In the state of Wisconsin, driving off without paying for your gasoline is a crime of theft. Often, police catch people after gas drive-offs because many gas stations across the state have security cameras in place. But what will happen to you if you steal gas in Wisconsin? This guide explains.
What’s the Penalty for Stealing Gas in Wisconsin?
Whether you drive off at the pump, siphon gas from another person’s tank or otherwise steal it, you can be charged with a crime in Wisconsin. The law is very specific about gas theft, too. It says:
“The failure or refusal to pay a service station, garage, or other place where gasoline or diesel fuel is sold at retail or offered for sale at retail the established charge for gasoline or diesel fuel provided by the service station, garage, or other place constitutes prima facie evidence of an intent to abscond without payment.”
In the case of driving off at the pump or otherwise stealing gas is considered a Class A misdemeanor – unless you managed to get away with more than $2,500 in gasoline. In that case, it’s a Class I felony. Most people face Class A misdemeanor charges for this crime.
A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious of all misdemeanors. If a judge convicts you, you’re facing up to nine months in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
Can You Be Charged for Attempting to Steal Gas?
If you attempt to steal gas but don’t succeed, you could still face criminal penalties. In fact, in Wisconsin, the penalty for an attempted crime is half the penalty for a completed crime.
Related: Misdemeanor truancy in Wisconsin
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Gas Theft?
if you were caught stealing gasoline, we may be able to help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Though there’s never any way to predict how a judge will rule, you may find it beneficial to work with a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation with a skilled and knowledgeable professional who may be able to give you the guidance you need.