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Theft charges in Wisconsin

At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we defend individuals facing all theft charges.

Under Wisconsin law, theft is a property crime that can take many forms. Most people think of this charge in terms of retail theft. One of the most commonly-charged theft crimes in Wisconsin is retail theft.  That being said, this crime is much broader than the simple retail context.  Shoplifting crimes are some of the most mitigated when considering all crimes.

At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we defend all criminal charges throughout Wisconsin.  We defend theft, shoplifting, and all other crimes throughout Wisconsin.  Call us at (414) 270-0202 24/7.


Theft

Theft is governed by Wisconsin Statute 943.20(1)(a); which defines theft as:

(1)(a) Whoever intentionally takes and carries away, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the other’s consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property.

Simply, theft is taking something that does not belong to you. You act without the owner’s permission.  And, concluding, you intend to permanently keep the item. Borrowing a neighbors rake to do some yard work without first asking permission is not theft. In that case, you plan on returning the item.  But, taking the rake and keeping it for yourself is theft.   Certainly, upon permanent deprivation of the rake, you’ve committed a crime.


Retail Theft

Retail Theft is governed by Wisconsin Statute 943.50; which defines retail theft as:

(1m) A person may be penalized if he or she does any of the following without the merchants consent and with intent to deprive the merchant permanently of possession or the full purchase price of the merchandise or property:

  • Intentionally alters indicia of price or value of merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.
  • Intentionally takes and carries away merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.
  • Uses, or possess with intent to use, a theft detection shielding device to shield merchandise held fore resale by a merchant or property of merchant from being detected by an electronic or magnetic theft alarm sensor.
  • Intentionally transfers merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.
  • Intentionally conceals merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.
  • While anywhere in the merchant’s store, intentionally removes a theft detection device from merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.
  • Intentionally retains possession of merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.
  • Uses, or posses with intent to use, a theft detection device remover to remove a theft detection device from merchandise held for resale by a merchant or property of a merchant.

Didn’t leave the store?  You may still face criminal charges.

One of the most important things to know is that you may still be charged with retail theft even if you do not leave the store with the item. Under subsection (d), you have engaged in retail theft by simply concealing an item.  Placing items underneath an item of clothing is an example of how this frequently occurs.  We’ve also encountered individuals concealing items by how they stack other items within a shopping cart.  However, another way may include concealing an item in your cart with a coat or other item of clothing.

Another common form of this crime is altering the price of an item, covered by subsection (a) of the statute.  An individual goes into a store and switches price tags.  Obviously, upon attempting to purchase the item for the incorrect price, the defendant commits retail theft.


Theft of Services

Theft of services is governed by Wisconsin Statute 943.50(1r), which states:

(1r) Any person may be penalized if, having obtained a service from a service provider, he or she, without the service provider’s consent and with intent to deprive the service provider permanently of the fill price of the service, absconds and intentionally fails or refuses to pay for the service.

In plain language, theft of services means you received some type of service from someone and you fail to pay that person or company for the service you received. Example:  You hire a contractor to replace windows in your house.  The contractor replaces your windows.  You don’t pay the contractor for his work.  Unquestionably, this is an example of the charge.


Penalty classifications based upon value

Finally, theft charges in Wisconsin range from simple municipal violations and misdemeanors to serious felonies.

The deciding factor is the value of the property. If the value of the property does not exceed $2,500, the offense is a Class A Misdemeanor. If the value of the property exceeds $2,500 but not $5,000, the offense is a Class I Felony. When the value of the property exceeds $5,000 but not $10,000, the offense is a Class H Felony. If the value of the property exceeds $10,000 but not $100,000, the offense is a Class G Felony. Finally, if the value of the property exceeds $100,000, the offense is a Class F Felony.


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Penalty levels

For a Class A misdemeanor, the maximum possible penalty is 9 months incarceration.  With a Class I felony, the maximum possible penalty is 3 years and 6 months incarceration. For a Class H felony, the maximum possible penalty is 6 years incarceration. And a Class G felony, the maximum possible penalty is 10 years incarceration. Lastly, for a Class F felony, the maximum possible penalty is 12 years and 6 months incarceration.


Concealing property is retail theft in Wisconsin.

Call top Milwaukee criminal defense firm Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for a consultation

Significantly, contact a top Milwaukee criminal defense attorney if you are facing theft charges. The lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. dedicate themselves to assist you and obtain the best possible results. Lastly, to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers in Milwaukee, call our office at 414-270-0202.

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