CHARGED WITH
A VIOLENT CRIME?

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VIOLENT AND DOMESTIC CRIMES

When you need a criminal lawyer in Wisconsin, you want to make sure that you retain the help of attorneys who know the law and know how to present the best possible defense for you. At Birdsall Law Offices, we’ve gained credibility and respect defending the rights of thousands of clients. Our success speaks for itself, with an acquittal rate three times higher than the state average and four times the national average!

Violent crimes involve the use of force (with or without a weapon) to inflict harm on another person. In many cases, the people involved in these types of crimes have a personal relationship and therefore the crimes are considered Domestic Violence. There are often family considerations and emotional issues in domestic violence cases in addition to a criminal charge. Because of the sensitivity of these types of crimes, it is critical that you seek help from a trusted and reputable criminal defense lawyer. The experienced team at Birdsall Law Offices has handled hundreds of domestic violence cases. Please contact us by email or phone to schedule a free consultation.


The Facts About Violent and Domestic Crimes

  • The crime of battery occurs whenever a person

    1. Uses force against another
    2. Without permission, and
    3. With the intent to cause bodily harm.

    Sentencing for a battery conviction depends on the criminal battery charge sought by the prosecuting attorney, which is directly related to the “Degree of Harm Intended,” and the “Degree of Harm Resulted.”

    The greater the degree of intended or resulting harm, the more serious the charge, and the more serious the penalties. A simple battery is a misdemeanor, however, a substantial battery or an aggravated battery, intended to cause substantial bodily harm or death, is a felony. It is important to remember that the “force” used can be any contact at all that causes “pain,” no matter how minimal.

    The crime of battery in Wisconsin is a Class A Misdemeanor which exposes you to up to 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

  • The crime of substantial battery is committed by one who

    1. causes “substantial bodily harm”
    2. in an act done with intent to cause bodily harm.

    If a person is convicted of a Class I felony, the penalty is 1 ½ years prison. If the act causes “great bodily harm” with intent to cause bodily harm it is a Class H felony with a penalty of 3 years in prison.

    Whoever causes great bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause great bodily harm to that person or another is guilty of a Class E Felony, which exposes you to up to 3 years in prison.

  • The crime of aggravated battery is committed by one who

    1. “causes great bodily harm” to another
    2. with “intent to cause great bodily harm” to that person

    In Wisconsin this is a Class E Felony which exposes you to up to 10 years in prison.

    The various forms of battery can be confusing since they involve a sliding scale of harm. For example if you cause on slight harm, that is “battery.” If you cause great harm but only intended to cause some harm, that is “substantial.” However, if you cause great harm and intended to cause great harm, that is “aggravated.” There are also a number of separate battery statutes that are specific to certain circumstances such as battery to another prisoner, a police officer, a fire fighter, a probation official, a juror, a teacher, a witness, a judge, or a government official. These are all felonies.

  • The crime of recklessly endangering safety is committed by one who

    1. endangers another’s safety, or
    2. endangers another’s safety under circumstances
    3. which show utter disregard for human life.

    Wisconsin Penalties for Recklessly Endangering Safety:

    7 ½ years prison

  • Perhaps one of the easiest charges for a district attorney to prove, a disorderly conduct charge may seem to simply entail a brief arrest or fine. In reality, a conviction can result in a sentence that includes significant jail time and probation. If the people involved in the incident that resulted in an arrest for disorderly conduct had a domestic relationship, a conviction will mean additional penalties.

    The crime of disorderly conduct is committed by one who,

    1. in a public or private place,
    2. engages in conduct that is “violent, abusive, indecent, or otherwise disorderly,”
    3. under circumstances that “tend to cause or provoke a disturbance.”

    Wisconsin penalties for Disorderly Conduct:

    1. Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor offense. The penalties for a Class B misdemeanor can include a fine of up to $1,000, jail time for up to 90 days, or both.
    2. If the conviction is for a second or subsequent disorderly conduct offense, jail times can be increased for up to 2 years.
  • Wisconsin laws protect a parent’s right to discipline their children, even to spank them. The crime of physical abuse to a child exceeds what would reasonably be expected as a means of discipline. The key term in that statement is “reasonably” and the key issue is what constitutes “reasonableness” before the line of abuse is crossed. Whether the allegations cite scalding water or a fall down the stairs, there are always those people who will assume evil intentions. The result of those assumptions is often a criminal charge.

    The State must prove three elements:

    1. that the defendant caused a great bodily harm to the victim,
    2. that the defendant recklessly or intentionally caused such harm, and
    3. that the victim had not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the alleged offense.

    Great Bodily Harm: is harm that substantially creates the risk of a death, permanent or prolonged loss or dysfunctional use of a limb or organ, permanent serious disfigurement, or some other very serious bodily injury.

    Intentional Harm: can be charged as “intentionally” causing harm or “recklessly” causing harm. “Intentional” harm has 3 levels of severity: great bodily harm, bodily harm, or conduct creating substantial risk of great bodily harm.

    Reckless Harm: if the charge is “reckless,” the same three levels apply as intentional harm, but the penalties are somewhat lower. “Recklessness” requires that the defendant’s conduct created a situation of “unreasonable risk of harm” to the victim, and that the defendant demonstrated a “conscious disregard” for the safety of the victim.

    A common defense for this type of charge is that parents, who are often the accused of this crime, have the right to “reasonably” discipline their children. The core issue usually comes down to determining what constitutes “reasonableness.” Another common defense is that the abuse was an accident or mistake.

    Wisconsin penalties for Physical Abuse of a Child

    • Intentional Physical Abuse Of A Child
      • Great bodily harm: 10 years prison (Maximum)
      • Bodily harm by conduct which creates a high probability of great bodily harm: 7 years (Maximum)
      • Bodily harm: 3 years prison (Maximum)
    • Reckless Physical Abuse Of A Child
    • Great bodily harm: 5 years prison (Maximum)
    • Bodily harm by conduct which creates a high probability of great bodily harm: 3 years (Maximum)
    • Bodily harm: 18 months prison (Maximum)
  • Kidnapping, as defined in s940.31(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Wisconsin, is committed by one who by deceit induces another person to go from one place to another with intent to cause him or her to be secretly confined or imprisoned or to be carried out of this state or to be held against his or her will.

    The State must prove the following three elements:

    1. The defendant induced victim to go from one place to another.
    2. The defendant induced victim to go from one place to another by deceit.
    3. The defendant induced victim to go from one place to another with intent that the victim be secretly confined, secretly imprisoned, transported out of this state, or held to service against his or her will.
  • The crime of criminal damage to property is committed by one who

    1. intentionally causes damage to the property of another,
    2. without the consent of that person.

    This crime is often charged along with other offenses such as battery, domestic abuse or robbery.

    Wisconsin Penalties for Criminal Damage to Property

    • Up to 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • Restraining and no contact orders are regularly issued in domestic violence cases. Essentially, the goal of these orders is to prevent any contact between the two conflicting parties. If you are subject to one of these orders, you should take it extremely seriously. This includes contact that is by phone, mail, email, text, or through a 3rd party.

    Any violation of the order, even if the other person wants you to come over and visit, will be taken seriously and will expose you to further prosecution of charges such as violating the order or bail jumping. Remember that it is your life on the line, not the life of the other person. If the other person wants to visit, you say no. If you see them on the street, cross the street and avoid them. Do not answer their calls or respond to any emails or texts. The other person is more than capable of going to court to get the order lifted if that is what he or she wants.

  • In Domestic Violence cases, the state must produce the alleged victim of the crime to testify in order to proceed to trial. Without this testimony, the state will be unable to prove its case, and your Constitutional right to confrontation will be violated, generally resulting in the dismissal of the case. However, you should be aware that some jurisdictions have forced “complaining witnesses,” i.e. “victims,” to testify by subpoenaing them and threatening them with charges of “obstructing” or simply presenting their original statements against them and treating them as “hostile” witnesses in order to gain a conviction.

  • If you are convicted of a crime that was originally charged as “domestic violence,” you may be prohibited from ever possessing a firearm legally.

Contact Birdsall Law, S.C.


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