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THE STANGL LAW BLOG

Burglary in Wisconsin: What You Need To Know

Posted by Attorney Stangl on April 14, 2015

Burglary in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, just as in other states, it's a serious crime to enter someone's property without their permission or consent. Many people confuse burglary with trespassing.

While similar in some respects, burglary involves entering someone's else's property to commit a crime there.

Ordinary burglary versus aggravated burglary in Wisconsin

Section 943.10 of the Wisconsin Statutes defines two different crimes for burglary. §943.10 (1m) Wis. Stats. defines "ordinary burglary" and §943.10 (2) defines "aggravated burglary." Let's explore each in a little more detail.

The elements of ordinary burglary in Wisconsin:


Burglary is defined by intentionally entering the following places without the permission (or consent) of the person in lawful possession of the property with the intent to steal or commit a felony:

  • Any building or dwelling; or
  • An enclosed railroad car; or
  • An enclosed portion of any ship or vessel; or
  • A locked enclosed cargo portion of a truck or trailer; or
  • A motor home or other motorized type of home or a trailer home whether or not any person is living in any such home; or
  • A room within any of the above.

This is classified as a Class F felony.

What are the punishments of a Class F felony?

A Class F felony is punishable by up to 12 years and six months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

One way Wisconsin's burglary laws differ from other states involves areas open to the general public. It's important to note that a person who enters a place open to the general public in Wisconsin technically has permission to do so, and can't be charged with burglary.

Aggravated burglary and home invasions in Wisconsin

Ordinary burglary becomes aggravated burglary when committed under any one of the following circumstances:

  • The person is armed with a dangerous weapon or a device or container described under s. 941.26 (4) (a).
  • The person is unarmed, but arms himself with a dangerous weapon or a drive or container described under s. 941.26 (4) (a) while still in the burglarized enclosure.
  • While the person is in the burglarized enclosure, he or she opens, or attempts to open, any depository by use of an explosive.(d) While the person is in the burglarized enclosure, he or she commits a battery upon a person lawfully therein.
  • The burglarized enclosure is a dwelling, boat, or motor home and another person is lawfully present in the dwelling, boat or motor home at the time of the violation.

Under §943.10 (2) Wis. Stats. aggravated burglary is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine and is classified as a Class E felony.

Possession of burglary tools in Wisconsin


In Wisconsin, burglary tools are tools or devices "intended, designed or adapted" specifically for breaking into an area with the intent to commit theft. A common example of this is a crowbar or similar device used to break into a vehicle to steal it.

Possession of burglary tools is a Class I felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, three years and six months in prison, or both.

What to do if you're facing burglary charges in Wisconsin

If you're charged with burglary in Wisconsin or home invasion in Wisconsin, it's extremely important to contact a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Local Madison criminal defense attornies can answer questions and help craft the strongest possible defense for your Wisconsin burglary case. Click here for a free consultation with Attorney Patrick Stangl today.

Topics: Other Criminal Charges

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