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Everything You Need to Know about Breaking the Law While Carrying a Dangerous Weapon in Wisconsin

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Did you have a dangerous weapon on you while breaking the law? You could be facing harsher penalties

Every crime in Wisconsin comes with a maximum set of penalties if you are charged with those crimes. Misdemeanors face various maximum jail times, and felonies face maximum prison times. Possessing a dangerous weapon or threatening to use it during the commission of a crime can add significant time to those maximum penalties. This additional charge is known as an "enhancer" because it enhances the severity of the penalty.

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What is a dangerous weapon?

Under Wisconsin Statute 939.22, “dangerous weapon" means any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm; any ligature or other instrumentality used on the throat, neck, nose, or mouth of another person to impede, partially or completely, breathing or circulation of blood; any electric weapon, as defined in s. 941.295 (1c) (a); or any other device which, when used as intended, is likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

The penalties and how much additional time you could be facing depend on the underlying charge. If the underlying charge is a misdemeanor, then the maximum jail time can be increased by 6 months. If you are being charged with an unspecified felony, the maximum period of imprisonment can increase by three years. If you are charged with an A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H felony, that maximum period of imprisonment can increase by 5 years. If you are charged with a Class I felony, the maximum imprisonment time can increase by 4 years.

Be mindful that these penalties do not exist where the underlying crime itself includes the use of a dangerous weapon. For example, armed robbery would not have additional potential penalties because a firearm is involved. The crime already requires that a firearm was involved.

You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted ®

Have questions about a dangerous weapon enhancer? Being charged with a crime that adds “use of a dangerous weapon”? Call Grieve Law.

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By: Attorney Tom Grieve on 03/06/2020

Tom Grieve is a former prosecutor who now runs a successful Wisconsin criminal defense law firm with offices in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Madison. If are facing new charges initial phone consultations are free: contact online or call 262-786-7100.

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