Why you can't afford to dismiss battery charges

It's a situation that plays out in living rooms, barrooms, locker rooms, dorm rooms and all other types of locations on a daily basis: an argument erupts, tempers flare and a physical altercation ensues.

While much of the time these rows are broken up relatively quickly, there are other times when things escalate out of control, such that one party suffers some manner of physical trauma and law enforcement is summoned.

As much as the parties involved in these types of incidents might want to simply put the matter behind them or dismiss it as no big deal, the reality is that the person who suffered the physical trauma might not share this view. Indeed, it's entirely possible that one person might find themselves placed under arrest for misdemeanor battery.

How does Wisconsin define misdemeanor battery?

A person is considered to have committed misdemeanor battery in the state of Wisconsin if they intentionally cause bodily harm to another person or bodily harm without that person's consent.

What constitutes "bodily harm?"

Bodily harm is defined as "physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition."

What this essentially means is that actions resulting in everything from black eyes and bruises to cuts and scrapes would likely constitute misdemeanor battery.

How is misdemeanor battery punished?   

Misdemeanor battery is defined as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning a conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to nine months in jail. Furthermore, where a defendant uses or threatens to use a "dangerous weapon" in the commission of a battery, their sentence can be increased by up to six months.

What's considered a "dangerous weapon?"  

State law defines a dangerous weapon as any of the following:

  • Firearms (loaded or unloaded)
  • Devices designed as weapons, and capable of producing death or great bodily harm
  • Devices used on the throat, neck, nose, or mouth of another to impede breathing or circulation of blood
  • Electric weapons (stun guns, etc.)
  • Devices that, in the manner used or intended to be used, are likely to produce death or great bodily harm (bottles, chairs, etc.)

We'll continue this discussion in a future post, examining felony battery charges.

In the meantime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you've been charged with any manner of violent crime as the stakes are simply too high. 

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