Question: What are the penalties for vandalism in Wisconsin? Possible defenses?

Answer: So generally, vandalism in Wisconsin is charged as criminal damage to property. It is, again, if the loss or the damage is $2,500 or less, it is generally going to be a misdemeanor. If there’s a larger loss, it can be considered to be a felony. And there are some specific types of vandalism that are laid out in great specificity, but in general, it’s going to be just a criminal damage of property or defacement of property kind of thing, and the misdemeanor penalties, which are the most common on those, is a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine. The possible defenses, that really can depend on the circumstances of the case. Obviously we always look at whether that person, whether you can be identified as the person who did that, you know, whether it was you, or somebody else, or sometimes there’s jointly owned property. If you have damaged some jointly owned property and you are one of the property owners, that may be something that is not actually criminal. There can be some issues of whether you were given permission to take some activities that led to damage, and that permission would mean that you have not committed a criminal act. So there’s a variety of defenses, just depending on the circumstances.

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