Criminal damage to property is a serious crime in Milwaukee and elsewhere in Wisconsin – and for most people, it makes sense to work with an attorney.
What is Criminal Damage to Property?
Criminal damage to property is an intentional act that involves damaging someone else’s belongings without their consent. It’s not an accident, which means that in order for charges like these to stick, the prosecutor must show that you caused the damage on purpose. If you trip and try to catch yourself on an expensive statue, and the statue falls and breaks, it was an accident and you can’t be convicted of criminal damage to property. However, if you pretend to trip so you can knock down the statue and break it, that’s another story.
The key in criminal damage to property charges is that you intended to damage someone else’s property without his or her consent.
Penalties for a Criminal Damage to Property Conviction
Wisconsin law says that if you’re guilty of criminal damage to property, you’ve committed a Class A misdemeanor or a Class I felony. Typically, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 9 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. However, if the crime involved the loss of property valued at more than $2,500, or if it involves a highway or road and could lead to someone being physically injured, it’s a Class I felony. It’s also a Class I felony to damage or threaten to damage a judge’s property, as well as in some other circumstances.
What if You’re Accused of Criminal Damage to Property?
If you’ve been arrested for criminal damage to property, don’t admit anything to police when they ask you questions. Instead, politely tell investigators that you’d like to speak with an attorney before you go any further. Contact us for a free initial consultation.