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Drop Domestic Charges How to Drop Domestic Violence Charges in Wisconsin

To get domestic violence charges dropped in Wisconsin, how you navigate the proceedings could impact your success, such as how you navigate a no-contact order. Misdemeanor battery penalties in Wisconsin include up to 9 months in jail, a fine reaching $10,000 and other fees and possible consequences.

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Domestic violence charges in Wisconsin can have life-altering consequences. How you respond to a Wisconsin no contact order and or charges could impact the success of getting your charges dropped in court. When in doubt, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

How to drop domestic violence charges in Wisconsin

Penalties for misdemeanor battery in Wisconsin:

  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • an additional Domestic Violence fee of $100
  • Increased jail sentence (up to 6 additional months) for using or threatening to use a weapon
  • Community service
  • Probation

Charges are often “bundled” with other offenses, which could include assault, battery, and domestic disorderly conduct. You could be facing extensive fines or even jail time.

One fact in your favor is that police often make domestic violence arrests for minor incidents. When an argument gets out of hand, when voices are raised and objects are thrown, the police may take you into custody, reasoning "better safe than sorry." When the true facts come to light down the road, the entire matter may be dropped, with the assistance of a skilled attorney.

Steps to dropping a domestic violence charge:

  1. You will probably want a lawyer to carefully examine the evidence against you, any potential witnesses and their likelihood of testifying, and the intentions of the alleged victim. The prosecutor will generally want you to quickly accept a plea bargain, as domestic violence is often hard to prove, perhaps hanging on the testimony of reluctant witnesses. You will want to pay close attention to the advice of your legal counsel rather than letting the State bully you into accepting their first offer in a misguided attempt to get things "over with."
  2. Stay away from the alleged victim, at least for a while. Domestic violence arrests automatically come with a 72-hour no contact law, during which time you must avoid the victim’s home and not contact them in any way, even via a friend. Second, it is often wise to enroll in anger management classes or domestic violence counseling. Doing so cannot be used as evidence against you. Instead, it will cast you in a more favorable and responsible light in the eyes of the judge or jury.
  3. Keep quiet. You will naturally feel angry and defensive when the police accuse you of being a domestic abuser. But remember: "Anything you say can and will be used against you." Unless you are acting on the advice of your attorney, nothing can be gained by trying to tell your side of the story. You will only be providing the state with testimony they can comb for evidence or twist into an admission of guilt.

Dropping domestic violence charges, in summary:

  1. Do not contact the alleged victim;
  2. Do not talk to the police;
  3. Take action to show you are mature and responsible;
  4. Get an experienced domestic violence lawyer.

As a Victim, Can I Drop Domestic Violence Charges?

No. Domestic violence charges are typically brought by the state or the government, not by the victim directly. Although a victim cannot directly drop domestic violence charges, there are a few steps the victim can take.

Modify Bond Conditions to Allow Contact

Wisconsin Statute 968.075 (5) (a) states,

Unless there is a waiver under par. (c), during the 72 hours immediately following an arrest for a domestic abuse incident, the arrested person shall avoid the residence of the alleged victim of the domestic abuse incident and, if applicable, any premises temporarily occupied by the alleged victim, and avoid contacting or causing any person, other than law enforcement officers and attorneys for the arrested person and alleged victim, to contact the alleged victim."

According to Wisconsin law, at any time during the 72-hour period, the alleged victim may sign a written waiver of the requirements above. To sign the waiver you must contact the law enforcement agency and the defendant’s lawyer. A domestic battery defense lawyer will be able to appear in court almost immediately in order to ask the judge to permit contact.

Have the Defendant’s Lawyer Approach the Court for a Dismissal

One option for having charges dismissed includes going to the court with evidence. The DA might dismiss the case if there is any evidence, including witness statements, that persuades the DA that it is impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that domestic violence occurred. It’s important to hire an experienced lawyer who can build a strong case for the defendant. The information presented will be weighed along with evidence from the police.

Consult with a Lawyer about the Opportunity to Confer

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, a victim can request to confer. To confer with the prosecutor means to discuss the case and its possible outcomes. In some instances, as appropriate, the prosecutor can give the responsibility of conferring to other staff. If a victim requests to confer, the discussions can include possible outcomes including potential plea agreements, sentencing recommendations, and disposition information. The prosecutor is not required to make decisions about the case based on what a victim says or believes should happen.

Factsheet: Dropping Domestic Violence Charges as a Victim

  • A domestic battery victim cannot cannot drop the charges.
  • A domestic battery victim is seen as a witness and does not dictate how the government proceeds.
  • Personal calls to the police department are unlikely to result in the case being dropped.
  • Police are also considered witnesses and do not have the authority to drop the case.
  • The case is not affected by the victim not showing up to court (when a subpoena is absent).
  • It is a criminal offense to obstruct the service of a subpoena. It is not helpful to the case to ignore a subpoena.

To learn more about how to drop domestic violence charges in Wisconsin, speak with a Grieve Law attorney.

At Grieve Law in Waukesha, our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience assisting people accused of domestic violence, OWI and possession. We are exceedingly proud of our reputation as lawyers who zealously defend our clients’ rights and, more importantly, win. Don’t hesitate to call us today for a free consultation.

Contact our Milwaukee domestic assault defense lawyers today for a FREE legal advice consultation.

Is it possible to get domestic violence charges dropped and off your record in Wisconsin?

It’s very unlikely a domestic violence charge will be dropped from your record after you’ve already been convicted. The best way to keep a domestic violence charge off your record is by not getting convicted in the first place. You’ll want to hire a criminal defense attorney that specializes in domestic violence cases to help fight for you in court. 

It’s possible the alleged domestic violence victim doesn’t show up to court or participate in the prosecution. In this case, a prosecution would not be able to happen and the charges would be dismissed. However, this isn’t always what happens. If there’s proof such as video footage or other undeniable evidence, the judge can use that to charge you.


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