Wisconsin Domestic Violence Defense – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about a Domestic Violence Charge/Arrest

What is Domestic Violence?

Wisconsin criminal law classifies domestic violence as a crime if violence occurs between persons who live together. It also extends to people who do not live together, but are dating or share a child or children together.

Crimes frequently charged as domestic violence can include, but are not limited to:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Battery
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Violation of a domestic violence injunction (restraining order)

If you are accused of domestic violence, you have powerful forces aligned you in Wisconsin’s judicial system:

  • Most jurisdictions in Wisconsin have mandatory arrest policies for police who find themselves in a situation where one person merely accuses another of domestic violence.
  • Domestic violence advocates have a powerful presence in the Wisconsin State capitol where new laws are passed every session extending the scope of what is considered a domestic violence crime. In Milwaukee County, domestic violence advocates work in conjunction with three different courts and a Court Commissioner who are devoted solely to domestic violence cases.
  • Milwaukee County has a Federal grant that funds not only those three courts and Commissioner, but also a squadron of District Attorneys…all dealing with domestic violence cases.

It is no surprise that an average citizen in this situation quickly finds themselves over their head and in need of an experienced domestic violence attorney.

What will happen to me after I am arrested for a Domestic Violence crime?

  • You have an initial appearance in court, at which bail is set, and a “No Contact Order” is issued.
  • A pre-trial hearing will be the next court date, which takes place front of a special Domestic Violence Commissioner. The District Attorney will make an offer stating what the recommended sentence will be, in hope of getting a quick guilty plea.

What will happen to me if I am charged with Domestic Violence?

Similar to anyone else charged with criminal activity. Court appearances; Conditional bail or bond; Plea-bargaining or trial in court; If convicted, sentencing.

What are the conditions of bail or bond?

Cash bail means a person must post the set amount as an assurance they will appear in court. You will be released on a personal recognizance bond, with the personal promise of returning to court.

Conditions may also be set by the court that can include, but not limited to:

  • Absolute sobriety
  • No Contact order

What is a No Contact Order?

No Contact Order prohibits the person accused of a domestic violence crime from having any contact of any kind with the alleged victim.

No Contact Orders are enforced by a separate criminal statute called “Bail Jumping” that has its own sentencing possibilities of jail, fines or both.

Does a No Contact Order apply if I am married or if I share children with the alleged victim?

Yes. At the same time, your attorney may be able to modify the No Contact Order to prohibit only violent contact with the alleged victim, and to arrange third party visitation with your children.

How can you help me defend myself and fight a Wisconsin Domestic Violence charge?

In most cases, the State wants a quick guilty plea because it is difficult to prove the case at trial. In fact, most domestic violence cases are notorious for having a high day of trial dismissal rate due to victims changing their minds and the difficulty of finding witnesses or them refusing to attend court.

However, there are a limited number of cases where a District Attorney can prosecute without a victim being present. These cases lend themselves to early resolution due to the State having a better chance to prove their case at trial.

It often makes sense to reject the District Attorney’s initial plea offer and proceed to a jury trial. But it is critically important to have an experienced domestic violence defense attorney who can evaluate your case, and what route will be best for you in your specific set of circumstances.

Call me for a consultation on your case at (888) 828-6041, and I’ll give you some specific suggestions after I understand the facts of your particular situation.

What penalties will I face if I plead guilty or am convicted at trial on a Domestic Violence Charge?

Also see my domestic violence penalties page.

Your attorney can argue for probation or a fine which can be granted by the court with some conditions, which typically include:

  • battery counseling
  • absolute sobriety
  • alcohol/drug assessment
  • and other conditions…

The court may impose a jail sentence that will be served only if your probation is violated. You will also be unable to own a firearm for the rest of your life.

The court may also immediately impose a jail sentence or fine.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with domestic violence, domestic battery, or any other crime in Wisconsin, call me for a consultation on your legal options. There’s no obligation, so you have nothing to lose. Call now. (888) 828-6041

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