Wisconsin Criminal Law & Practice Overview

 

Working exclusively for over 17 years as both a Prosecutor and Criminal Defense Attorney has given me the foundation, knowledge, and experience to serve as an exceptional criminal defense attorney today and to determine the best course of action for defending any criminal charge or handling any situation within the criminal justice system. I have developed the ability to see both sides of a case and more importantly have an understanding of how all parties see a case and how a judge may interpret a case or rule on certain issues. I have handled thousands of Misdemeanor and Felony cases concerning every type of criminal offense. I take pride in clearly communicating with clients regarding their options and what I believe is in their best interests. I have a passion for trial work and am very comfortable arguing motions and trials before judges and juries in all types of cases. I am also a skilled negotiator and know how to present my client to the court in a professional and positive manner to help the client put their best foot forward in the eyes of the court. I work hard to obtain the best results possible in court conferences and other negotiations often leading to deferred prosecutions or dismissal of charges for first offenders on Felonies and Misdemeanors depending on the jurisdiction and facts of the case. The Richard Albanese Law Office handles cases across the State of Wisconsin including Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, and Rock Counties. Our office also has qualified referrals available in other jurisdictions. Our firm handles cases or has competent referral attorneys practicing in many other cities, towns, and villages across Wisconsin as well as Illinois.

 

 

The Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor or Forfeiture in Wisconsin

 

A crime punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prisons is a felony. Every other crime is a misdemeanor. Forfeitures, like Ordinance violations, are fine-only offenses and do not carry jail sentences as a potential penalty. Unlike Illinois, there is no court supervision available as a sentence. Most dispositions involve a conviction and often a term or Probation and/or a fine. Unlike Illinois, a judge can often grant a future expungement of an offense at the time of sentencing so a separate petition and hearing is not required after the termination of the case. The law provides that when a person is under the age of 25 at the time of the commission of an offense for which the person has been found guilty in a court for violation of a law for which the maximum period of imprisonment is 6 years or less, the court may order at the time of sentencing that the record be expunged upon successful completion of the sentence if the court determines the person will benefit and society will not be harmed by this disposition. This subsection does not apply to information maintained by the department of transportation regarding a conviction that is required to be kept. The court shall order at the time of sentencing that the record be expunged upon successful completion of the sentence if the offense was a violation of certain privacy laws and the person was under the age of 18 when he or she committed it.

Felony Charges in Wisconsin

 

(1) Felonies in the statutes are classified as follows:
     (a) Class A felony
     (b) Class B felony
     (c) Class C felony
     (d) Class D felony
     (e) Class E felony
     (f) Class F felony
     (g) Class G felony
     (h) Class H felony
     (i) Class I felony

(2) A felony is a Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, or I felony when it is so specified in the statutes.

(3) Penalties for felonies are as follows:
      (a) For a Class A felony, life imprisonment.
      (b) For a Class B felony, imprisonment not to exceed 60 years.
      (c) For a Class C felony, a fine not to exceed $100,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 40 years, or both.
      (d) For a Class D felony, a fine not to exceed $100,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 25 years, or both.
      (e) For a Class E felony, a fine not to exceed $50,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 years, or both.
      (f)  For a Class F felony, a fine not to exceed $25,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 years and 6 months, or both.
      (g) For a Class G felony, a fine not to exceed $25,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 10 years, or both.
      (h) For a Class H felony, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 6 years, or both.
      (i)  For a Class I felony, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 3 years and 6 months, or both.

Some common Wisconsin Felony Charges include:

(1) Possession of Controlled Substance
(2) OWI 4th offense or greater within 5 years of prior offense
(3) Burglary
(4) Theft
(5) Aggravated Battery to Police Officer
(6) Robbery
(7) Identity Theft
(8) Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle
(9) Forgery

Misdemeanor Charges in Wisconsin

 

(1) Misdemeanors in chs. 939 - 951 are classified as follows:
     (a) Class A misdemeanor
     (b) Class B misdemeanor
     (c) Class C misdemeanor

(2) A misdemeanor is a Class A, B or C misdemeanor when it is so specified in chs.939 to 951.

(3) Penalties for misdemeanors are as follows:
      (a) For a Class A misdemeanor, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 9 months, or both.
      (b) For a Class B misdemeanor, a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both.
      (c) For a Class C misdemeanor, a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or both.

Some Common Misdemeanor charges in Wisconsin Include:

          •    Theft of Property Worth Less Than $2,500
          •    Resisting or Obstructing an Officer
          •    Hazing
          •    Prostitution
          •    Solicitation
          •    Battery or Assault
          •    Hit and Run NOT Involving Great Bodily Harm
          •    OWI with Minor in the Car
          •    Intoxicated Boating
          •    Domestic Battery
          •    Disorderly Conduct
          •    Indecent Exposure
          •    Telephonic Harassment
          •    Minor Gambling Crimes (e.g. conducting a lottery)
          •    Trespassing
          •    Vandalism
          •    Minor in Possession of Alcohol
          •    Facilitating Underage Drinking
          •    Vagrancy
          •    Contributing to the Truancy of a Child
          •    Making Fraudulent Employee Benefit Claims
          •    Deer Hunting Violations
          •    Various Food Regulation Violations
 

Forfeiture Offenses & Ordinance Violations in Wisconsin

 

In Wisconsin, most traffic offenses and other minor offenses such as underage drinking are considered forfeiture or ordinance violations. These offenses are punishable by fine only, but often have serious ancillary consequences such as with Underage Possession or Consumption of Alcohol or OWI 1st. Wisconsin is the only State in the United States in which OWI or DUI is considered a civil forfeiture and not a criminal offense for a first offense.

(1) Except as provided in ss. 946.86 and 946.87, forfeitures in chs. 939 to 951 are classified as follows:
       (a) Class A forfeiture
       (b) Class B forfeiture
       (c) Class C forfeiture
       (d) Class D forfeiture
       (e) Class E forfeiture

(2) A forfeiture is a Class A, B, C, D or E forfeiture when it is so specified in chs. 939 to 951.

(3) Penalties for forfeitures are as follows:
      (a) For a Class A forfeiture, a forfeiture not to exceed $10,000.
      (b) For a Class B forfeiture, a forfeiture not to exceed $1,000.
      (c) For a Class C forfeiture, a forfeiture not to exceed $500.
      (d) For a Class D forfeiture, a forfeiture not to exceed $200.
      (e) For a Class E forfeiture, a forfeiture not to exceed $25.
 

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