The breakdown of personal relationships can lead to many painful consequences. Sometimes domestic violence can play a role in these situations, but often a person is wrongly accused of harming or trying to harm someone in a relationship with them. If you are accused of this crime, you should seek the advice of a lawyer skilled at defending domestic abuse cases in Wisconsin. A conviction can carry serious penalties that can affect the rest of your life.Domestic Abuse and Restraining Orders
Wisconsin defines the crime of domestic abuse or domestic violence as injuring, inflicting pain or fear, or sexually assaulting a person in one’s family or household. A police officer is often required to take into custody anyone whom the officer reasonably believes has committed this crime in situations such as when continued abuse is likely or the victim has suffered physical injuries. In most situations, a person who is taken into custody for domestic abuse must stay away from the victim’s residence and not contact the victim for the next 72 hours.
A related crime is the violation of a restraining order. These orders, which are also called final injunctions, require one person to stay away from another person for up to four years. Victims of domestic violence often seek final injunctions and can receive temporary restraining orders while waiting for a hearing on a final injunction. For the purposes of a restraining order, domestic abuse extends beyond the criminal damage to include inflicting property damage. It also extends to a broader group of potential victims, including adult caregivers and people who are dating but not in a long-standing relationship.
Violating the no-contact requirement after an arrest for domestic abuse can lead to a penalty of up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. A person who violates a temporary restraining order may face a penalty of up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Incidents of domestic violence are punished as the crimes of which they consist. For example, someone arrested for domestic abuse may be convicted of battery, sexual assault, sexual abuse, intimidation, trespass, or harassment, among other crimes. Beyond the penalties for those crimes, a defendant involved in a domestic violence incident must pay a special fee of $100.
More importantly, a repeat domestic abuser may have their jail or prison sentences for the underlying crime extended by up to two years. A repeat domestic abuser is someone who either:
- Commits an act of domestic abuse within 72 hours of being arrested for a domestic abuse incident; or
- Has been previously convicted within the last 10 years of two crimes for which the court could impose the special domestic violence fee.
Beyond the specific penalties associated with this offense, a conviction of domestic violence can have significant long-term effects on your life. As a criminal defendant, you have a wide range of rights available to protect you from prosecution if you have been unjustly charged. The knowledgeable Wisconsin domestic violence attorneys at Nicolet Lawyers have accumulated years of experience defending ordinary people mistakenly accused of harming or trying to harm other people in their lives. You may not be aware of all your options, but we are available to discuss the details of your specific case and develop a legal strategy for you. Contact us at (773) 562-6884 or through our online form to set up an initial consultation at no cost.