm is a good match before you spend a dime.

Once we move forward, one of the first issues we’ll explore is whether we have a reason to file some sort of pre-trial motion.  Motions are requests that the court determine some sort of issue before trial.  Frequently, motions include challenges to the legality of a search warrant.  Equally common, and perhaps a scenario you’ve seen play out in the media, sometimes we’ll challenge the admissibility of an incriminating statement you gave to police.  In any case, a motion puts us in a better, more defensible, position moving forward.

If we’re unable to achieve a dismissal of the charges against you, at this point we’ll discuss whether or not to enter a plea, or if you’d like to proceed to jury trial.  These are complex decisions and it’s best that we sit down together and have a conversation about the path we’ll move down.

Why should we hire Van Severen Law Office for defending our criminal damage to railroad case?

Did you leave a quarter on railroad tracks to see what would happen?  Did you throw a rock at a railroad car?  A Class B misdemeanor carries with it a potential jail sentence of 90 days.  If you’ve gone further and committed a felony, you’re facing a potential prison sentence.  The criminal defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office are experienced attorneys prepared to work on your defense.

We’re recognized throughout Wisconsin as top criminal defense attorneys for the results we’ve achieved for clients.  Charges like this, involving damage to property, are the kind of cases that we regularly work on for clients.  We’re familiar with the issues usually involved and know how to move forward with your best defense.

To speak with a criminal defense attorney, contact our office today.  We answer phones 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.

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