Wisconsin Robbery Laws
A robbery is theft by the use or threat of force. The property owner need not have lawful possession of the property for the crime to be considered a robbery.
Robbery with a dangerous weapon
A gun is a dangerous weapon, but so is any other article that can or is reasonably perceived to be able to cause bodily injury or death. No dangerous weapon actually needs to be displayed. It is sufficient if the victim reasonably believed that the defendant had a dangerous weapon at the time of the threat. Whether the victim reasonably believed that the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon is to be determined from the standpoint of the victim from the time of the alleged defense. The jury uses the standard of what a person of ordinary intelligence and prudence would have believed under the circumstances that existed at the time of the crime.
A Class C Felony includes penalties of up to 40 years imprisonment, or $100,000 file, or both. If a convicted defendant is classified as a repeat offender, the court can order up to 2 additional years imprisonment if the priors 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.
WI Statute 943.32 Robbery
The Wisconsin criminal code is enumerated in Wisconsin's Statutes. Wisconsin Statute 943.32 (below) defines the elements of the crime of robbery and provides the penalty classification (a Felony).
943.32 Robbery 943.32(1)
(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.
Robbery of a Financial Institution
A theft from an individual at a financial institution is robbery if force or the threat of force is used to take the property or money from the possession of or under the custody or control of the financial institution.
Robbery from a financial institution is a Class C Felony.
Use or Threat of Force
The prosecution must show that the defendant acted forcibly. Forcibly means that the defendant actually used force with the intent to overcome or prevent physical resistance to the theft, or threatened to use force with the intent to compel the property owner to give up the property.
Violence or the threat of violence distinguishes robbery from theft. While a theft can occur during a situation involving violence, a robbery is always a violent crime.
Murder During Robbery
If a homicide occurs during a robbery, then the homicide may be charged as Felony Murder. Felony murder is a homicide committed during the commission of a Felony.
'During the commission of a Felony' is a legal phrase, which includes all of the time leading up to the robbery, and all of the time fleeing after the robbery.
The 'commission' of a crime includes all acts leading up to and included in, as well as all acts after the crime. Individuals who are party to the crime are responsible for crimes committed during the robbery, such as murder.
Theft Lesser Included Crime to Robbery
Theft is a lesser included offense to robbery. Theft is the taking and carrying away of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that property.