Have you been accused, investigated, or charged with a sex crime in Wisconsin? The Milwaukee sex crime defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. are here to help defend your rights and help you fight the allegations against you. We know that sex crime allegations not only affect the accused but also negatively influence their family and friends. When people are convicted of this type of crime, they face severe penalties, including potential jail sentences and fines. If you are facing criminal charges, contact us today at (414) 271-9595 to begin building a defense on your behalf.
Hart Powell, S.C. has been aggressively defending our clients from sex crime accusations for many years, and we are ready to help you. We have a thorough understanding of how to handle these serious claims and we have the experience you want on your side. Our team of Milwaukee sex crime defense lawyers is solely focused on defending our clients from criminal prosecution. We realize the truth in innocence until proven guilty, and we will not judge you based on the statements of your accuser. You owe it to yourself and your family to defend your reputation from the tarnish that comes from these allegations, and it is important that you seek legal counsel through this difficult time. We are here to help.
The state and federal laws define sexual misconduct in different ways, but the penalties associated with a sex crime conviction are steep for both. We know that your future is at stake, and we are familiar with the severity types of cases. If you have been confronted with harsh assertions that your behavior has been committed with criminal intent, you do not have to deal with the consequences alone. We are prepared to support you through this uphill battle, and we will proudly fight on your behalf. Do not accept these criminal complaints as an inevitable punishment. You have the right to defend yourself in court, and Hart Powell, S.C. has the knowledge and experience to provide you with important legal counsel.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Sex crimes are difficult for everyone involved, and when faced with the full force of the law, defendants can easily feel overwhelmed. The sensitive nature of this type of crime has added weight from the court of public opinion, but a professional attorney understands that justice works differently. You are innocent until proven guilty, and that is all that matters right now. The court system is difficult to navigate, and everyone around you may be skeptical towards your case. An experienced law firm is able to provide you with valuable resources to represent your position, and it is in your best interest to retain their services. If you are convicted, there will be a lifetime of consequences. The truth needs to be heard, and you deserve your day in court.
Why Choose Hart Powell, S.C.
When serious allegations are made against someone regarding sex crimes, there is one firm in Milwaukee that will not hesitate to offer the strong legal representation you need: Hart Powell, S.C.. Our keen awareness of the delicate issues surrounding these types of cases has proven invaluable for successfully defending our clients in the past. We work closely as a team to deliver the best defense possible for our clients, and we will not allow the accusations made against you to stand without a fight. Our legal insight allows us to develop strong and persuasive arguments in your favor, and that is why so many people have trusted us in the past to defend them in court. Do not wait until things go from bad to worse; you need to contact Hart Powell, S.C. now.
Cases We Handle
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the investigation, we believe in defending the rights of every single one of our clients. Many of these types of cases involve state and federal laws, and you need legal representation that is prepared to handle the seriousness of your case. Our firm has worked with several clients involving:
- Rape and Sexual Assault
- Date Rape
- Statutory Rape
- Incest Crimes
- Child Molestation
- Child Pornography
- Indecent Exposure
- Lewd Acts with a Minor
- Internet Harassment
Sexual Assault and Rape
Wisconsin does not use the term “rape” in the state statutes. Instead, the crime of sexual contact or intercourse without consent is called sexual assault. The degree of assault is broken down into four different categories, depending on the extent of the crime. If violence is involved or the victim was incapacitated, the punishment might be steeper. Sexual assault allegations are serious, and an experienced and qualified criminal defense lawyer can often make or break your defense. Our Milwaukee sexual assault defense lawyers will understand the facts of your case, help you understand your legal options, and defend you against the charges. We can give you the peace of mind that you are receiving a solid legal defense, and help you better understand the implications of what happens in court. Your lawyer will be able to investigate the case to determine how you should plead and what defenses are most strategic. They can negotiate a satisfactory plea deal, or work to poke holes in the prosecution’s case to get your charges dropped. With a lawyer on your side, you are more likely to be acquitted or receive a lighter sentence.
Because consent is one of the most common cited defenses for rape, it is imperative that you understand its definition. In Wisconsin, consent is defined as the words or actions given as an agreement to sexual contact or intercourse. The law states consent cannot be given if a victim is:
- Under the age of 18
- Unable to appraise personal conduct due to a mental illness or disability
- Physically unable to communicate disagreement
- Intoxicated to the point that they are unable to provide consent (but only if the defendant knows they are incapable of providing consent)
If you have been subjected to accusations of rape, sexual assault, or sexual battery and have been or expect to be formally charged then it is critically important to take advantage of your legal right to counsel. The punishments for sex crimes in Wisconsin are severe and can affect you for the rest of your life. In the interests of your future, it is essential that you seek legal counsel to fight against these charges.
Date rape is a form of rape which generally follows a typical a series of steps, and tends to occur at social get-togethers such as at parties, at clubs, or at bars. In order to prove that a person has committed date rape, the following steps need to be shown to have occurred:
- One person puts a drug, whether in the form of a pill, powder, or liquid, into a another’s drink. The drug does not affect the drink in any noticeable way, so when it is consumed the vicitm cannot tell that there is a drug in it.
- Some time after consuming the drink with the drug in it, the person begins to feel its effects. Specifically, they gradually lose consciousness. When they wake, they will not be able to remember what happened while “blacked out.”
- With the victim unconscious, the rapist manages to engage in sexual activity with them. This act is considered rape, as there is not consent.
Date rape can occur in college, at adult parties, and even among high school students. People who are victims of date rape often do not want to bring the event up and just want to forget about it. They often do not press charges against the rapists, although it does happen occasionally. If you are being accused of this behavior, the Milwaukee date rape defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C., can use the crucial knowledge we have to help you defend your rights and reputation.
In the state of Wisconsin, statutory rape convictions often carry extremely harsh penalties that could potentially change the course of a person’s life. The Milwaukee statutory rape defense lawyers at Hart Powell, S.C., understand the uncertainty that many defendants feel when they are charged with a serious crime, and we are confident that we can provide defendants with the best legal defense possible. Though penalties related to a statutory rape conviction vary depending on the specific situation, they depend on two primary factors: the age of those involved and the alleged sexual act. Some penalty examples include:
- Sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older: Class A Misdemeanor: up to $10,000; 9 months in jail
- Second-degree sexual assault of a child age 13-15: Class C Felony: up to $100,000; 40 years in prison
- First-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13: Class B Felony: up to 60 years in prison
Beyond a felony/misdemeanor charge, there are additional consequences to a sex crime such as statutory rape. If you are convicted, you will likely have to register as a sex offender for life. This designation can ruin your reputation and permanently affect where you are able to work and live. It can even affect your ability to retain custody over your own children.
Incest is defined as sexual relations between close relatives. It often includes those living in the same household, even if they are not blood relatives. Not only does incest carry severe sentences, but it can destroy one’s reputation. If you have been accused of incest, you are entitled to a defense attorney. It is important to hire an experienced Milwaukee sex crime defense lawyer immediately after the charges have been made. The dedicated Milwaukee incest defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C., have helped defend many clients from serious charges such as these.
There is perhaps no crime that comes with a greater social stigma attached than does the molestation of a child. If you have been accused of molesting a child then you are likely to suffer socially and professionally and you might even become the target of verbal or physical threats. It can be reassuring to know that there are ways to proactively confront child molestation charges. For charges like these, it is particularly important that you build a strong defense case. The Milwaukee child molestation defense attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. may be able to defend you from these heinous accusations.
Lewd Acts with a Minor
In the state of Wisconsin, conducting lewd acts with a minor is considered a sex crime, and can be punished severely. A minor includes any person who is under the age of 18, and “lewd” behavior is considered a “crime against sexual morality,” according to Section 944.20 of the State of Wisconsin’s Reference Bureau. Various behaviors can be considered lewd or lascivious, and can result in charges of lewd acts with a minor. There are numerous acts that the state of Wisconsin might consider lewd and lascivious behavior, and charge a Milwaukee resident for. Some of these acts include:
- Exposing genitals to a minor
- Sharing obscene material with a minor
- Forced viewing / listening to sexual activity
These all could result in charges of lewd acts with a minor, even if the accused believes the acts were consensual. However, facing charges does not mean that a defendant is immediately guilty; in fact, a strong defense can significantly lessen the chances of a conviction, or at least reduce the severity of resulting penalties. Our Milwaukee lewd acts with a minor defense attorneys can help you fight the allegations against you.
Child pornography is commonly defined as sexually suggestive images of minors. It can include printed images or pictures downloaded onto a computer. Wisconsin law handles child pornography possession convictions very seriously. Recently, penalties have altered somewhat, and current penalties for conviction of this crime (if a Class D felony) can include:
- Registration as a sex offender
- Fines up to $100,000
- Up to 25 years in prison
- Living restrictions / probation
Each of these penalties can change a person’s life and can make moving on extremely difficult. But with an experienced and strong defense, you might be able to avoid conviction.
There are many types of mistakes that can lead to false accusations of child pornography possession. Most child pornography is found on computers. However, another person may have been accessing your computer to download the illegal images. Unwanted spam can also cause illegal images to be placed onto your computer. In addition, the exact definition of child pornography can be hazy. It may be possible that the images in question did not contain minors or any sexually explicit material. Our child pornography possession defense lawyers can work with you to build a defense tailored to your specific situation.
When a person is caught participating in prostitution, they could face serious legal consequences. Prostitution is broadly defined as the exchange of sexual acts for money, and can be damaging to someone’s personal and professional goals should a conviction occur. To determine whether the “crime” of prostitution was committed, there are certain factors that must be taken into consideration. In general, prostitution laws cover the following issues:
- Sexual Contact. Sexual contact is defined as two people engaging in sexual intercourse. Sexual contact is often broadened to include other forms of touching.
- Patronized Prostitution. A person patronizes (solicits) prostitution by giving something of value to another person as payment for sexual contact. A person can also patronize prostitution simply by requesting sexual contact in return for compensation, regardless of whether an exchange of something of value has transpired yet.
- Payment or Compensation. A person that offers something of value in exchange for sexual contact has offered payment or compensation, usually in the form of monetary compensation.
Prostitution is a misdemeanor in the United States, with Wisconsin having some of the harshest laws in the nation. If you are facing charges on soliciting sex work or are facing punitive legal ramifications for performing sex work, the defense attorneys with Hart Powell, S.C. can help you defend your rights. Contact us at (414) 271-9595 to learn more about your legal options.
Indecent exposure includes showing body parts that are considered inappropriate in a given situation. One of the problems with an “indecent exposure” charge is that there is no definitive explanation as to what indecent exposure entails. It relies purely upon the circumstances and how the exposure affected others. Due to this unclear definition, defense cases can be built to help establish that the act was not indecent at all. Our Milwaukee indecent exposure defense attorneys can help you through this process.
If you have been accused of committing sexual harassment over the Internet, you may be facing charges for Internet harassment. Individuals who are accused of harassment and other sex crimes are often at risk of receiving an unfair trial because they may already be considered guilty in the eyes the public. It is therefore important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your legal rights are upheld throughout your case. You may be charged with Internet harassment if you have been accused of:
- Sending threatening or lewd messages
- Posting lewd photographs or other media
- Hacking with intent to harass
If you are facing Internet harassment charges, do not hesitate to consult with a Milwaukee Internet harassment attorney as soon as possible.
Upon being convicted of a sex crime, you may be required to register as a sex offender. This would entail reporting your name and address to a publicly available registry, where local law enforcement will compel you to update your information every year after that. The best defense when you are charged with a sex crime is to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can assist you in this matter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although the nature of sex crimes means that you have a very unique case, many people accused of a crime under this umbrella have similar questions. While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find all the answers to your questions below, we’ve provided a few answers. Please contact us at (414) 271-9595 to discuss further specifics of your case.
Is it illegal to have a sexual relationship between two 16 year olds?
Yes. The federal age of consent is 16 years old, but in Wisconsin, the age of consent is strictly 18 years of age. In the case of two minors committing sexual acts, both may be considered victims and perpetrators, even with consent. If the consensual sex is with a person who is 16 or 17 years of age, the act is always considered a criminal offense, although it will only result in a misdemeanor. Anyone involved in a sexual relationship who is 15 years old or younger, even others in the same age group, can face much more severe consequences.
Is it illegal to send or receive nude photographs with consent from both parties?
Between two adults, this is not considered illegal unless one party shares the private photos without further consent. If any minors are involved, even if both are minors, they can be charged with federal child pornography charges, and this is a serious offense. If convicted, they can face a mandatory prison sentence of up to three years.
What if my partner is 17 years old and about to turn 18?
It does not matter in the state of Wisconsin. The age of consent is 18 years old, and there is no other interpretation of the law.
If I’m guilty, should I still hire an attorney?
Yes. Whether or not you are guilty of the crimes charged against you, it is always in your best interest to hire legal counsel to navigate the legal proceedings. A criminal defense attorney’s job is to ensure that the legal proceedings against you are completely fair and just. An attorney may be able to advocate a lesser sentence, including reduced jail time, a shorter probation, and a lower fine. In other instances, your attorney may be able to reduce the charges to something less severe, and may even be able to get the case dismissed. All of this depends on the individual circumstances of your case, and the attorney’s ability to argue the case.
If I haven’t been charged with a crime, but the police want to speak to me, what should I do?
Contact a law firm to discuss your rights before you make any official statements. Although you have not been charged with a crime, the information you share may be used against you in court. It is always best to err on the side of caution, and you should speak with an attorney before you speak with the police to better understand how to protect your rights.
Sex Crime Penalties
The nature of sex crimes often means that the evidence amounts to one person’s word over the other’s. Sex crimes carry hefty penalties, and the court proceedings can be intense. If convicted, many charges receive mandatory minimum prison sentences and a lifetime of public humiliation. Some crimes carry a minimum of 25 years in prison, while others can easily receive a sentence for life. The stakes are high, and you do not want to trust the outcome of the hearing to any law firm. Hiring the right attorney is critical to developing a swift plan of action and retaining essential evidence on your behalf. Hart Powell, S.C. has secured not-guilty verdicts for many of our clients, and other times we have been able to convince the prosecution to drop the charges altogether.
Penalty Enhancers for Sex Offense Convictions
Individuals in Milwaukee charged with sex crimes face numerous consequences upon conviction. Additionally, under Wisconsin law, “penalty enhancers” can heighten consequences even further if certain conditions are met. There are several conditions that qualify as penalty enhancers for sex crimes in Milwaukee. Some of them include the following:
- Previous offenses of sex crimes
- Previous record of sex crimes against children
- Certain relationship with a child against whom a sex crime is committed (parent, guardian, etc.)
- Sex crime against the elderly
- Knowledge of HIV/AIDS infection at time of sex crime
If met, these conditions mean that an alleged sex criminal could face greater penalties if convicted.
The situation that you are in is undoubtedly stressful and upsetting, but you still have options moving forward. We have worked extensively on defending clients from sex crime allegations, and we are familiar with the various strategies used to prove innocence. Our firm belief is that you are innocent until proven guilty, and we will do our best to organize all the facts before presenting them to the court on your behalf. There are no fees associated with your initial consultation, so contact us today to learn how we can help. You can reach us directly at (414) 271-9595 or through our website anytime of the day. In the face of these serious accusations, you should rest assured that you will have your day in court. With us on your side, you will not have to deal with the allegations alone.