Burglary is a serious crime, so whether you’re arrested in Milwaukee, Waukesha or any other city, you may want to talk to an attorney about Wisconsin burglary sentences. It’s a Class F felony, which means it’s punishable by up to 12 years and 6 months imprisonment – and a judge can also sentence you to pay fines of up to $25,000. Sometimes it’s a Class E felony, too; in cases like those, you could be imprisoned for up to 15 years and fined up to $50,000.
Here’s what you need to know.
Wisconsin Burglary Sentences
It’s a crime to enter someone else’s property without his or her permission. At the very least, it’s considered trespassing (a misdemeanor) – but it could be burglary, which is a Class F felony. The court can find you guilty of burglary if you enter someone else’s property with the intention of committing a crime (other than simply entering the property).
You commit the crime of burglary when you enter someone else’s property without permission – and when you intend to commit theft or any felony inside. The property can be:
- Any building
- An enclosed railroad car or ship
- A locked and enclosed cargo hold of a truck or trailer
- A motor home or trailer
Proving Intent in Burglary
The possible sentences for burglary in Wisconsin are serious enough to include prison time, but in order for a judge to convict you, the prosecutor has to show that you had the intent to commit theft or a felony inside the property you entered (otherwise it’s really just trespassing). If you admitted that you were in the property to steal money or other valuables, it’s easier to prove intent – but sometimes prosecutors can show there was intent even without a confession. For example, if you gained entry into someone’s home by saying you were a repairman, attempted to steal jewelry and left it all in disarray before you left the house, you could be convicted of burglary (even if you didn’t actually take any jewelry).
Related: Breaking and entering in Wisconsin
What Makes a Burglary a Class E Felony?
Burglary becomes a Class E felony when:
- You were armed or became armed during the burglary
- You opened or tried to open a safe or vault with explosives
- You committed battery against someone inside the property
- The crime occurred at a place where someone lives, like a house, a motor home or trailer, or a boat that has sleeping quarters, and someone was present at the time
Can You Avoid Going to Prison for Burglary in Wisconsin?
No two cases are exactly alike – in fact, when it comes to burglary, legal cases can be vastly different. Many people choose to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you’ve been accused of a crime in Milwaukee, Waukesha or any other jurisdiction in Wisconsin, we may be able to help you get the best possible outcome. Call us at 414-383-6700 today for your free consultation.