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The Crime of Battery in Wisconsin

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin criminal defense attorney, Wisconsin defense lawyer, violent crimesBattery is one of the more common crimes prosecuted is Wisconsin. However, just because it is common does not mean that it is trivial. Whether it started as a bar fight, self-defense, or just a momentary lapse, the crime of battery charge can have serious consequences, if it is not handled properly. Consequently, people should understand how Wisconsin Law defines the different levels of battery, along with the potential defenses that may be available to them, which may range from consent by the other side to acting in self-defense.

What Constitutes Battery

Although the crime of battery is often discussed as though it were a single crime, there are actually a variety of levels to it under Wisconsin law. The lowest level of battery is simple battery, a Class A misdemeanor that the law defines as intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. The extra levels of battery increase in severity as the harm and the intent behind it get more serious. For instance, if a person causes great bodily harm, but only intends to cause bodily harm, then the crime gets upgraded to a Class H felony, but if the person intended to cause great bodily harm in addition to actually causing it, then the crime is a Class E felony.

These different classifications have important ramifications for the sentences that the judge may hand down following a conviction. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to nine months in prison along with a potential $10,000 fine. On the other end of the scale, a Class E felony can result in a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Defenses to Battery

The law provides a variety of different defenses to the crime of battery. One of the most common is that the bodily injury was inflicted in self-defense or in the defense of another person. However, there are limitations to this sort of defense. A person is only privileged to respond with enough force to prevent the attack from continuing. For instance, a person may only respond with deadly force unless they reasonably believe that they are acting to prevent severe bodily harm or death.

Another defense to battery is consent by the other person. If the other person consented to the bodily injury, then there is no crime. However, this defense is also limited in an important way. Based on the Wisconsin battery statute, it only applies to misdemeanor battery where ordinary bodily harm is inflicted. In more severe cases of battery, consent no longer acts as a defense.

Battery charges can lead to severe penalties, if they result in a conviction. If you are facing such charges, contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney today to learn more about your rights.
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