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"Sydne was very informative and made me feel at ease from the moment we first met. I would definitely recommend her to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation as I." Former OWI client

"Sydne was always available to answer every question I had throughout the entire process, but most importantly she worked not just for me, but with me. I feel like this was the difference between just being a client, and being her client. " R.E.

Attorney Sydne FrenchI try to take a personal interest in every person who calls me for help. I do my best to make sure they do not feel like they are just a case number or just another "defendant." I make the time to really listen to their side of things, their perspectives, and their concerns. I do my best to stay in touch, and I welcome my clients to do the same. They know they can call me 24/7 and that I am there for them 100%.

"Sydne's commitment to her clients,
to the ideal of justice, and to the goal
of zealous representation is unparalleled.
" Keith Findley, President, International Innocence Network; Co-Director, Wisconsin Innocence Project


Winner of the Baldwin Award for Excellence in Criminal Law
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Superior Results

Solid Success Rate
Hundreds of Cases Won

We are passionate about what we do and it shows.  We have earned  a solid reputation for negotiating significantly reduced charges, penalties, and dismissals while aggressively defending our clients against the power and resources of the State.

Visit our News Room and take a look at some of the results we have achieved for our clients.  You'll see why we are one of the most well respected criminal and drunk driving defense firms in Wisconsin.


The Law Offices of
Sydne French

200 South Executive Drive
Suite 101
Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005

  250 East Wisconsin Avenue
18th Floor
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
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Burglary, Robbery, Theft

Property Crimes

The Law Offices of Sydne French
Aggressive Defense Against the Power & Resources of the State


  • Overview
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Theft

Waukesha Milwaukee Burglary, Robbery, Theft Attorneys
Property Crimes Lawyers


Arrested for Theft? Facing Burglary or Robbery Charges?

Don't let a criminal charge ruin your life. Get the aggressive, experienced defense you deserve!

If you have been charged with burglary, robbery, or theft, you need an aggressive, experienced attorney who knows how to win.   At the Law Office of Sydne French, we achieve superior results defending our clients against all manner of theft-related charges, such as retail theft, theft movable property, worthless checks, robbery, breaking and entering, embezzlement, check forgery, employee theft, and fraud.

Evidence in these types of cases can seem overwhelming.  Surveillance videos, fingerprints, eyewitness testimony, and DNA are typically brought against those accused of these types of crimes. Attorney Sydne French has the experience and knowledge to expose the flaws in the State's evidence.  And everyone knows, the weaker the State's evidence, the stronger your chances for winning your case.

At our firm, we are passionate about what we do—and it shows!  Attorney Sydne French has won hundreds of serious criminal cases of all types.  She is known for negotiating significantly reduced charges/penalties and dismissals. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation in our Waukesha office or Milwaukee office.  We can also schedule a consultation by phone if you like.  Whatever is most convenient for you!




Wisconsin Burglary Charges
Burglary Laws

Wisconsin Statutes

Under the Wisconsin burglary statute, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person:

  • intentionally entered property (e.g., a building or dwelling, enclosed railroad car, enclosed portion of a ship or vessel, locked and enclosed cargo portion of a truck or trailer, a motor home, or a room within any of these enclosures)
  • without the consent of the person in lawful possession and
  • with intent to steal or commit a felony

A Wisconsin burglary charge is a Class F felony.  The maximum penalty for a Wisconsin Class F felony is 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

In addition, whoever violates the burglary statute under the following conditions is guilty of a Class E felony:

  • the person is armed with a dangerous weapon or device
  • the person is unarmed, but arms himself with a dangerous weapon or device while in the burglarized enclosure
  • the person opens or attempts to open any depository using an explosive device while in the burglarized enclosure
  • the person commits a battery upon a person lawfully in the burglarized enclosure
  • the burglarized enclosure is a dwelling, boat, or motor home and another person is lawfully present at the time of the violation

The maximum penalty for a Wisconsin Class E felony is 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

In Wisconsin, having certain tools or devices can result in charges of possession of tools associated with burglary. To gain a conviction, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person:

  • has in their possession any device or instrumentality
  • intended, designed, or adapted for use in breaking into any depository designed for the safekeeping of valuables or into any building or room, to steal therefrom

The maximum penalty for possession of burglarious tools is 3 years and 6 months in prison and a $10,000 fine

Another type of burglary related crime is breaking into a locked coin box.  To prove guilt of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that a person did the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • intentionally enters a locked coin box of another
  • without consent
  • with intent to steal therefrom

The maximum penalty for entry into locked coin box in Wisconsin is 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine

Click here to see more information on criminal penalties.


WI Burglary Case Law

  • Entry into a hotel lobby open to the public, with intent to steal, is not burglary. Champlin v. State, 84 Wis. 2d 621, 267 N.W.2d 295 (1978).

  • The state need not prove that the defendant knew that his or her entry was without consent. Hanson v. State, 52 Wis. 2d 396, 190 N.W.2d 129 (1971).

  • A burglary is completed after a door is pried open and entry made. It was no defense that the defendant had changed his mind and started to leave the scene when arrested. Morones v. State, 61 Wis. 2d 544, 213 N.W.2d 31 (1973).

  • Evidence that the defendant walked around a private dwelling knocking on doors, broke the glass in one door, entered the dwelling, and when confronted offered no excuse, was sufficient to sustain a conviction for burglary. Raymond v. State, 55 Wis. 2d 482, 198 N.W.2d 351 (1972).

  • In a burglary prosecution, ordinarily once proof of entry is made, it is the defendant’s burden to show consent. When a private residence is broken into at night, little evidence is required to support an inference of intent to steal. LaTender v. State, 77 Wis. 2d 383, 253 N.W.2d 221 (1977).



WI Robbery Laws

The crime of Robbery in Wisconsin is, basically, theft by the use of force. A theft is the taking and carrying away of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that property. Force is any action that either prevents the property owner (or anyone else) from preventing the theft; it is also any action that threatens to cause such prevention. The type of force used or threatened determines the classification or degree of the crime and the penalties associated with it.


A Wisconsin robbery charge is a Class E felony unless a dangerous weapon was used during the robbery, in which case it is a Class C felony. Obviously, a gun is considered a dangerous weapon; however, a dangerous weapon can also include any other device that is capable of causing bodily injury or death.

A Class C felony includes penalties of up to 40 years imprisonment, or $100,000 fine, or both. If a convicted defendant is classified as a repeat offender, the court can order up to 2 additional years imprisonment if the prior convictions were misdemeanors and up to six additional years imprisonment if the priors were felonies.

A Class E felony includes penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment, or a $50,000 fine, or both. Repeat offender classification increases the imprisonment terms up to 2 years with prior misdemeanor convictions and up to six years with prior felony convictions.

Click here to see more information on criminal penalties.


Wisconsin Statute Section 943.32 defines the crime of robbery in its various forms as follows:

(1) Whoever, with intent to steal, takes property from the person or presence of the owner by either of the following means is guilty of a Class E felony:
(a) By using force against the person of the owner with intent thereby to overcome his or her physical resistance or physical power of resistance to the taking or carrying away of the property; or
(b) By threatening the imminent use of force against the person of the owner or of another who is present with intent thereby to compel the owner to acquiesce in the taking or carrying away of the property.
(2) Whoever violates sub. (1) by use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon, a device or container described under s. 941.26 (4) (a) or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe that it is a dangerous weapon or such a device or container is guilty of a Class C felony.
(3) In this section "owner" means a person in possession of property whether the person's possession is lawful or unlawful.


If you are under investigation or have been arrested for robbery, or if you have already been convicted and want to appeal or challenge the conviction or sentencing, contact our firm todayfor an initial consultation.  We will give you a straightforward, honest opinion of your case, as well as an explanation of your rights and options.



Wisconsin Crimes of Theft

Under the Wisconsin Theft Statute, a person is guilty of a theft when they intentionally and knowingly take and carry away the property of another, without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that property.


Intent is a big part of a theft crime.  In order to prove theft, the prosecutor must show that the person intended to take and carry away the property.  Taking someone's things by mistake, such as a similar-looking coat or cell phone at the diner, is not theft. 

The act of carrying away property need not involve removing the property from the premises.  Under the Wisconsin theft laws, the crime of theft can occur even if the property taken does not leave the building, as long as the person taking the property intended to carry it away from its owner.

Wisconsin law provides that not only must it have been the thief's intent and purpose to take the property, but he also must have intended that the owner of the property never get that property back.

Under Wisconsin theft laws, the prosecution must prove that the person in rightful possession of the property gave no consent to the defendant to take and carry away their property. The prosecutor must also prove that the defendant knew or should have known that they did not have the property owner's consent to take the property.

Wisconsin theft laws define property broadly.  Property includes any item of personal, commercial, or industrial ownership, including: jewelry, clothing, real estate, intellectual property, services (e.g., cable TV and cell phone carriers), and institutional property.

Money may be defined as property, but only if the alleged victim can prove that the bills recovered by police have the same serial numbers as the bills they claim were stolen from them.

Ownership of Property

Under Wisconsin theft laws, property must be in the possession of another at the time the theft is alleged to have occurred.  If not, the circumstances may instead result in embezzlement charges, or theft by fraud.  Further, the law does not require "rightful" ownership to prove a theft occurred.


Wisconsin law defines Retail Theft or shoplifting as the intentional taking and carrying away of property that belongs to the store without having paid for it, or without having obtained permission to remove the property.  Like all theft charges, shoplifting requires proof of intent to permanently deprive the store of that property.  Accidentally taking property does not qualify as a theft.


Wisconsin law defines Theft Movable Property as someone who intentionally takes and carries away, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the owner's consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property.  Again, intent is the key here.


Generally speaking, the crime of theft is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony.  The value of the stolen property, who the property was taken from, and the nature of the stolen property determines the classification or degree of the crime and the penalties associated with it.  

Value of Property Maximum Penalty
Less than $2,500 9 months in jail and a $10,0000 fine (Misdemeanor)
From $2,500 to $5,000 3 years and 6 months in prison and a $10,000 fine (Felony)
From $5,000 to $10,000 6 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
Greater than $10,000 10 years prison and a $25,000 fine


Click here for more details on felony penalties.





The Law Office of Sydne French provides representation to people facing theft related charges such as theft, retail theft, theft of movable property, check forgery, worthless checks, burglary, criminal damage to property, forgery, robbery, embezzlement, employee theft, fraud, and uttering, across north and south eastern Wisconsin, most frequently covering: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Dodge, Washington, Ozaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Jefferson, and Madison counties.


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