Under Wisconsin law, crimes against property such as criminal damage and arson are less serious than crimes against people in most instances. However, this does not mean that criminal damage charges should be taken lightly. These are criminal charges that can land you in prison and put a permanent mark on your record.
Whether the damage was an accident or something you planned but now regret, we can help. I have handled many criminal damage cases before in the Wisconsin criminal courts. I want to help you with yours.
If you are facing charges like criminal damage to property or arson, you are likely frightened at the prospect of serving prison time or having large fines. I understand your apprehension and know that it is completely normal. I also know that putting your confidence in a qualified attorney can ease some of that stress and worry.
Criminal Damage – Laws & Penalties
Criminal damage to property is defined by Wisconsin statutes as intentionally causing damage to any physical property of another without their consent. The charge you face depends on the property that was damaged.
In most circumstances, criminal damage is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 9 months in jail and fines reaching $10,000.
In some situations, criminal damage can be considered a Class I felony. Those situations include:
- Loss of property over $2,500
- Damage was done to a highway or road making physical injury is likely
- Damage was done to a public utility with the intention of disruption
Felony criminal damage is punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Ref. Wisconsin Statute 943.01
Graffiti – Laws & Penalties
Graffiti is defined by Wisconsin criminal statutes as intentionally marking, drawing, or writing with paint, ink or etching into the physical property of another person without their consent. Similar to criminal damage, graffiti is generally a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 9 months in jail and fines reaching $10,000.
Also similar to criminal damage, there are certain situations which elevate the charge to a Class I felony. Those include:
- Damage to property valued over $2,500
- Damage to a highway or roadway that may cause injury or further physical damage
- Damage is done to a public utility in a manner that may cause disruption of services
Felony graffiti is punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison and fine sup to $10,000.
Ref: Wisconsin Statute 943.017
Wisconsin Arson – Laws & Penalties
There are a few different distinctions made by Wisconsin statutes when referring to arson. The two major statutes are “arson of buildings” and “arson of property other than a building”. How you are charged, obviously depends on the property involved in the arson.
Arson of property other than a building
If you are accused of intentionally damaging another’s property by fire, without their consent, you may be charged with this Class I felony. This felony is punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.
Ref: Wisconsin Sttaute 943.03
Arson of a Building
If the property burned in the commission of the crime is a building, then you will face this more serious charge. Arson of a building is a Class C felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
This Class C felony charge also applies to damage to property by explosion.
Ref: Wisconsin Statute 943.02
Free Consultation on Wisconsin Property Damage Laws, Penalties, & Defenses
Facing charges as serious as these requies you have an incredibly skilled attorney. When you are unsure of what to do next, a good attorney is always there to guide you and give you unparalleled counsel. I can be that partner on your case. Call me to discuss your case today.