Category: Criminal Law

Have you ever wondered what exactly constitutes a property crime? Many criminal offenses fall under this category, from theft and burglary to arson and vandalism. Understanding these crimes’ legal definitions, penalties, and consequences can be crucial in understanding your rights.

Types of Property Crimes in Wisconsin

Many view property crimes as lesser criminal charges with minimum consequences. Some view them as a joke or prank and something easy to get away with. Wisconsin is actually ranked as one of the lowest states for property crimes, with an estimated 1,500 out of 100,000 people affected. Even so, if found guilty of a property crime, the consequences can range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge.


Arson is the willful, intentional, and malicious destruction of property by fire and is a Class C Felony in Wisconsin. It also includes placing explosives in or near another person’s property. The penalties for arson can be very severe and may incur a prison sentence of up to 40 years and a fine of up to $100,000.


Burglary is the unlawful entry into a structure intending to commit a crime, for example, breaking into a home to steal something. It could also apply to mobile homes, boats, train cars, or other commercial buildings. In Wisconsin, The penalties for burglary depend on several factors. For example, were you armed when you entered the structure? Was anyone home? Did you commit battery? While all of these add to the severity of a Burglary charge, it is always a serious crime. If you are found guilty of burglarizing a home or business, it will likely be a felony.

Theft/Motor Vehicle Theft

Larceny, or theft, is one of the most common property crimes. It involves taking another person’s property without their permission and intending to deprive them of its use permanently. This includes shoplifting, pickpocketing, and embezzlement. The penalties for theft in Wisconsin can range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge.

Motor vehicle theft can be more severe and occurs when the defendant intends to permanently take and use a car without the owner’s consent. State law also says that unless the car is worth less than $2,500, theft of the vehicle is considered a felony.


Shoplifting is a property crime where someone takes merchandise from a store without paying for it. Shoplifting is a crime in all 50 states and can be punishable by fines, jail time, or both. The penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the merchandise taken and even the offender’s criminal history. It can be either a misdemeanor or a felony in Wisconsin.


Vandalism is defined as intentionally damaging someone else’s property. This can mean anything from spray painting graffiti on a wall to smashing a window. The penalties for vandalism depend on the monetary amount of damages incurred. If it was less than $2,500, it was a misdemeanor, and if it was more, it was a felony.

No matter what property crime you are charged with, there are levels of severity. It is wise to contact an attorney with experience in property crimes to defend your case and answer any questions you may have before facing the prosecution.

Cases are being pushed months, even years, behind due to the public defender shortage in Wisconsin. Experts say it will take years to overcome the pileup of cases within the Wisconsin courts.

Why is This Happening?

Public defender pay has remained unchanged for many years, although the amount of work demanded from them has only increased. According to data provided by Wisconsin’s public defender’s office, the number of cases sitting on the desks of public defenders was 32,000 before the pandemic and is now 64,000 as of May this year. SPD spokesperson Wilson Medina states, “This is unsustainable and can potentially jeopardize the constitutional rights of our clients throughout the state.” In addition, the pandemic caused many counties to put jury trials on hold due to public health and safety concerns. Many prosecutors, judges, and attorneys feared the upcoming pileup we are now experiencing.

The Struggles of The Defendants

The defendants are not unharmed by the backlog. Some of them are in jail for months while waiting for their case. Others are losing residences and jobs. The issue is larger than it seems.

How Will This Be Fixed?

Since public defender pay remains too low for people to desire to work in this field, the first step to solving this dilemma is to increase funding for public defenders. This would encourage more young lawyers to become public defenders rather than working for a private firm. Since public defenders are so overbooked, it is hard to find enough of them who are qualified for the more complex cases such as shootings, homicides, or reckless driving. A change must occur. With the current status of the pileup in cases, it could take the court system years to get through the cases they already have.

One way to avoid becoming a victim of the backlog is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney of your own. The protection of your rights, reputation, and future is too important to be delayed.

Have you heard about this program? It’s probably bad news if you have, since the goal of The Wisconsin Enhances Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP) is to identify potential drug crimes and apprehend those accused of committing them.

How Does It Work?

The ePDMP provides the state with valuable information regarding monitored prescription drugs dispensed by Wisconsin and aids healthcare workers in their prescribing and dispensing decisions. In addition, the ePDMP allows pharmacies, healthcare workers, law enforcement, and public health officials to work together, attempting to reduce the misuse, abuse, and diversion of monitored prescription drugs.

The ePDMP receives alerts based on numerous things such as early refills, long-term Opioid therapy, and high Opioid daily use. For example, in June 2022, about 20,000 individuals received an early refill. This is a cause for immediate concern for those individuals. In the same month, about 12,000 individuals were on long-term Opioid therapy. These numbers are the lowest they have been since January of 2022. Delegates and Prescribers make most of the patient queries each month. With this information, the WI ePDMP can monitor any patients who meet the criteria to be considered as concerning.

Mistakes Will Be Made

Unfortunately, human beings make mistakes and law enforcement officers are no exception. An increased focus on prescription drug monitoring will result in increased scrutiny on legal prescription drug users and result in faulty criminal charges. It is crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney
protecting your rights and making sure your side of the story is told if you find yourself on the wrong side of prescription drug charges.

A civil offense is an illegal action that is targeted towards a specific person or corporation. An example of this type of case would be workplace discrimination. A criminal offense deals with an illegal action that affects society in it’s entirety. An example of this type of case would be a misdemeanor or felony offense such as OWI or homicide. If you face criminal accusations or charges, please contact our firm at 920-733-1100 to set up a free consultation.

Civil Case vs. Criminal Case: What’s the Difference?


Any legal matter can bring about an unprecedented amount of stress. Criminal charges, however, are often the toughest for individuals to face. If you have ever been pulled over by a police officer while on the road, or even arrested after the fact, you must have felt a pit in your stomach, as you wondered what would become of this moment. An incident that often lands drivers in this situation is the decision to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. More commonly known as a DUI, this scenario can also be described as an OWI, or operating while intoxicated. If you are facing your first DUI in Wisconsin, the matter should not be taken lightly. 

What can lead to a first offense DUI in Wisconsin?

OWI charges generally start by being flagged for reckless driving, swerving between lanes, running red lights, causing a wreck, or other modes of erratic driving that would alert an officer that something is amiss. Field sobriety testing is important. After a breath test or blood test, a determination of your blood alcohol content will be made. When facing OWI convictions, jail time is usually on the table, in addition to the possibility of a notice of intent of license suspension as outlined under Wisconsin law regarding a first offense OWI in Wisconsin, or even halting your ability to apply for an occupational license. A penalty for a first DUI in Wisconsin can vary though. With a first offense OWI in Wisconsin comes many charges and penalties. Offenders are charged a $150-$300 fine, as well as a $435 OWI surcharge fee. Penalties consist of the revocation of driver’s license for 6-9 months or more, or a 24/7 sobriety program with a duration of one year. Another preventative measure taken could be to install an ignition interlock — a device that prevents a driver from starting their car until a breathalyzer is passed. With a;; that being said, this offense in Wisconsin is a serious one. Follow the link to learn more:

Our Attorneys Understand First Offense DUIs.

Facing your first OWI in Wisconsin does not have to be the end of your story. If you are looking for an experienced OWI attorney in Appleton Wi continue on to read more about our work. With years of experience and a reputation that precedes us, we have successfully assisted many clients just like you have their first offense DUI in Wisconsin be reduced or dismissed as a whole. We know that this time may be scary, but you do not have to go through it alone. At our firm, we truly stand on the principle that knowledge is power, and want to ensure that our clients feel as confident as we do progressing throughout their case. From your initial consultation throughout the process, we will be by your side.

We recently shared an interesting nugget about the prevalence of wrongful convictions in our criminal justice system. As we said then, when mistakes occur in the criminal justice system, we all have an obligation to learn from them and ensure people’s rights are protected.

Unfortunately, the post-mortem blame game on wrongful convictions does nothing in the short term to insulate you against flaws in the justice system.

Are penalties too severe? Yes, for the most part.

Do we incarcerate far too much of our population? Yes.

Do prosecutors, juries, and judges make mistakes? Yes.

Will addressing those issues and reforming the system help you if you are already facing criminal charges? No. You can do only one thing now to protect your rights and lessen the chance of being wrongfully convicted of a crime you did not commit.

Regardless of the work that is yet to happen on criminal justice reform, your best bet is to make sure you have an experienced, knowledgeable, and resourceful defense attorney looking out for your interests. You have too much on the line to leave your defense in the hands of someone who only dabbles in criminal defense or has yet to take part in a criminal trial.

A proven defense attorney can identify potential issues with jury selection, discovery, and trial procedure and limit your exposure to a wrongful conviction. In some cases, early intervention can result in criminal charges not being pursued or dismissed due to a lack of admissible evidence.

The Bottom Line

Our system is not perfect, and there is much work to be done, but it is all we have right now. Therefore, it is essential to have an attorney on your side who knows how to navigate the system as it exists today to limit your exposure to a criminal conviction and penalties.



Your attorney's experience can make all the difference when your future is on the line. Learn how attorney Jeffrey Kippa can help you move forward.

Call 920-733-1100