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What is domestic violence in Wisconsin?

If you are a Wisconsin resident who is or has been the victim of domestic violence, you probably are wondering what you can do to prevent future abuse. As explained by FindLaw, even though Wisconsin has no specific law against domestic violence, it does have other laws that can be and often are applied to a domestic violence situation.

In Wisconsin, domestic abuse is defined as someone committing any of the following against you if you are his spouse or former spouse, a person with whom he lives or has lived in the past, or with whom he has had a child:

  • The intentional infliction of injury, pain or illness
  • Sexual assault
  • Any abusive physical act or threat thereof

Criminal charges

Law enforcement officers must arrest anyone they believe has perpetrated domestic abuse against you if you show signs of physical injury and/or they believe that the abuse will continue. Should the alleged perpetrator be able to gain his immediate release from jail, he nevertheless must avoid all contact with you for 72 hours, including by telephone or by appearing at your home or place of work. If the alleged perpetrator violates this no-contact rule, he could face up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Battery

Battery is a crime with which an alleged domestic violence perpetrator often is charged. The three kinds of battery in Wisconsin are as follows:

  • Battery - causing intentional bodily harm; Class A misdemeanor carrying a potential punishment of nine months’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine
  • Substantial battery - causing intentional substantial bodily harm; Class I felony carrying a potential punishment of imprisonment for three and one-half years and a $10,000 fine
  • Aggravated battery - causing intentional great bodily harm; Class E felony carrying a potential punishment of imprisonment for 15 years and a $50,000 fine

In addition to criminal prosecution, you have several civil remedies available to you, including an order of protection, a temporary restraining order and an injunction. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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