Battery, also commonly referred to as assault, is a serious offense under Wisconsin law.
Just as individual acts of battery can range in exerted force and resulting injuries, the consequences also range in severity.
This article will help answer questions you may have concerning the misdemeanor charge of battery and associated penalties, as well as offer you guidance if you need to defend against battery charges.
If you have questions about felony battery charges you may be facing, such as aggravated battery or substantial battery, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case, potential penalties and a legal defense strategy.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what constitutes the misdemeanor offense of battery.
What is Misdemeanor Battery in Wisconsin?
At its core, battery is the act of intentionally harming or injuring another person (including an unborn child). The intensity of the physical violence exerted, severity of injuries and, if relevant, what type of weapon was utilized in the attack all inform the level and severity of the charge.
Most people assume terms like battery, assault or assault and battery are limited to acts such as a pushing, punching, kicking or choking. However, any act which intentionally inflicts injury to another would be considered battery.
If you are facing charges relating to domestic abuse, you may also want to read this article.
Are Battery Charges the Same in Every State?
The specific legal definition of the terms “assault” and “battery” will vary depending on the state in which the offense was alleged to have taken place, as each state has its own laws and language addressing this category of offenses.
For example, the definition of “battery” is clearly defined in Wisconsin State Statute 940.19:
“Whoever causes bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause bodily harm to that person or another without the consent of the person so harmed is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.”
In Wisconsin, the term “assault” is reserved for use in describing acts of sexual assault.
The law in other states will recognize their own terminology and definitions (and penalties) for these types of offenses. For example, the state of Illinois uses both terms “assault” and “battery” to describe different acts, as you can see under Illinois General Assembly’s 720 ILCS 5/12-1.
For the purpose of this article, we will keep our focus on battery charges in Wisconsin.
If you or someone you love is facing battery charges in Wisconsin or Illinois, it is important to get in touch with an experienced attorney to start building a solid defense strategy.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Battery in Wisconsin
Just as definitions of battery (and assault) will vary from state to state, depending on the language contained in their laws, penalties associated with these charges will also vary from state to state.
Sticking with our example, the state of Wisconsin considers Battery (as described above) to be a Class A misdemeanor.
The penalties for a Class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin include a fine up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment up to 9 months.
If you are facing battery charges of any kind, it is vital to your legal defense to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
How to Defend Against Battery Charges
The circumstances surrounding any case of battery are unique and inform both the charges against you, as well as your defense.
Perhaps you have been falsely accused of battery or were defending yourself. Whatever the details are, it is crucial to share them with a qualified attorney right away.
It is also very important that you share any known medical conditions, diagnoses or symptoms with your attorney, as well. There are medical conditions, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.), which can possibly be relevant to your case and used in your defense.
While anyone can experience P.T.S.D., a large percentage of those suffering from this condition are military veterans.
How Do I Choose the Best Lawyer to Help Defend Me Against Battery Charges?
There are many important considerations in choosing the right lawyer for your specific needs.
It is important to find an attorney who is well-practiced in the law of the same state in which you were charged with battery or other offense(s). It is not imperative the attorney’s office be located in the same state as there are law firms located in cities bordering the state line which may be well-experienced working under the laws of two different states, bringing added depth of value to your defense—and often at more competitive rates.
Be sure that you choose a criminal defense attorney. This type of lawyer should specialize in the type of legal defense required to fight battery charges: criminal defense.
Make sure the attorney you choose has a winning record. You want a proven and successful attorney working for you in your defense.
Finally, cost is an important consideration for most people in hiring an attorney to represent them in court. Some attorneys may offer special discounts for which you may qualify. For example, The Fitzgerald Law Firm in Beloit offers discounted rates to Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, Retired and Honorably Separated personnel of the Armed Forces, as well as Police Officers, Firefighters and others who have committed their lives to public service.
Explore your options, but do so quickly as getting your defense in place is key to helping improve the outcome of your case.
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Facing criminal charges such as battery, is an unsure and stressful time. While gaining a more thorough understanding of how the law defines misdemeanor battery can help answer questions you may have about this offense and possibly relieve some of the anxiety you may be experiencing, individual online research is no substitute for building a strong defense.
Photo credit: Victoria Kovios