Misdemeanor and Felony Retail Theft Charges in Wisconsin
Under Wis. Stat. § 943.50 theft from a merchant, or retail store, is a crime in Wisconsin. I know that is not a surprise. This is a property crime and much like a theft from an individual, stealing something from a store will lead to trouble. This is commonly known as shoplifting and may not seem like a serious crime. However, unlike theft from an individual, the threshold for a felony shoplifting offense is very low. For example, a felony theft charge can be brought if the value of the stolen items exceed $2,500. A felony Retail Theft charge on the other hand can be brought if the value of the items are $500 or over.
What the State must Prove to Convict on a Retail Theft Charge
Shoplifting in Wisconsin is not just sticking merchandise in your pocket and leaving the store. It also includes altering or swapping the price tag to change the price of an item. The state must prove six elements beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury can convict. Those elements are as follows:
- The defendant intentionally did any of the following: altered the indicated price, altered the value of, took and carried away, transferred, concealed, or retained possession of merchandise.
- The merchandise was held for resale by a merchant.
- The defendant knew that the property involved was merchandise held out for resale by a merchant.
- The merchant did not consent.
- The defendant knew that the merchant did not consent.
- The defendant intended to deprive the merchant permanently of possession or any portion of the purchase price of the merchandise.
Madison, WI Retail Theft Attorneys
If you have been arrested for retail theft in Wisconsin you need representation. Our Madison, WI retail theft attorneys can help fight your charges and mitigate any potential penalties. We understand the law and what potential defenses may be available. Contact us for a free case evaluation.
Misdemeanor Retail Theft Charge
A misdemeanor retail theft can be charged if the value of the merchandise does not exceed $500. There is no minimum amount or value to make it a misdemeanor. More times than not, a minimal value item will likely be charged as a forfeiture. However, any amount can be charged criminally. A misdemeanor retail theft charge is a Class A misdemeanor.
Felony Retail Theft Charges
A Wisconsin retail theft charge can be classified as a felony depending on the amount of the item or items taken or value lost on the merchandise. If the value of the merchandise is over $500 but less than $5,000 the retail theft charge is a Class I felony. It is a Class H felony if the value exceeds $5,000 but is less than $10,000. Finally, if the value of the merchandise exceeds $10,000 it is a Class G felony.
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