What are Shoplifting Laws in Wisconsin
Many states in the United States consider shoplifting as a common theft criminal offense and Wisconsin is not an exception to that. The punishments can vary from felony charges to non-criminal tickets and is based on the stolen item's value. It is extremely crucial to get acquainted with laws that govern theft in the state of Wisconsin, as well as, laws that are specifically associated with shoplifting.
The law here can vary and in case a person is arrested for committing an offense of shoplifting, the accused requires experienced legal assistance to guide him/her through several regulations. In Wisconsin, shoplifting is a criminal offense with severe punishments such as prison time and a monetary fine. Apart from facing criminal punishments, a shoplifter in the state can be also prosecuted by the shop owner in a civil court for damage recovery.
Wisconsin laws for theft
In Wisconsin, shoplifting is known as retail theft. The state law considers the commission of retail theft when the accused had the intent to deprive a retail store owner of possessing items or the purchase cost, obtains, retains, transfers, or hides merchandise, changes price tags, possesses or uses a device to thwart or remove theft detection gadgets, or removes devices for theft detection..
Store owners who have ample reason to believe that an individual is shoplifting may detain him/her for a certain period of time for contacting the guardians or parents of a minor suspect, or for calling the police.
There are varying scenarios wherein a person can be slapped with charges of theft by the prosecutor, Intentionally obtaining another person's property for instance, without their approval, and with the purpose of depriving the store owner permanent possession of that property is a type of theft in Wisconsin. The Wisconson law also considers the act of using deceit or fraud to procure another person's property title also as a theft. Also, intentionally not returning the personal item left on the premises of the accused erroneously can be also considered theft in the state.
- In case the value of the stolen retail merchandise has a maximum value of 2,500 USD< the law considers the charge as a Class A misdemeanor. The guilty can be punished by a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and a maximum jail term of 9 months
- When the combined value of the stolen retail merchandise is over 2,500 USD and up to 5,000 USD, it is a Class I felony. The convicted is penalized by a maximum monetary fine of 10,000 USD and/or maximum jail time of 2.5 years.
- When the combined value of the stolen merchandise is over 5,000 USD and up to 10,000 USD, it is considered a Class H felony. The penalty for the convicted can be a maximum fine of 10,000 USD and/or maximum jail time of 6 years.
- When the combined value of the stolen retail merchandise is over 10,000 USD, the law considers it a Class G felony. The guilty have to pay a maximum fine of 25,000 USD< and/or maximum prison time of 10 years
Apart from the above fines and prison terms, the court may also direct the accused to pay restitution to the victim merchant.
Civil liability in Wisconsin
A merchant who is the victim of shoplifting in the state of Wisconsin may prosecute the shoplifter or the minor suspect's guardian or parent in civil court for the following actions:
- The stolen item's retail value unless the same is returned without any damage
- Other actual damages the shoplifter caused
- For awarding them exemplary damages that is equivalent to thrice the stolen item's retail value, and
- The action's cost including fees of the attorney