Theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the dollar value of the property. A misdemeanor theft charge has the following elements:
- The person charged intentionally took and carried away movable property (value not exceeding $2500) of another
- The person charged did not have the consent of the owner to take and carry away this property
- The person charged intended to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the property
A misdemeanor theft charge is a Class A misdemeanor. If the value of the property exceeds $2,500 but is less than $5,000 then the charge is upgraded to a Class I felony.
If the value of the property exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000 the charge becomes a Class H felony. If the property value exceeds $10,000 then the case is charged as a Class G felony.
A theft charge is prosecuted as a Class H felony if any of the following circumstances exist:
- The property is a domestic animal.
- The property is taken from a building which has been destroyed or left unoccupied because of physical disaster, riot, bombing or the proximity of battle.
- The property is taken after physical disaster, riot, bombing or the proximity of battle has necessitated its removal from a building.
- The property is a firearm.
- The property is taken from a patient or resident of a facility or program under s. 940.295 (2) or from an individual at risk.
Property taken from a corpse constitutes a Class G felony.
Unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information or documents is treated seriously and vigorously prosecuted in Wisconsin. The law defines personal identification document as follows:
- A document containing personal identifying information.
- An individual’s card or plate, if it can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value or benefit, or if it can be used to initiate a transfer of funds.
- Any other device that is unique to, assigned to, or belongs to an individual and that is intended to be used to access services, funds, or benefits of any kind to which the individual is entitled.
The following items are defined as personal identifying information:
- An individual’s name.
- An individual’s address.
- An individual’s telephone number.
- The unique identifying driver number assigned to the individual by the department of transportation under s. 343.17 (3) (a) 4.
- An individual’s social security number.
- An individual’s employer or place of employment.
- An identification number assigned to an individual by his or her employer.
- The maiden name of an individual’s mother.
- The identifying number of a depository account, as defined in s. 815.18 (2) (e), of an individual.
- An individual’s taxpayer identification number.
- An individual’s deoxyribonucleic acid profile, as defined in s. 939.74 (2d) (a).
- Any of the following, if it can be used, alone or in conjunction with any access device, to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value or benefit, or if it can be used to initiate a transfer of funds:
- An individual’s code or account number.
- An individual’s electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier.
- Any other means of account access.
- An individual’s unique biometric data, including fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or any other unique physical representation.
- Any other information or data that is unique to, assigned to, or belongs to an individual and that is intended to be used to access services, funds, or benefits of any kind to which the individual is entitled.
- Any other information that can be associated with a particular individual through one or more identifiers or other information or circumstances.
A person can be charged with a Class H felony if they try to intentionally use, attempts to use or possess with intent to use any personal identifying information or personal identification document of an individual, including a deceased individual, without the authorization or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, that he or she is acting with the authorization or consent of the individual, or that the information or document belongs to him in order to do any of the following:
- To obtain credit, money, goods, services, employment, or any other thing of value or benefit.
- To avoid civil or criminal process or penalty.
- To harm the reputation, property, person, or estate of the individual.
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