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Domestic Violence Defense
What is a Domestic Violence Charge?
In Wisconsin there is not a Domestic Violence charge per se. It is not a stand alone charge, but rather an enhancer that attaches to one of many different Wisconsin criminal charges. There are a few situations where you can end up being charged with a Domestic Abuse Enhancer. Most of the time we think of a domestic violence in the sense of a husband and wife fight. However, under Wisconsin statute § 968.075 you can be charged with domestic abuse if you engage in certain acts against your spouse or former spouse, as well as against an adult with whom you reside or formerly resided or against an adult with whom you have a child in common. This definition includes roommates. Domestic abuse charges can also result if you violate a restraining order.
Any violent act or “intentional impairment of a physical condition” can result in a domestic violence charge. Similarly, just being loud and boisterous can lead to a disorderly conduct domestic violence charge. A more serious act like a sexual assault can also be classified as domestic violence.
Do the police have to arrest someone if responding to a Domestic Violence call?
In Wisconsin, if a police officer believes that an act of domestic abuse has occurred, he or she is required by statute to make an arrest. Specifically, the officer will make an arrest if he or she believes continued abuse is likely or if there is evidence of physical injury to the victim. The officer will arrest the individual who they consider the predominant aggressor. If you are arrested, you will have to make bail or be released on a signature bond after seeing a judge. Furthermore, you will be restrained from making contact with the alleged victim for a minimum of 72 hours. In most cases, a condition of your bond will include a no contact order. If you violate that no contact order you may face additional charges.
Additional Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
Certain domestic abuse charges will have increased penalties. Under Wisconsin Statute § 939.621 if you violate the 72 hour injunction or have been convicted twice of a domestic crime within the last ten years your sentence is increased by not more than two years.
Under federal law a misdemeanor domestic violence charge has serious consequences in addition to any state penalties. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922 if you are convicted of a domestic crime at the state level you are prohibited from possessing a gun, ammunition, or explosives. If you are caught possessing any of these items you may face 10 years imprisoned and/ or up to $250,000 fine.