Have you been accused of domestic violence? If so, contact the experienced and understanding Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers at Hart Powell, S.C. today. Wisconsin’s legal system is very strict when it comes to domestic violence accusations and many districts have a mandatory arrest policy for police who respond to a domestic violence call. Accusations of domestic violence can tarnish an individual’s reputation in their community, with friends and family, and beyond. In addition to the potential criminal penalties a domestic violence conviction can carry, you may have trouble finding housing and employment in the future, and lose certain valuable rights.
Do not submit a plea or try to explain your side of the story before speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney such as those at Hart Powell, S.C.. Many accusations of domestic violence are exaggerated or entirely false, but if you try to explain that without the help of a lawyer, you may end up incriminating yourself accidentally. Every case is different, so it is important to have an experienced Milwaukee domestic violence defense attorney review the details of your case and build a strong defense on your behalf. To learn more about your legal rights and how to protect yourself from conviction and severe penalties, call Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595 to discuss your case today.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be life-altering, including heavy fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. If you try to defend yourself or leave your defense up to an exhausted and overworked public defender, your chance of a conviction is high. Instead, hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer to protect your freedom and your future. A lawyer can help because they:
- Know the law
- Are familiar with possible defenses to domestic violence
- Can gather the most relevant evidence to help your case
- Can ensure that your constitutional rights have not and will not be violated
Responding appropriately to the prosecution and court is essential to the outcome of your case. An attorney can help protect you and your rights by ensuring you are not pressured into making statements that do not reflect the truth. When the stakes are so high, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer to protect your rights and give yourself the best chance.
Why Choose Us?
At Hart Powell, S.C., we have been representing clients accused of criminal offenses in the Milwaukee area and nationwide for over 30 years in both state and federal court. Our team of experienced and compassionate attorneys believes that people are innocent until proven guilty and that each individual has the right to diligent and dedicated legal representation. As such, we strive to treat each client with compassion and respect regardless of the accusation.
Over the years, we have helped clients receive reduced sentences, not guilty verdicts, and even dropped charges. Our team of experienced attorneys can help in all phases of the pretrial process, and if your case goes to trial, we can fight for your rights in the courtroom. No matter what your needs, our team of skilled Milwaukee and nationwide criminal defense attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. have you covered. Our lawyers have been named Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for multiple years, a testament to our skill and experience.
Cases We Handle
Domestic violence can be a behavior or a set of behaviors by one person in a relationship whereby they try to control the behavior of another person, and often involves an act of physical aggression. In Wisconsin, domestic battery differs from other acts of assault and battery when the victim is the spouse, fiancee, girlfriend, boyfriend, or is a person who shares a child with the alleged abuser. Many people wrongly assume that two people have to be married to be accused of domestic battery, but it actually extends to anyone who currently or formerly resides with the other individual. Examples of actions that can be charged as domestic violence include:
- Intentionally inflicting injury or illness
- Impairing the other individual’s physical condition
- Behaving in a manner that would cause the other person to fear for their physical safety
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
- Criminal damage to property
- Child abuse
- Criminal trespass to property
Additional charges may be filed if there is an existing restraining order in place, or if a weapon was used during the assault. A non-arrest at the time the police are called out to investigate does not mean that charges will not be filed against you. Any officer who does not make an arrest after being sent out for a domestic violence call is required to submit a report to the District Attorney detailing the claim and call, and charges may still be filed against you by the state.
What are the Immediate Ramifications of a Domestic Violence Charge?
An accusation of domestic violence can have a severe impact on your life and your livelihood. The stigma that comes with these allegations can harm your career and your standing in the community. That’s why it is so important to immediately take action to defend yourself against these harmful accusations. There are several immediate consequences that come with a domestic violence charge, including:
An officer responding to a domestic violence call must arrest the accused offender if the responding officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged offender committed domestic violence, the victim is injured, the abuse seems likely to continue, or the accused is the dominant abuser in the relationship. In determining whether the accused is a dominant abuser, the police will consider the history of abuse, statements from witnesses, the severity of physical injuries, to what degree the victims feel safe, how likely abuse is to resume, and if anyone acted in self-defense or defense of another person.
No Contact Orders
An individual who is arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Wisconsin will not be allowed to go near the victim or the victim’s home for 72 hours after the arrest. This means that if the two share a home, the accused individual will not be able to return home until that time period has ended. The only exception to this is if the victim signs a written waiver. It is critical that you not contact the victim in any way during this time period, because the penalties for violating a no-contact order are severe. Violation of a no contact order might include a fine of up to $10,000 and 9 months in jail. Be sure to contact an attorney as soon as you are able to after your arrest to discuss your rights and legal options.
Temporary Restraining Orders
Victims of domestic abuse in Wisconsin have the immediate right to file a temporary restraining order against their abuser. A temporary restraining order is often granted shortly after a charge is filed and without notice to the charged individual, which are known as “ex parte” proceedings. A hearing is then scheduled within 14 days for the judge to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be extended into a full restraining order.
Violation of a temporary restraining order may include up to 9 months incarceration and fines of up to $1,000, so it is crucial that you not try to contact the victim while a temporary restraining order is in place. Instead, make sure to hire qualified legal counsel to help you understand your options moving forward.
Restraining orders can last anywhere from four years to ten years. The length of time the order will be in effect will depend on the crime that resulted in the domestic violence charge, if there is a history of other domestic violence charges, and if there is a likelihood of further violence. A full restraining order can severely limit your ability to freely go about your life and visit your children and family, so it is critical to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Your legal counsel will assess the situation and will help protect you against possible restraining orders.
The three most common charges for a person accused of domestic violence are battery, substantial battery, and aggravated battery. The charge and the possible punishment will vary depending on the severity of the physical injuries suffered by the victim, and whether any weapons were used to injure or threaten the victim. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding a case, a conviction carries the potential penalty of 9 months to 15 years in prison. These sentences can become longer if the offender has any previous convictions.
Any person who is convicted of committing domestic violence is required to pay a special fee of $100. Depending on the charge, the perpetrator may be assessed fines ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 if convicted.
Possible Family Law Ramifications of Domestic Violence Charges
If convicted of domestic violence, any civil orders already in effect involving children you have—with the victim or even with another co-parent—may be affected. A criminal conviction for domestic violence may lead the co-parent or Child Protective Services (CPS) to file suit against you and request a reduction in your custody, visitation, access, and even your parental rights.
The last thing you want for your family is for CPS to start an investigation and a civil lawsuit because of a charge or conviction of domestic violence. Let Hart Powell, S.C. set you on the right path by addressing the criminal charges head-on to protect your freedom and preserve your right to see your family.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. Mounting a defense to domestic violence can be challenging, but there are some common defenses against domestic violence charges, including:
- Defense of others
- Mistaken identity
- Consent (particularly in cases of sexual violence)
- Exaggeration of the facts
- Lack of evidence or proof
- Deliberately false allegations
- Violation of rights when obtaining evidence
Which of these defenses will work best in your case will depend on the details of your situation. An experienced lawyer from Hart Powell, S.C. will be able to investigate the charges against you and the circumstances of your case to determine what the best defense will be in your situation.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, the attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. are ready to help you fight the charges and clear your name. We understand that these accusations can be frightening, especially if they threaten your job or your ability to see your children. Our team has extensive experience helping people just like you get the charges against them reduced or dropped. We realize that in some instances individuals are wrongly accused, or the details of the event are exaggerated to paint the accused in a bad light. In any case, we believe that all individuals are entitled to be treated fairly, have their side of the story told, and have their rights protected. We are ready to help you protect your future and your livelihood.
The Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. have a thorough understanding of the techniques used by prosecutors and will build a strong, strategic defense to oppose their claims against you. Our attorneys will gather every piece of evidence and information needed to successfully protect your rights. Time is of the essence when dealing with a criminal charge like domestic violence, so don’t wait to contact us. Schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team by calling (414) 271-9595, chatting with us live on our site, or by filling out a contact form today.