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What can push theft into a felony offense in Wisconsin?

There are many different kinds of allegations that could lead to a person having theft charges brought against them here in Wisconsin, as many different types of behaviors constitute theft under state law. So, theft cases can involve a very diverse range of circumstances. Having a defense strategy appropriate for the particular circumstances of their case can be critical for a person facing theft allegations. This is among the reasons why what a person accused of theft decides to do when it comes to defense representation can be so impactful. 

Theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony offense here in Wisconsin, depending on the circumstances. Things that impact whether a given theft is a misdemeanor or a felony under state law include:

  • How much property was stolen. Thefts exceeding $2,500 in value are felonies.
  • What type of property was stolen. Stealing certain types of property, such as domestic animals or guns, is a felony regardless of the value of the property.
  • Where the property was stolen from. It is a felony to steal property, from a corpse, directly from an individual's person or from or around certain unoccupied or destroyed buildings.
  • Who the property was stolen from. Stealing from "individuals at risk" or residents/patients of care facilities is generally a felony.

As a note, not all felony theft charges in Wisconsin are of the same felony class. So, the above-mentioned factors can also play a significant role in what exact type of felony charge and potential consequences a person accused of felony-level theft is facing.

This discussion underscores how big of an impact the specifics regarding the allegations in a theft crime case can have in the case.

Source: Wisconsin State Legislature, "Wisconsin Statutes - 943.20 - Theft," Accessed June 29, 2016

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