Under Wisconsin law, theft is a property crime. A theft occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly takes and carries away the property of another without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that property.
Proving Wisconsin Theft Crime
An Intent To Steal
The crime of theft requires that the person taking the property must have intended to take it. The classic example involves a restaurant scene where two men are dining on a rainy night. They own identical umbrellas, which they place in the umbrella stand upon their separate arrivals. When the first man leaves, he accidentally takes the other man's umbrella. Was it a theft? No, because the quick-eater made an honest mistake when he accidentally took the other man's umbrella.
However, if the man ate quickly so as to be able to take the other man's umbrella (perhaps because his own had a hole in it), then it is a theft. Under Wisconsin law, the thief must possess the requisite mental object - the mental intent and purpose - to commit a theft.
The Act of Taking & Carrying Away Property
Typically, a theft crime involves the movement of property from one location to another (such as from Madison to Fitchburg or Eau Claire Wisconsin), or from one building to another building; however, theft, by definition, can occur even if the movement is slight, so long as the intent was to convert the property from its owner to the thief.
Property is defined by Wisconsin law as any item of personal, commercial, or industrial ownership including items such as jewelry or clothing, real property such as a home, intellectual property such as trade secrets, ideas or concepts, services such as cellular telephone services, and institutional property such as library books and materials.
Property can also mean money, but money creates different sets of circumstances. If the serial numbers of the money in question have been recorded, then the exact dollar bills can be identified, otherwise they cannot. Money is then property to a person who is able to prove that it is uniquely their dollars. One exception to the serial number rule would be collector's coins. If a coin is so rare that few exist, the potential to define it as unique property also exists.
Knowingly Lacking Consent - Taking Without Permission
Under Wisconsin law, to prove a theft, the prosecution must prove that there was no consent given by the property owner or the person in rightful possession of the property for the thief to take the property. And the thief must have known that she did not have the property owner's consent to take the property.
Permanent Removal of Property
Wisconsin law provides that not only must it have been the thief's intent and purpose to take the property, but he also must have intended that the owner of the property never get that property back.
Ownership or Possession
The crime of theft under Wisconsin law requires that the property must have been in the possession of another. (If the property is already in the possession of the person seeking to convert it into their own personal property, then the theft may actually be an embezzlement - theft by fraud). The law does not state that the one in possession of the property before it was taken must have had a right to possess that property, and the question of ownership and possession has been raised in many trials.
Shoplifting is the intentional taking and carrying away of property that belongs to the store without having paid for it or having obtained permission to remove it and with the intent to permanently deprive the store of that property (keep it). Shoplifting is an "intent" crime, so if a person accidentally takes property from a store, it is not a theft. However, borrowing property from a store without permission to borrow it can be a theft and charged as shoplifting. Just for the record, taking shopping carts from a store is a crime.
Conspiracy to commit theft
A theft occurring by one or more persons when one or more persons are aware that the theft either will or is highly likely to occur constitutes two crimes: theft and conspiracy. Any act towards the commission of the theft can be charged as a conspiracy to commit a crime, which is a separate offense that does not merge with the object crime (theft).
Abandoned Attempted Theft
Whether a person is in the midst of an act that intends to commit a theft crime, or attempts an act that fails to achieve the theft of property, the crime of theft can still be charged. That is so because theft is an "intent" crime; it requires only that an intent existed to commit the crime, not that the crime was successfully committed. However, there are many defenses that can be raised to the issue of an attempted theft, as well as a completed theft, and each of them depend on the circumstances of the individual case. You should consult with your attorney about your case to determine how to move forward with your defense.
Wisconsin Theft Conviction Penalties
Under Wisconsin statutory law, theft is a crime. Whether a theft is prosecutable and punishable as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on the value of the stolen property, from whom the property was taken, and the nature of the stolen property.
Generally, theft can be charged in the manners below, however, additional penalties apply if the stolen property was a firearm, if multiple financial crimes were committed,
or if the victim was an elderly person or had other mental incapacity.
If the value of the property does not exceed $2,500, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
If the value of the property exceeds $2,500 but does not exceed $5,000, is guilty of a Class I felony.
If the value of the property exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000, is guilty of a Class H felony.
If the value of the property exceeds $10,000, is guilty of a Class G felony.
If any of the following circumstances exists, is guilty of a Class H felony:
1. The property is a domestic animal.
2. The property is taken from a building which has been destroyed or left unoccupied because of physical disaster, riot, bombing or the proximity of battle.
3. The property is taken after physical disaster, riot, bombing or the proximity of battle has necessitated its removal from a building.
4. The property is a firearm.
5. The property is taken from a patient or resident of a facility or program under s. 940.295 (2) or from an individual at risk. If the property is taken from the person of another or from a corpse, is guilty of a Class G felony. Theft Convictions Wisconsin law provides that each element of the crime of theft must be proven for a conviction. To be convicted on a theft charge, the prosecuting attorney must prove that it was the thief's intent to take the property. Property accidentally taken is not stolen. It may seem as though it would be difficult for the prosecuting attorney to prove that the alleged thief actually had intent to steal, but juries in criminal trials and judges in bench trials render incorrect verdicts every day. And when they do, people are fined, sentenced to prison or jail, or both fined and jailed. Not Guilty Verdict In Criminal Theft Trials Attorney Tracey Wood represent people throughout Wisconsin who have been accused of property crimes including the crime of theft. Tracey Wood & Associates's attorneys have won many outright acquittals (not guilty verdicts) for their clients, such as the acquittal won by Attorney Tracey Wood for her client who was federally charged with conversion (theft) and conspiracy in the largest military theft case known. Distinguishing Property Crimes Wisconsin law distinguishes crimes against property from crimes against a person or the government. Theft is a crime against property. Robbery, which is theft by the use or threat of use of violence or force, is also a property crime, even though it necessarily involves a person. Theft includes simple larceny; larceny is the taking and carrying away of property of another without permission or the owner's knowledge and with intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. Other property crimes under Wisconsin law include criminal damage to property (called vandalism), arson, molotov cocktails, burglary, possession of burglaries tools, criminal trespass, identity theft, forgery, criminal slander, shoplifting (which is a simple larceny called retail theft), computer crimes, infecting animals with contagious disease, stealing farm-raised fish, embezzlement, fraud, bribery, robbery, extortion, mail fraud, wire fraud, innkeeper fraud, restaurant fraud, gas station fraud, hotel fraud, and receipt of stolen property. [See also comparing theft crime]. Theft Lesser Included Crime To Robbery Theft is a lesser included offense to robbery. A robbery is a theft by the use or threat of force. Free but professional "first-impression" analysis If you are under investigation or have been arrested for any crime, or if you have already been convicted of a crime and believe your conviction to be wrong or your sentence too harsh, please call (608) 350-1004 or email the Attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates right away. An Attorney at Tracey Wood & Associates will provide you with a brief but professional free "first-impression" analysis of your appeal based on the facts that you are able to convey. You can also submit your case online or email the attorneys.
OWI DUI Attorney Tracey Wood commonly works in the following Counties: Adams, Ashland,Barron,Bayfield,Brown,Buffalo,Burnett,Calumet,Chippewa,Clark,Columbia,Crawford,Dane,Dodge,Door,Douglas,Dunn,Eau Claire,Florence,Fond du Lac,Forest, Grant,Green,Green Lake,Iowa,Iron,Jackson,Jefferson,Juneau,Kenosha,Kewaunee,La Crosse,Lafayette,Langlade,Lincoln,Manitowoc,Marathon,Marinette,Marquette,Menominee, Milwaukee,Monroe,Oconto,Oneida,Outagamie,Ozaukee,Pepin,Pierce,Polk,Portage,Price,Racine,Richland,Rock,Rusk,Sauk,Sawyer,Shawano,Sheboygan,St. Croix,Taylor,Trempealeau, Vernon,Vilas,Walworth,Washburn,Washington,Waukesha,Waupaca,Waushara,Winnebago,Wood
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