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Property Crimes

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Charged With Property Crimes in Wisconsin?

Most property crimes fall into one of three categories: crimes that damage someone’s property, crimes involving the theft of someone else’s property, or crimes committed to defraud another person (or people) for financial gain.

Property crimes can affect your life even more than a violent crime can. You might do less jail time for a burglary than you would for a murder, but that doesn’t mean your life will be easy. Many employers would rather hire a reformed ex-murderer than a thief. The reasoning is simple: a murderer often kills for specific and often personal reasons, and typically is less likely to attack an employer. A thief is likely to be tempted again, perhaps only by proximity to money or property, and no employer wants to lose money or property.

A property-crime conviction can follow you long after you serve your time.

Read on to learn more about specific types of property crime cases we handle, or contact our law offices today for a free case evaluation.

Criminal Damage

A Criminal Damage charge may apply to several different circumstances. For example, it could characterize an act of vandalism, or of damaging marital property during a domestic dispute. Even threatening to damage property may still in a Criminal Damage charge.

Either way, the prosecution must prove the damage was intentional and malicious. If that is done, the crime may be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. 


It doesn’t matter whether the building was occupied. It doesn’t matter why you wanted to burn it down. If you are convicted of arson you may face up to 40 years in prison. You may also face a $100,000 fine.

If you set something other than a building on fire you’ve still committed a property crime, and though any arson is still a felony, the former carries a lighter sentence. 


Theft is a broad category covering any attempt to take control of property that doesn’t belong to you. It could also cover misusing property that was entrusted to you, or failure to pay for a service.

If the value of the theft was less than $2,500 it is treated as a misdemeanor in Wisconsin. If the value is greater than $2,500 the theft is treated as a felony. 

Burglary & Robbery

Those two terms often are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Burglary is the crime of entering an unoccupied building with the intent to commit a theft. Robbery is the act of entering an occupied building with the intent to commit a theft. Robbery is a far more serious charge, especially if you were armed at the time of the robbery, or if the victim(s) had reason to believe you were armed.  Robbery is considered more serious mainly because the probability of violence is higher.


Forgery is a kind of fraud. Usually the forged document bestows some sort of financial benefit. It may also be used to create a false identity, or to steal an existing one. For forgery to be a crime, the document must be legally significant and forged with intent to defraud.

Forgery can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on what was forged. Forging a membership card, travel ticket, or manufacturing mark would be a misdemeanor.  Forging any kind of official or legal document is a felony.

Issuing a Worthless Check

Though accidentally bouncing a single check is unlikely to get you convicted of check fraud, intentionally writing a check from a closed account or from an account that doesn’t have enough money in it can result in a conviction. In addition, being accused of writing stolen or forged checks is a serious matter that may lead to a felony charge.

Worthless-check cases can become complex quickly, and often result in multiple additional charges of other crimes.

You need experienced help.

Proving a lack of intent often is the key to defending property-crime cases. But to do that you need an experienced attorney who can make the most of the facts.

Don’t leave your fate up to chance. If you’ve been accused of a property crime, contact our law offices for a free evaluation today.

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