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Theft vs. Robbery: Understanding the Consequences

Wisconsin law views theft and robbery very differently, even though many people use the terms interchangeably. The distinction plays a vital role in how the court considers a crime and the potential penalties that accompany it. If you face robbery charges, it is critical that you understand the ramifications of a conviction.

When one person purposely takes possession of another person’s property without consent, it is a theft crime. According to the Wisconsin State Legislature, robbery includes theft with use or threat of force.

Penalties for Theft

The consequences of a conviction on theft charges vary based on the value of the property taken. It is a Class A misdemeanor if the value is not more than $2,500. The penalty may include up to $10,000 in fines and nine months in jail. If the value is more than $2,500, you might face felony charges. A conviction means up to 12 years in prison and fines between $10,000 and 25,000.

Penalties for Robbery

Theft often occurs when the owner is not present. However, a robbery occurs when a person removes property directly from or while in the owner’s presence, using force or the threat of force. Robbery is a Class E felony. You may receive a prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines up to $50,000. If the crime involved a weapon, it becomes a Class C felony. A conviction might result in up to 14 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Understanding your options and potential defenses can help you determine the best steps after an arrest.