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Wisconsin Misdemeanor Classes & Penalties Learn more about fines & sentencing

Misdemeanor charges vary in penalties depending on the class in Wisconsin. At most, a Class A misdemeanor conviction will result in a $10,000 fine and up to 9 months in jail. (Wis. Stat. § 939.51) Some misdemeanors are "unclassified" or Class U.

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The below is intended for informational use only and does not constitute legal advice or an attorney relationship. If you are facing a criminal charge in Wisconsin, please contact a defense lawyer for a free consultation.

What is a Misdemeanor?

Simply put, a misdemeanor charge in Wisconsin is any criminal offense not punishable by a sentence in a state prison. Some misdemeanors may result in county or local jail incarceration, usually for a term shorter than one year, as well as hefty fines. Depending on the nature of the misdemeanor, additional penalties may be imposed.

Unlike with most felony offenses, individuals convicted of a misdemeanor offense may retain most of their rights, including serving on a jury and voting. However, depending upon the circumstances and the nature/number of charges, a misdemeanor can result in a loss of 2nd Amendment firearm rights for life and loss of a concealed carry license, along with various other conditions.

Misdemeanors vs Felonies: Find out the difference.

Wisconsin Misdemeanor Penalties



Max. Fine

Class A Misdemeanor 9 months in jail $10,000
Class B Misdemeanor 90 days in jail $1,000
Class C Misdemeanor 30 days in jail $500
Unclassified Misdemeanors 30 days in jail $500
*Many misdemeanors in Wisconsin are not technically classified, such as Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (aka: drunk driving or OWI). See more information on drunk driving penalties. If the statute does not specify a penalty, the fine will be no higher than $500 and the jail term no longer than 30 days. Learn more about Class U misdemeanors in WI. (Wis. Stat. § 939.51)

For the purpose of determining penalties and sentencing, there are three classes of misdemeanors in Wisconsin, as well as some additional misdemeanors which are unclassified. The penalties for each of the misdemeanor classes may be increased for repeat offenders.

Learn more about the penalties and classes of other Wisconsin criminal violations such as felonies and forfeitures

List of Wisconsin Misdemeanors

There are hundreds of Wisconsin misdemeanor offenses, some applying to a single statute and others applying to a range of statutes. Some fit into a class, but many are unclassified and have their own penalties. Here are just a few Wisconsin misdemeanors:

Wisconsin misdemeanor penalties

Misdemeanor Expungement

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Often people with juvenile records may petition to have their criminal conviction expunged, or erased, from public record. Expungement provides the opportunity to apply for jobs and licenses without worrying about past convictions.

In order to be eligible for expungement, the individual and his or her circumstances must meet certain requirements:

  • Individual was under 21 years old at the time of the crime
  • Conviction was no greater than a misdemeanor
  • Sentence was fully completed
  • All probationary time was served
  • All fines were paid in full
  • Individual will benefit from the expungement
  • Individual has not been convicted of any other criminal offense since the crime up for expungement
  • Society as a whole will not be harmed by the granting of the expungement

Although misdemeanor expungement is possible, it is not guaranteed. Wisconsin law does not require the court to grant an expungement when one is requested. Contact our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers to find out how to petition for a clean record.

Statute of Limitations for Wisconsin Misdemeanors

The statute of limitations for a crime is a time limit for prosecution. This time limit begins when the crime is committed, and after the time limit is up, the state can no longer begin criminal prosecution. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for most misdemeanors is 3 years.

Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyers Provide Top-Rated Defense for Misdemeanors

If you or a loved one has been accused of a misdemeanor, don’t wait to seek legal advice. A misdemeanor can have a lasting negative effect on your life. Whether you’re facing a DUI in Milwaukee or got caught trespassing in Racine, our Waukesha law firm is here to offer help. Our misdemeanor defense lawyers provide the best possible defenses throughout Southeast Wisconsin. Our reasonable rates and flexible payment plans make it possible for anyone to afford our Milwaukee lawyers. Schedule your free legal advice consultation today for more information on misdemeanors, your legal options, and expungement of past misdemeanor convictions.

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How long does a Wisconsin misdemeanor charge stay on your record?

Misdemeanor charges stay on your record for 20 years after conviction in Wisconsin. Expunging a charge is quite rare unless you were under 25 at the time of the offense.


There are several categories of misdemeanors: Class A, B, C, and U. Trying to beat a misdemeanor charge often requires a great amount of knowledge and expertise on the law and the situation.

Tom Grieve has the expertise and experience to help you find the best path to beating or reducing your misdemeanor penalties. There are many nuances that can make the difference between getting charges dropped and getting convicted. Tom knows how to best fight the charge and get them dropped or at least reduced.

When you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you want a well-respected lawyer who has a proven record of success. Tom Grieve was named one of Newsweek’s list of Top Criminal Defense Attorneys in the Country. He will do all he can to help you fight against any charges against you.

What counts as a misdemeanor in Wisconsin?

A misdemeanor is any criminal offense that is punishable by less than one year in jail. In Wisconsin, misdemeanor offenses are handled at the County Court level and are considered less serious crimes than felony offenses. Examples of common misdemeanors are: battery, disorderly conduct, OWI 2nd, etc.

How many degrees of misdemeanors are there in Wisconsin?

Misdemeanors are unclassified, Class A, Class B, or Class C. Class A is the most serious misdemeanor.

What crimes are considered misdemeanors in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin law defines a misdemeanor as a crime for which the maximum sentence is no more than one year in county jail. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less serious than a felony. Common examples of misdemeanors are DUI, theft and domestic violence that does not result in a serious injury.

How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in Wisconsin?

A criminal conviction is not going to ever come off of your record. It is possible to have your conviction expunged, which means that it would be sealed and not viewable by the public.

What is the difference between a Class A and Class B misdemeanor in Wisconsin?

Class A misdemeanors have maximum penalties of 9 months jail and a $10,000 fine. Class B misdemeanors have maximum penalties of 90 days jail and a $1000 fine.

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