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Domestic Violence Attorneys West Bend office (Near the Museum of Wisconsin Art)

The penalties that can be imposed for typical domestic violence modified charges are a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine on a disorderly conduct, a maximum of 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine on battery or criminal damage to property, and up to 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on substantial battery, false imprisonment, strangulation/suffocation or child abuse.  

Glenn Gaskill

OWI & Criminal Defense Attorney

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Domestic Violence Modifier in Ozaukee & Washington

In Wisconsin, domestic abuse or domestic violence are not criminal charges in and of themselves.  A person can, however, be charged with a modifier or enhancer listed as domestic violence, which creates extra penalties such as permanently losing your 2nd Amendment firearm rights.  To be charged with the domestic violence modifier means that the other party involved in the altercation is someone you have or previously had a domestic relationship with. A domestic relationship requires either current or previous cohabitation, marriage, or someone with which you have children in common.

Being convicted of an offense with a domestic violence modifier means that you will permanently lose your right to possess a firearm.  The permanent loss of your 2nd Amendment firearm rights is a federal prohibition and can be applied even without the domestic violence modifier.  To be barred from possession of a firearm without a domestic violence modifier attached to your case, the facts within your case must allege “the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon” and you must be convicted of a criminal offense based on those facts.  Frequently when entering into a plea agreement on a criminal case, the defendant is asked if they are stipulating or agreeing to the fax as listed in the criminal complaint. Our Ozaukee and Washington County domestic violence attorneys have successfully had stipulated facts entered on the record to retain an individual's 2nd Amendment rights.

The charges where you will typically see a domestic violence modifier are

  • disorderly conduct
  • battery
  • substantial battery
  • criminal damage to property
  • strangulation/suffocation
  • false imprisonment
  • child abuse

Some of these offenses are felony charges for which you would automatically lose your 2nd Amendment firearm rights upon conviction (substantial battery, strangulation/suffocation, false imprisonment and child abuse).  However, something as small as an argument in your house that an overly nosy neighbor overhears could result in a disorderly conduct charge, and you may still face the loss of your 2nd Amendment firearm rights.

Domestic Violence Penalties

The penalties that can be imposed for typical domestic violence modified charges are: 

  • on disorderly conduct: maximum 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine
  • on battery or criminal damage to property: maximum 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine
  • on substantial battery, false imprisonment, strangulation/suffocation or child abuse: up to 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

Beyond your 2nd Amendment firearms rights, a domestic violence modifier also increases your financial penalties and includes a mandatory court cost that can only be waived in situations where the “cost will have a negative impact on the offender’s family.”

If the police are called to the scene of a suspected domestic violence situation in Ozaukee or Washington counties, someone will be taken into custody. The person taken into custody is based on the officer’s belief regarding the primary aggressor, whether there is history of abuse, any visible injuries, and if one of the parties is likely to continue the violence.

72-Hour No-Contact Order

Following an arrest in a domestic violence investigation, the party not taken into custody will be given the choice to enforce a 72-hour no-contact order. It is not uncommon for an officer in Ozaukee or Washington County to pressure the remaining party into enforcing the 72-hour no-contact order, if the no-contact order is enforced it can have a significant impact on the criminal case if charges are filed.  In domestic violence cases, the State frequently requests a no-contact order throughout the duration of the criminal case. If there was a waiver of the 72-hour no-contact order an experienced attorney may be able to successfully argue that a no-contact order is neither desired nor needed in the case.  Once a party wishes to waive the 72-hour no-contact order, they must sign a waiver form with the police.

Violating a 72-hour no-contact order is a class A misdemeanor, for which there is a maximum penalty of 9 months in jail, up to a $10,000 fine or both.

Criminal charges that are domestic in nature are incredibly serious, both your 2nd Amendment constitutional rights and your personal freedom are at risk.  Contact our award-winning Ozaukee and Washington County attorneys to review your case and put you in the best position to retain your rights and keep you out of custody.

You are only guilty if you are convicted™

How long does domestic violence stay on my record?

A domestic violence charge will remain on your record unless it is expunged by the court or pardoned by the Governor’s office. Some domestic violence offenses may be eligible for expunction under certain circumstances. However, the record of the arrest will remain available for view to the police department, courts and other agencies. Additionally, many websites will post information regarding people arrested for domestic violence offenses. You may find yourself faced with the embarrassment of your friends and family finding out about your domestic violence conviction through public records searches many years after the incident occurred. The impact of a domestic violence conviction far exceeds fines and jail time.  The damage a domestic violence conviction can have on your reputation may be irreparable.

How to beat a domestic violence charge

Domestic violence charges often arise in two different ways. One way domestic violence charges arise is through fabrication or exaggeration of the story told by the alleged victim in your case. The other way domestic violence cases are often charged is when the violence occurs as an act of self-defense. Our experienced domestic violence attorneys in Ozaukee & Washington will review your case and the evidence the State intends to use against you to determine the best way to challenge the allegations.

Keep in mind that even if the victim in your case decides they do not want to proceed with charges, the state can continue with the prosecution of your domestic violence case even without the cooperation of the victim. Contact our Ozaukee & Washington domestic violence attorneys to protect your future from false domestic violence claims.

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Tom Grieve, the firm's managing attorney and founder, is a former state prosecutor and is not the only ex-prosecutor at the firm. We love hiring attorneys from both sides of the wall to bring as many perspectives to fight your case as aggressively as possible. The State of Wisconsin likes it when you choose the run-of-the-mill fee to plea™ lawyers who don't even know how to analyze and defend cases instead of experienced criminal attorneys:

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