Wisconsin Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Domestic Violence Penalties
Wisconsin doesn’t have a specific law addressing domestic violence. Instead, the state uses statutes for battery to apply to domestic violence situations. There are three types of battery, varying from least to most serious:
- Battery - Intentionally causing bodily harm to another without the person's consent, which is a Class A misdemeanor that can be penalized by up to 9 months confinement and a fine up to $10,000.
- Substantial Battery - Intentionally causing substantial bodily harm to another, which is a Class I felony punishable by up to 3.5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Aggravated Battery - Causing great bodily harm to another, either with the intent to cause bodily harm (Class H felony) or the intent to cause great bodily harm (Class E felony). A Class H felony can be punished by at most 6 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 and a Class E felony can be punished by at most 15 years in prison and a fine of $50,000 fine.
Our criminal defense attorneys have negotiated multiple felonies down to misdemeanors, non-criminal tickets and outright dismissal of charges. Through negotiation or jury trial our Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys faithfully represent your interests to the fullest under criminal law. Grieve Law LLC has the firearm, criminal defense, drug and DUI attorneys in Waukesha and Milwaukee that surrounding areas trust for powerful results.
The Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers the Milwaukee-Area Relies on for Dropping or Reducing Charges
Domestic violence charges in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin carry severe consequences for those accused. When cops are called for domestic violence, they will often find ways to bundle other charges like drug charges, sexual assault charges, False Imprisonment Charges, misdemeanor battery charges or firearms charges.
How to Beat a Domestic Violence Charge in Wisconsin
The law currently states if you are convicted of a criminal charge that included acts of domestic violence, even if the charge does not include the domestic violence enhancers, you are prohibited from owning a firearm. This raises two primary questions: 1) what constitutes making a situation domestic? and 2) what constitutes violence? Beating a domestic violence charge in Wisconsin often hinges on disproving one of those two elements.
The domestic portion of domestic violence has a clearer picture. For the purposes of domestic violence, it includes any person you have ever lived with. This means anyone you are currently living with, whether that be significant other, parent, child, roommate, or anyone you are cohabitating with. It also means anyone you have previously lived with, so any past relationships where the two of you lived together, including your parents who you haven’t lived with for 10 years, former apartment mates, and anyone with whom who you have previously shared a residence.
Dropping a frivolous charge in Wisconsin by disproving violence
Domestic violence charges in Wisconsin can negatively affect your personal and professional life. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges in Wisconsin, speak with our Waukesha criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Sometimes mounting a defense can take time, and an upcoming court date could be a limiting factor
Grieve Law LLC’s lawyers have a proven record of winning defenses for Wisconsin domestic violence cases. At your free legal advice consultation, our domestic violence defense lawyers will inform you of your options and explain what you can expect going forward. Don't jeopardize your freedom with second-rate criminal defense lawyers. You need the Milwaukee domestic violence attorneys with a reputation for winning.
The Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys Milwaukee Trusts to Expertly Navigate the Law
Grieve Law LLC is well versed in law enforcement tactics and defenses against fabricated or exaggerated charges, giving us a unique ability to argue your case successfully. Our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers know all the ins and outs of the law and the best way to apply it to your benefit.
Domestic assault charges in Wisconsin are taken very seriously and saving your reputation from false domestic assault charges derived from misunderstandings or fabrication depends on who you choose to defend you. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges, get the Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys southeast Wisconsin trusts.
You are innocent until you are convicted™
Waukesha Criminal Defense Attorneys Produce Winning Domestic Violence Defenses
When you’re facing domestic assault charges in Wisconsin, it’s vital you have a top-rated Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer.
Often, domestic violence charges in Wisconsin are the result one of two circumstances; either the plaintiff fabricated or exaggerated the story as a means of revenge, anger or resentment, or physical contact was the result of your own personal self-defense.
Police investigations typically involve tactics that manipulate or confuse upset defendants into admitting to physical contact, which is often taken as an admission of guilt. The first task in your assault charge defense is attaining a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney with a proven record of powerful, winning defenses.
Domestic Violence in Wisconsin
Domestic violence is not a specific crime or charge, it’s an enhancer. There is no crime of "domestic violence" in Wisconsin. Instead. other crimes like disorderly conduct, battery, strangulation, and others can be classified as an act of domestic violence.
Domestic abuse can be charged in any incident where prohibited conduct is “engaged in by an adult person against his or her spouse or former spouse, against an adult with whom the person resides or formerly resided, or against an adult with whom the person has a child in common.” (Wisconsin Statute 968.075)
There are several common charges that can have a domestic abuse charge modifier added.
Disorderly Conduct Penalties in Wisconsin
Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000.00 fine or both. It can include physical acts or language or both. Disorderly conduct is any conduct that is violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly, and that is committed under circumstances that tends to cause or provoke a disturbance. (Wisconsin Statute 947.01(1))
Disorderly conduct domestic abuse is charged when the alleged disorderly behavior occurs with a person with whom the charged person shares a domestic relationship. If spouses get into a yelling match and the neighbors hear and call the police, a charge of disorderly conduct, domestic abuse is likely on the way. Similarly, if two roommates have a loud argument where they swear at each other, the state may charge one of the roommates with disorderly conduct domestic abuse.
A common defense that arises in these types of cases involves the unavailability of witnesses. Often, the parties involved in the argument do not want police involvement. Instead, the state relies on the statements of the neighbor (or any other witness) as the evidence of the offense. If that witness does not appear for court, the charge may be dismissed for lack of evidence of the offense.
Misdemeanor Battery Penalties in Wisconsin
Misdemeanor Battery is charged when one person intentionally causes bodily harm to another person without the consent of that person. In Wisconsin, Battery is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 9 months in jail, a $10,000 fine or both.
Domestic abuse battery is charged when the bodily harm is committed on a person who shares a domestic relationship with the person charged. For instance, if someone hits a former spouse, that could be charged as misdemeanor battery domestic abuse. It could also be charged if a person threw a water bottle at a roommate, striking them and causing a bruise.
Often these cases involve battery between spouses. An argument occurs, and one spouse tells the police that the other hit them. Later, the victim spouse wants to recant the story they told the police. Unfortunately, this is not a bullet-proof strategy for dismissal of these charges. The state can, and often does, choose to proceed with charges even if the identified victim in the case recants. If you are charged with a misdemeanor battery offense and your spouse contacts the police to recant, you will likely still need an attorney to defend you.
Misdemeanor battery requires an intentional infliction of bodily harm to another person. Learn how we can help you defend against your misdemeanor battery charges.
Felony Battery Penalties in Wisconsin
Felony battery in Wisconsin is charged when one person commits an intentional act inflicting substantial or great bodily harm on another person. The level of harm inflicted will determine what level felony is charged. The lowest possible felony for a battery offense is a Class I Felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 3 ½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine or both. The highest level of battery charge in Wisconsin is a Class E Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine or both.
If the person who suffers the harm in a felony battery case has a qualifying domestic relationship with the person charged, the state will add a charge modifier of domestic abuse to the felony battery charge. The domestic abuse modifier to a felony battery charge adds additional monetary penalties and other non-monetary penalties if the person charged is convicted.
Don’t leave your constitutional rights to chance. Learn how our attorneys can help defend against felony battery charges in Wisconsin.
Strangulation Penalties in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, a strangulation charge is made if a person “intentionally impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.” (Wisconsin Statute 940.235). Strangulation is a Class H Felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.
Strangulation can be charged when there is a physical altercation between two people, and one of those people places their hands around the neck of the other person. A charge of strangulation does not require the victim to lose consciousness. The state can charge a person with strangulation when the victim indicates their breathing was impeded, even slightly.
Charges of strangulation often accompany an arrest for battery domestic abuse and disorderly conduct domestic abuse. The police will ask the victim specific questions to determine if these offenses can be charged. Even if the victim later admits that the statement was an exaggeration or even an outright lie, the state may still proceed with charges.
Criminal Damage to Property Penalties in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Criminal Damage to Property is a Class A Misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of this offense faces a maximum sentence of 9 months in jail, a $10,000 fine or both. Criminal Damage to Property can be charged to anyone who “intentionally causes damage to any physical property of another without the person’s consent.” (Wisconsin Statute 943.01(1))
One common issue that arises in cases like this is when the property that was damaged belongs to the person who damaged it. For instance, if you and your spouse get into an argument, and you knock the TV off the stand on the way out the door, you can still be charged with this offense. A person can be charged with criminal damage to their own property if someone else also has an ownership interest in that property. This could even apply to property purchased before the marriage occurred.
In such a situation, you would not only have a charge of Criminal Damage to Property, but you would also be facing additional penalties for domestic abuse because you were accused of damaging the property of your spouse – a person you have a domestic relationship with.
Criminal Trespass to Dwelling Penalties in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, any person who intentionally enters or remains in the dwelling of another, without the consent of the owner of the property, under circumstances tending to create or provoke a breach of the peace can be charged with criminal trespass to dwelling. (Wisconsin Statute 943.14(2))
Unfortunately, prior permission to be on the property may not be a defense to this crime. Even if you have been to the house many times in the past, you can be charged with this offense if you fail to leave when asked. For example, if you normally go inside when you drop your child off at the other parent’s house, but this time you are told you may not go inside, you could be charged with Criminal Trespass Domestic Abuse if you enter the property. One possible defense to this type of charge is that you were not told you were not allowed on the property, and your past permission could help support that argument. Often these situations become a he said/she said argument.
Temporary Restraining Order Penalties in Wisconsin
A Restraining Order is an order from a court that protects the petitioner from certain behavior of the respondent. The respondent is the person who is accused of threatening, harassing, or harming the petitioner.
If a person feels threatened or fears they are in danger but there is no immediate police involvement, they can file a petition for a Temporary Restraining Order. Very shortly after the of the filing of that petition, the court will either dismiss the petition or grant a Temporary Restraining Order. That TRO protects the person who requested it from certain conduct of the respondent, or the person who is being accused of the threatening behavior. It is a temporary order that only remains in place until an Injunction Hearing can be held.
Temporary Restraining Orders require very little proof, and the burden of proof at a TRO hearing is significantly lower than at a criminal trial. If you have been served with a TRO, you may find that many of the allegations in the petition for a TRO are exaggerated or completely untrue. Challenging these allegations can be done at an injunction hearing, but a court will likely issue a TRO against you if someone makes the required types of allegations and a court finds reasonable grounds to believe the allegations. (Wisconsin Statute 813.125(3)(a)(2))
A respondent does not have the statutory right to be present at a TRO hearing. A court can issue a TRO against you even if you were not given notice of the TRO hearing. Keep in mind that a TRO is only a temporary order and you can attend the Injunction Hearing to challenge the claims made in the petition for a TRO.
An Injunction Hearing follows the issuance of a TRO. An Injunction is a long-term order from a court that prohibits the respondent from taking certain action as it relates to the petitioner. The respondent must be served with notice of the Injunction Hearing. At the hearing, both sides can present evidence to the court to support why the injunction should be granted or not.
Harassment Injunction Penalties in Wisconsin
A Harassment Injunction can be ordered when there is harassing behavior alleged between parties. Harassment can include physical contact with the petitioner, stalking, or engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which harass or intimidate the person and which serve no legitimate purpose. (Wisconsin Statute 813.125(1)(am))
The burden of proof at an Injunction Hearing is less than at a criminal trial. This can often lead to he said/she said arguments. A court must only find reasonable cause to believe that the petitioner has been harassed. (Wisconsin Statute 813.125(4)(a)(3)) A Harassment Injunction is generally in place for up to 4 years.
The penalties for violating an injunction vary depending on the type of order that is violated. However, any violation of an injunction can result in jail time and fines.
Domestic Abuse Injunction Penalties in Wisconsin
A Domestic Abuse Injunction can be ordered by a court when a person alleges that the respondent has engaged in acts of domestic abuse against the petitioner. “Domestic abuse” means certain acts engaged in by one person and that person’s adult family member or household member, an adult who is under the care of the person, a former spouse, an adult with whom the person has or had a dating relationship, or an adult with whom the person shares a child in common. (Wisconsin Statute 813.12(1)(am))
Acts that qualify for a Domestic Abuse Injunction include intentional infliction of pain or injury, sexual assault, stalking, damage to property, or threats to commit any of those acts. A court may grant a Domestic Abuse Injunction if it finds reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has engaged in acts of domestic abuse against the petitioner.
A Domestic Abuse Injunction can be ordered for up to 4 years, or not more than 10 years if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a substantial risk that he respondent may commit first or second degree intentional homicide or sexual assault against the petitioner.
The burden of proof at injunction hearings is very low. The court must only find reasonable grounds to believe the allegations. Having an attorney represent you to present evidence and witnesses to dispute the claims can make the difference between having an injunction issued against you or not.
If you are convicted of violating a Domestic Abuse Injunction you face a fine up to $1,000 and up to 9 months in jail.
Intimidating a Witness Penalties in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, a person can be charged with Intimidating of a Witness if they “knowingly and maliciously prevent or dissuade or attempt to prevent or dissuade any witness from attending or giving testimony at trial” or other hearing related to a court case. (Wisconsin Statute 940.42)
Intimidating a witness can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The severity of the offense depends on whether force is used or threatened, and the degree to which that force is used or threatened. If charged as a misdemeanor, intimidating a witness carries a maximum penalty of 9 months in jail, a $10,000 fine or both. Felony level intimidating a witness carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $25,000 fine or both.
This charge can arise out of a variety of conduct. The state will often charge this offense if they believe a person charged with a criminal offense asks a witness to that criminal offense not to come to court. This charge often accompanies charges of Disorderly Conduct Domestic Abuse and Battery Domestic Abuse.
Intimidating a witness can also have a charge modifier of domestic abuse. If the witness that is being intimidated shares a domestic relationship with the person being charged, the state will add a domestic abuse modifier to the charge.
A common issue in these types of cases is direct evidence of the intimidation. Often the state will rely on the statement of a witness who claims they were told not to attend court by the person charged with a crime. Like many domestic abuse cases, the evidence is often he said/she said.