Marital Property and Criminal Charges

Did you know that if you’re married, and you damage your stuff, you could be charged with a crime?

Most people don’t. Wisconsin law (with a few exceptions) considers virtually all property owned during the marriage to be shared property. So even if you damage a television that your wife never wanted, it’s still half hers, legally speaking–and you can be charged with Criminal Damage to Property as a result of the destructive action.

Criminal damage to property isn’t the only crime that could pose a challenge when family court issues are also in play. If you’re subject to a temporary order in family court that gives your spouse exclusive use of the marital home, then you could be charged with Criminal Trespass to Dwelling or even Burglary for entering the home without permission – even if your name is still on the deed. Going there to get some personal items? Potentially, you could be exposing yourself to theft charges if the property is subject to a family court order, even on a temporary basis.

If you are accused of a domestic offense, you should contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney today, particularly if you’re also going through a divorce or legal separation. It is important for you to know what rights you have to your things while a family court action is pending.