If you’ve been charged with theft in the state of Wisconsin, you have a lot to think about. With the help of your Milwaukee theft attorney, you can begin to sort out your next steps and determine where you go from here – but there are three things you need to know so you’re completely prepared for what comes next.
3 Things You Need to Know about Theft Charges in Wisconsin
Theft is a serious offense in Wisconsin, and it carries hefty penalties if a judge convicts you. Keep in mind:
- Prior convictions may affect your current
sentence. If you have any prior criminal convictions, a judge may be tougher on
you than he or she would if this was your first offense. Your lawyer will plan
a strategic defense to help you get the best possible outcome, but be prepared
for the judge to look at your past record.
- Wisconsin classifies theft offenses according to
the value of the property or service stolen. The law also allows for the courts
to consider the type of property involved, and you could be facing a
misdemeanor or a felony. Each carries different penalties, but either can
result in fines, incarceration or both.
- You may be facing a civil suit. You could be civilly liable to the property owner for the retail value of the property unless it’s returned undamaged. Additionally, if you caused damage during the theft, you could be held responsible for paying for that damage. You could even be responsible for paying the property owner’s court costs.
Your attorney isn’t going to let you face this process alone, but it’s essential that you ask questions when you have them. Your lawyer’s job is to explain everything to you and help you understand the possible consequences of a conviction, as well as to build a solid defense strategy that gets you the best possible outcome, so make sure you’re taking advantage of his or her experience and knowledge.