Theft Lawyer & Larceny Defense Attorney

Theft is the most prevalent property crime in Wisconsin, with approximately 57,000 statewide offenses annually.[1] A conviction can lead to severe penalties, such as substantial fines and incarceration. As a result, if you’ve been charged with theft, it will be in your best interests to retain an experienced Madison theft lawyer as soon as possible.

With over two decades of legal experience, I can help.  I have seen firsthand how wrongful theft charges can affect individuals and their families.

I offer a Free Consultation so that those charged with theft or other criminal offenses can learn how I can help.  I also offer affordable, fixed fees so that clients will know how much their case will cost, and I accept credit card payments.

I additionally have a proven track record in helping clients in their defense against criminal charges.

If you or a loved one was charged with theft, I invite you to call my office to schedule a consultation to learn more about how I tenaciously fight to protect my clients’ interests. I also encourage you to read the article below that answers frequently-asked questions about theft charges in Wisconsin, and how I zealously seek dismissal and reduced charges and penalties, as well as not guilty verdicts if a case goes to trial.

Avena Law Office proudly serves residents of Madison and the surrounding communities, including Maple Bluff, Burke, Waunakee, Ashton, Middleton, Five Points, Fitchburg, Verona, McFarland, Cottage Grove, Monona, and Oregon.

How Is Theft Defined Under Wisconsin Law?

Theft is defined under Wisconsin Statutes section 943.20 as the intentional taking of another person’s property without consent and with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of its use or possession. It is important to understand that theft can encompass a wide range of situations, from shoplifting to stealing a vehicle. As an experienced Madison theft lawyer, I have represented clients in numerous cases involving various forms of theft, and I can help you understand the specific charges you are facing.

What Types of Theft Cases Does Avena Law Office Handle?

As an experienced Wisconsin theft lawyer, I handle a wide range of theft cases, including those involving:

  • Burglary. Burglary involves the perpetrator unlawfully breaking into another’s home or property to commit a crime.
  • Robbery. Robbery occurs when a theft is committed using weapons, force, or threat of force. It does not require unlawful breaking and entering.
  • Extortion. Similar to robbery, extortion involves the acquisition of money, services, or property through force, threats, or intimidation. The threat can be immediate or for a future time.
  • Larceny. Larceny entails the taking and removal of property with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it.
  • Embezzlement. Often labeled as a “white collar crime,” embezzlement typically occurs when someone authorized to handle, preserve, or protect property takes it for personal use. Examples include a bank employee “skimming” money from an account or overcharging customers and keeping the difference.
  • False Pretenses. This type of theft happens when a person obtains goods/services through false representation with the intention to defraud another.
  • Lost or Mislaid Property. Keeping property that you know has been lost or misplaced is considered theft, unless the owner permanently abandoned it. Wisconsin law requires you to take action to return it.

What Are the Penalties For a Theft Conviction in Wisconsin?

The penalties for a theft conviction in Wisconsin vary depending on the value of the property stolen and the circumstances surrounding the crime. The penalties are as follows:

  • Property value less than $2,500: A Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Property value between $2,500 and $5,000: A Class I felony, punishable by up to 3 years and six months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Property value between $5,000 and $10,000: A Class H felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Property value between $10,000 and $100,000: A Class G felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Property value over $100,000: A Class F felony, punishable by up to 12 years and six months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

The penalties for theft convictions in Wisconsin can be severe, which is why it is essential to work with an experienced Madison theft lawyer to help protect your rights.

What Are Potential Defenses to Theft Charges in Wisconsin?

There are several possible defenses to theft charges in Wisconsin. As an experienced Madison theft defense attorney, I can help identify the best strategy for your specific case. Some common defenses include:

  • Claim of right. You believed that you had a legal right to the property in question.
  • Consent. The owner of the property gave you permission to take it.
  • Mistake. You took the property by mistake, believing it was yours or that you had permission to take it.
  • Intoxication. You were involuntarily intoxicated and did not have the mental capacity to form the intent to steal.
  • Duress. You were threatened or coerced into committing the theft.

How Can I Help Protect Your Rights if You Are Charged with Theft?

I can review the evidence against you, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and work to negotiate a plea deal or dismissal of charges, if this is the course of action desired.  I will also work to defend you vigorously if your case goes to trial.

I understand that facing theft charges can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, which is why I provide compassionate and personalized representation to all my clients.  I provide affordable, fixed fee representation, and also accept credit card payments.  I am also fluent in Spanish.

If you are facing theft charges in Wisconsin, do not hesitate to reach out to my firm to schedule a consultation. During the consultation, we can discuss your case, your options, and how I can help you navigate the legal system.

[1] UCR Offense Data, Wisconsin Department of Justice,