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Appleton Wisconsin Criminal Law Blog

Understanding how probable cause for vehicle searches in Wisconsin works is crucial to protect your rights and determine any potential legal consequences. When faced with the looming possibility of a drug-related charge, comprehending the nuances of Fourth Amendment protections becomes paramount, and an experienced drug crimes lawyer can explain everything.

Essentially, probable cause serves as the linchpin that dictates whether law enforcement can lawfully search your vehicle for illicit substances. This constitutional safeguard aims to balance preserving individual liberties and enabling law enforcement to uphold public safety and enforce the law. Knowing what constitutes probable cause under Wisconsin law is pivotal in protecting a person’s rights and mounting a robust defense against any unwarranted searches or potential drug charges.

What Constitutes Probable Cause

In Wisconsin, probable cause to search a vehicle for drugs exists when an officer has sufficient evidence or information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that drugs or other contraband are likely present in the vehicle. This evidence can come from various sources, such as:

  • Plain View Doctrine: If an officer can see drugs or drug paraphernalia in your vehicle through the windows or during a lawful traffic stop, they have probable cause to search the vehicle.
  • Odor of Drugs: A strong and distinct odor of marijuana or other drugs emanating from your vehicle can provide probable cause for a search.
  • Informant Information: If a reliable informant provides credible information that drugs are in your vehicle, this may establish probable cause.
  • K-9 Alert: Trained drug-sniffing dogs can detect the presence of drugs in a vehicle. If a K-9 unit alerts to your vehicle, this can constitute probable cause.
  • Incriminating Statements: If you or your passengers make statements that lead an officer to believe drugs are present reasonably, this can establish probable cause.
  • Suspicious Behavior: Unusual or suspicious behavior, such as attempting to conceal items or acting extremely nervous during a traffic stop, may contribute to probable cause.

What Happens If There Was No Probable Cause?

It’s important to note that mere suspicion or a “hunch” is insufficient to establish probable cause. Officers must have specific, articulable facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that drugs or other illegal substances are present in the vehicle.

If an officer searches you without probable cause, the court may deem any evidence obtained inadmissible, and your rights may have been be violated. It’s crucial to assert your rights and remain respectful but firm if you believe a search is unjustified.

Get Legal Help Today

If you find yourself facing drug charges or believe someone violated your rights, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At J. Kippa Law, our team of skilled attorneys can assess the details of your case, advise you on your rights, and work tirelessly to protect your interests. While we cannot guarantee any specific outcome, our firm will provide compassionate and vigorous representation to our clients who face drug charges or other criminal matters. If you would like to discuss your situation with us, please don’t hesitate to call our offices at (920) 733-1100 or contact us online to schedule a free, zero-obligation consultation.

A Wisconsin drug charge is a grave matter that can lead to jail time and substantial fines. Drug convictions can have long-lasting consequences that impact jobs, housing, and finances. At J. Kippa Law, our criminal defense team has 30 years of combined experience handling drug crimes.

Types of Drug Charges

Dangerous and illegal drugs are pervasive in urban centers and rural areas throughout Wisconsin. Three standard drug charges that people in Wisconsin face are:

 Drug possession: Drug possession in Wisconsin is a serious offense that can have substantial repercussions. Whether the possession is for illegal drugs like cocaine or legal substances held without a valid prescription, such as Xanax, possession charges carry significant legal consequences.

Penalties vary based on the offense level and the substance possessed. Penalties for a second offense of cocaine possession may differ from those of a first-time offender charged with marijuana possession.

A first-time offender for possession of marijuana faces misdemeanor charges with up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines, as well as license revocation. Students risk losing federal financial aid.

For a first-time possession charge of felony drugs (heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD), you can face up to 3.5 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Repeat offenses result in harsher penalties, longer prison terms, higher fines, and higher felony classifications.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a crime in Wisconsin. Paraphernalia includes:

  • Pipes
  • Bongs
  • Scales
  • Baggies
  • Syringes

A conviction can result in serious consequences, including jail time.

Drug possession with the intent to distribute: Wisconsin penalties for the felony of intent to distribute drugs are stiff. You can be sentenced to 3.5 to 15 years in prison and fined $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the amount and type of drug. For instance, if you are convicted of possession of more than 40 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute, you can face up to 40 years in jail and fines of up to $100,000. The greater the quantity of the drug you possess, the more severe the penalties will be.

Felonies can significantly impact your ability to find work or obtain housing and can affect child custody arrangements. A conviction for intent to distribute usually remains permanently on your record.

Distribution of controlled substances: Selling, distributing, or manufacturing controlled substances (illegal drugs) in Wisconsin carries severe penalties. These crimes are felonies, with potential jail time determined by the type and quantity seized. At the lower end, distributing 200 grams or less can lead to a maximum of three and a half years in prison. However, selling over 10,000 grams could result in a 15-year jail term and a $50,000 fine. Wisconsin residents caught in such activities face escalated consequences.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Team Today

Our seasoned criminal defense team has a long-lasting track record of successful legal representation. Attorney Jeffrey Kippa and his criminal defense team help clients with drug charges in Appleton, Green Bay, and throughout Wisconsin. Contact us online or call (920) 733-1100.

Many states across the country have taken steps to legalize marijuana for personal use. However, it is vital to note that Wisconsin is not among these states. Wisconsin drug laws strictly prohibit the use, possession, and sale of marijuana and associated paraphernalia. Furthermore, driving under the influence of marijuana can result in severe penalties, especially after multiple convictions.

Understanding Wisconsin’s marijuana and driving laws can help you know what steps to take if you are facing drugged driving charges. Working with an experienced Wisconsin defense attorney can help maximize your chances of avoiding the harshest penalties.

 

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in WI?

In Wisconsin, marijuana possession is considered a criminal offense, and the state imposes some of the harshest penalties in the country. The penalties are as follows:

  • For a first offense, possession is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
  • For second and subsequent offenses, possession is a felony, with potential penalties of 3.5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
  • Possession of more than 200 grams of marijuana is considered possession with intent to sell, which carries a potential 15-year prison sentence and up to $50,000 in fines.

 

How Does Wisconsin Law Define Drugged Driving?

It is illegal in Wisconsin to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. The law prohibits driving or operating a vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safe driving
  • With any detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood

For marijuana, any amount over one ng/mL of THC in the blood can lead to an Operating While Impaired (OWI) charge.

 

What Are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in WI?

The penalties for an OWI drug conviction in Wisconsin depend on the number of prior offenses and any aggravating factors. In general:

  • A first OWI offense is a civil violation with potential fines of $150-$300.
  • A second offense within ten years is a criminal misdemeanor with up to 6 months of jail time and a license revocation of one year to 18 months, as well as fines of up to $1100.
  • A third offense is a misdemeanor with up to one year of jail time and a license revocation of up to three years, as well as fines of up to $2,000.
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses are felonies with up to six years of prison time, a license revocation of up to three years, as well as fines of up to $10,000

 

How an Attorney Can Help 

Working with an experienced Wisconsin marijuana defense attorney can maximize your chances of success in your case by:

  • Challenging the legality of law enforcement’s search and seizure
  • Questioning the accuracy of sobriety tests
  • Negotiating a plea bargain for lesser charges

 

Get Legal Help Today

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with marijuana possession or OWI, the skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at J. Kippa Law, LLC, understand how much your future depends on a solid legal defense. With us on your side, you can feel confident about the path forward. Call us today at (920) 733-1100 or contact us online for a confidential meeting with an attorney.

Wisconsin uses nine class levels for felony crimes. Class A felonies carry the most severe penalties, with decreasing consequences through to Class I felony charges. Understanding this system can take time. Choosing an experienced criminal defense attorney could help you avoid conviction or minimize jail time, fines, and other felony penalties.

The Basics of Wisconsin Drug Crime Felony Classes

The highest level felony for drug crimes in Wisconsin was recently amended. Reckless homicide by drug overdose used to be a Class C felony but now is a Class B felony.

Possession, manufacture, trafficking, or distribution of any controlled substance can have potentially severe consequences. Charges related to drugs or controlled substances in Wisconsin range from misdemeanors to felonies. Several factors determine the charge and its potential penalty: 

  • Type of substance in your possession
  • Quantity of the substance found in your possession (the greater the amount, the more serious the charge)
  • Intent to distribute, manufacture, or deliver the controlled substance rather than simple possession
  • Location of the drug offense (for example, at or near a school, which carries steeper penalties)
  • Ages of involved parties and if minors played a role in the offense
  • Your prior history of drug offenses, if any
  • Use of violence or force, with or without a weapon
  • Willingness to cooperate with law enforcement to provide information on higher-level offenders


Wisconsin Felony Classes for Drug Charges

Here are the felony classes for drug charges in Wisconsin:

  • Class B: Imprisonment up to 60 years, $100,000 maximum fine
  • Class C: Imprisonment up to 40 years, $100,000 maximum fine
  • Class D: Imprisonment up to 25 years, $100,000 maximum fine
  • Class E: Imprisonment up to 15 years, $50,000 maximum fine 
  • Class F: Imprisonment up to 12 ½ years, $25,000 maximum fine
  • Class G: Imprisonment up to ten years, $25,000 maximum fines
  • Class H: Imprisonment up to six years, $10,000 maximum fine 
  • Class I: Imprisonment up to 3 ½ years, $10,000 maximum fine

 

There are collateral penalties for a felony-level conviction:

  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment programs
  • Probation with drug testing and supervision
  • Community service
  • Loss of certain rights, such as owning a gun, voting, and serving in the military
  • Loss or cancellation of college loans and other federal aid
  • Difficulty getting a job 
  • Difficulty renting or buying a home


Potential Defenses for a Drug Crime in Wisconsin

A skilled drug crime defense attorney can assess your case to identify possible defenses. Two of the most common defense strategies:

  • Challenge the validity of probable cause: Law enforcement needs probable cause to search an individual or their vehicle or to obtain a search warrant to enter a home or business. 
  • Challenge the legality of the search and seizure process: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure. If the court determines an improper search and seizure took place, an attorney can ask that any evidence obtained from the search be inadmissible.


Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer
 

To learn more about our experienced Wisconsin criminal defense lawyers, watch and subscribe to the J. Kippa Law, LLC YouTube channel. If you’re facing potentially high-level felony charges, contact J. Kippa Law, LLC, for a confidential consultation. A felony conviction could sentence you to more than prison. It can prevent you from enjoying your full potential. Call us today at (920) 733-1100 and find out how we can help. 

Following an arrest on drug possession charges in Wisconsin, you may wonder whether you can get your charges dismissed. Depending on the facts in your case, you may have defense strategies available to challenge the prosecution’s evidence to seek a reduction or dismissal of your charges.

 

Wisconsin’s Drug Possession Laws

Wisconsin law prohibits simple possession of drugs and possession of drugs with intent to distribute. The possession with intent to distribute statute makes it illegal for a person to possess, with intent to manufacture, distribute, or deliver, a controlled substance or controlled substance analog. The law allows the state to prove intent to distribute by the quantity or monetary value of the drugs at issue, the possession of manufacturing or packaging equipment, or the activities of the person in possession of the controlled substance.

The simple possession statute makes it illegal to possess or attempt to possess a controlled substance or controlled substance analog unless one obtains the substance or analog directly from or under a valid prescription of a medical practitioner or unless the law otherwise authorizes one to possess the substance.

Penalties for a drug possession conviction vary based on the type and quantity of drugs involved. Possession of Schedule I and II drugs carries the harshest penalties.

 

Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

You may have various factual and legal defenses available to get drug possession charges dismissed in Wisconsin, depending on the circumstances in your case. Common defenses in drug possession cases include:

  • Proving that the substance at issue is not a controlled substance or controlled substance analog or challenging the reliability of the lab results confirming the nature of the substance
  • Proving a break in the chain of custody to argue that the substance submitted into evidence at trial is not the substance seized from the defendant
  • Proving that you lawfully possessed the drugs, either through a lawful medical prescription or other statutory authority
  • Arguing that you did not knowingly possess the drugs at issue or proving that the drugs belonged to someone else, such as by showing that you lacked control over or access to the drugs or showing that someone else placed the drugs in your home or car without your permission or knowledge
  • Challenging the lawfulness of the police’s search and seizure, such as by challenging the validity of a traffic stop, arguing that police lacked probable cause or a lawful basis for a warrantless search, or showing that a search warrant lacked probable cause

Successfully raising defenses in a drug possession case may lead the trial court to exclude evidence as unreliable or illegally obtained. When the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to bring you to trial, you can file a motion to reduce or dismiss your charges.

 

Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Lawyer Today

If you were arrested and charged with drug possession in Wisconsin, you need experienced legal counsel to protect your rights, freedom, and future. Contact J. Kippa Law, LLC, today for a free, confidential consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to discuss your options for resolving your charges.

The term “sexual violence” encompasses a range of actions that violate someone’s trust or safety and involve sexual intent. This category includes both physical acts and non-physical acts. Physical acts of sexual violence can include forced sexual intercourse or unwanted touching. Non-physical acts of sexual violence can include secretly watching someone (voyeurism) or exposing oneself inappropriately.

In Wisconsin, “sexual assault” is the catchall legal term for all illegal sexual activities and acts of sexual violence. Its meaning is outlined in Wisconsin law and covers various actions considered illegal and punishable under the law.

How Does Wisconsin Law Define Sexual Assault?

Wisconsin’s sexual assault law classifies four different degrees of sexual assault, each with specific conditions and penalties:

  • Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault: This is a Class A misdemeanor. Fourth-degree sexual assault involves sexual contact without consent.
  • Third-Degree Sexual Assault: This is a Class G felony. Third-degree sexual assault includes sexual intercourse without consent.
  • Second-Degree Sexual Assault: This is a Class C felony. It is sexual contact or intercourse without consent involving the use of force or threat or causing injury or mental anguish needing psychiatric care. It could also include nonconsensual sexual contact or intercourse with a person who cannot understand or resist due to mental illness, intoxication, unconsciousness, or who is a patient in certain facilities. It also includes assault by correctional staff on inmates and by probation, parole, or supervision agents on individuals under their supervision.
  • First-Degree Sexual Assault: This is a Class B felony. It includes forced sexual contact or intercourse without consent that results in pregnancy or great bodily harm or that involves a dangerous weapon. It also includes assault aided by others or against a person 60 or older.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Assaulted in Wisconsin?

If you have been the target of sexual assault in Wisconsin, remember that what happened is not your fault, and there are resources available to support you. Here are some steps you can take to protect your safety and rights:

  • Preserve Evidence: Avoid showering, changing clothes, or cleaning up until after you have undergone a medical examination. This helps in preserving crucial evidence.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Visit a doctor or a hospital as soon as possible, even if you do not have visible injuries. Medical professionals can provide necessary care, check for hidden injuries, and collect important evidence through a forensic examination.
  • Consider Reporting the Assault: It is your right to report the assault to the police, but this not a decision you necessarily have to make now. You can always have a forensic exam and decide later about reporting.
  • Contact a Lawyer: Consider speaking with a lawyer who handles sexual assault cases. They can advise you on your rights and options and assist you if you choose to pursue legal action.
  • Reach Out for Support: Connect with a local sexual assault service provider for counseling and guidance. Wisconsin has numerous organizations dedicated to helping sexual assault survivors.

Contact a Sexual Assault Injury Attorney in Wisconsin

At J. Kippa Law, LLC, we understand that talking to a stranger can feel overwhelming after a traumatic event like sexual assault. But taking that first step can be a courageous move toward healing and justice.

Our commitment is to stand by your side, help you understand your rights, and explore the best legal options available to you.

We believe in empowering our clients through respectful, compassionate, and confidential legal assistance. Contact us today to learn more about your rights in an initial case review.

Spousal privilege, marital privilege, or “Pillow Talk Privilege,” is a legal privilege that can prevent spouses or domestic partners from incriminating each other in court. Spousal privilege operates similarly to attorney-client, doctor-patient, and clergy-penitent privileges. These privileges are all designed to protect the validity and confidentiality of these relationships.

There are exceptions to every rule, however. For example, the marital privilege does not apply if the spouse or their children are alleged victims of the crime, nor when spouses allegedly commit the crime together.

Testimonial Privilege and Communications Privilege

Two parts of marital privilege apply if you are married and accused of a crime: testimonial privilege and communications privilege.

Testimonial privilege prevents your spouse from having to provide adverse testimony against you in court unless they choose to do so. In addition, any communication between you and your spouse during the marriage is not considered admissible in court without both spouses’ consent. If proven that communication did not occur in true confidence – i.e., if there was a third party present during the communication – the communications privilege does not apply.

How Does “Pillow Talk Privilege” Apply to Online Communication?

If you email your spouse, message them on social media, or contact them via any other online means, these communications do not fall under the protections of marital privilege due to the stipulation regarding the impact of a third-party presence. In the eyes of the law, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are third parties, and their privacy policies do not protect communications made between users – regardless of their relationship with one another.

Law enforcement is subject to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. There must be probable cause to access these communications before records of electronic communications can be used to build a case against you.

Your right to communications and testimonial spousal privilege may make or break the outcome of your legal matter. Contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with a proven defense attorney.

 

In Wisconsin, drug offenses are taken very seriously. While many may dismiss simple drug possession as a minor offense, the repercussions can be substantial and long-lasting. This is particularly true if you’re unprepared and unaware of the ramifications. At J. Kippa Law, LLC, our goal is to shed light on these implications and guide you through the complexities of the legal system.

The Basics of Drug Possession in Wisconsin

Wisconsin classifies controlled substances into different schedules. The severity of a possession charge largely depends on which schedule the drug falls under, as well as the quantity in possession. Penalties can range from a misdemeanor with a fine to felonies with potential imprisonment.

Immediate and Long-Term Consequences

Drug possession in Wisconsin is a serious offense that can have both immediate and long-term consequences. Depending on the type and amount of the drug involved, the penalties can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony, with possible fines, jail time, probation, and other sanctions.

For a first-time possession of marijuana or THC, which is a Schedule I drug, you may face up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a revocation of driving privileges for up to 5 years. If you are a student, you may also lose your federal financial aid money.

For a first-time possession of any other Schedule I or II drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, or fentanyl, you may face up to 3.5 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and a Class I felony conviction. A felony conviction can have lasting effects on employment, education, housing, voting rights, and gun rights.

For a first-time possession of any Schedule III, IV, or V drug, such as ketamine, anabolic steroids, Valium, Xanax, or codeine, you may face up to 12 months in jail, up to $5,000 in fines and a Class H or I felony conviction. A felony conviction can also have long-term consequences, as mentioned above.

For a second or subsequent offense of drug possession of any kind, you may face harsher penalties than the first offense, such as longer prison terms, higher fines, and higher felony classes. You may also be subject to enhanced penalties if you possess drugs near certain places such as schools, parks, or public housing.

In addition to the criminal penalties for drug possession in Wisconsin, you may also face other consequences, such as substance abuse treatment programs, community service, drug testing, and supervision by a probation officer. You may also have difficulties finding or keeping a job, obtaining professional licenses or certifications, renting an apartment or house, applying for loans or scholarships, traveling abroad, or joining the military.

Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer

A simple drug possession charge in Wisconsin can have far-reaching implications. While the legal consequences are immediate and clear, the ripple effect on your personal, professional, and financial life can be profound. Being informed, prepared, and represented by a dedicated attorney can make all the difference.

If you or a loved one are facing drug possession charges in Wisconsin, act quickly and secure skilled representation. Reach out to J. Kippa Law, LLC, where your future and freedom are our top priority. Call us today at (920) 733-1100 for a comprehensive consultation.

Sexual assault charges are some of the most severe criminal charges that an individual can face in the State of Wisconsin. A person can be found guilty and convicted of a sexual assault charge if they have sexual contact with another individual without their consent. More serious sexual assault crimes involve dangerous weapons and physical violence. A conviction can lead to severe penalties, including jail time.

If you are currently pending a sexual assault charge in Wisconsin, you must experience legal help as quickly as possible. The knowledgeable Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys at J. Kippa Law Office, LLC can help you advocate a solid legal defense for your pending sexual assault charge or represent you during plea deal negotiations with state prosecutors in your case.

For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a skilled Wisconsin sexual assault lawyer, please call us at 920-507-5252 or online for more information.

Sexual Assault Penalties in Wisconsin

To receive criminal penalties for sexual assault, the state prosecutor must first satisfy the legal burden of proof in their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The potential sexual assault penalties that an accused individual may receive upon conviction will depend upon the degree of sexual assault with which they are charged.

  • First-degree sexual assault is the most serious and typically involves serious bodily harm, use of a dangerous weapon, or physical violence. A conviction can lead to a maximum of 40 years of incarceration.
  • A second-degree sexual assault conviction can lead to a maximum of 20 years in jail and a maximum monetary fine of $10,000.
  • A third-degree sexual assault conviction can lead to a maximum prison sentence of five years or a total monetary fine of $10,000.
  • A fourth-degree sexual assault conviction can lead to a maximum of 9 months in a county jail and a maximum monetary fine of $10,000.

While first, second, and third-degree sexual assault charges are a felony in Wisconsin, a fourth-degree sexual assault charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

Factors that Affect Sexual Assault Penalties in Wisconsin

Certain aggravating factors exist which may increase the severity of a pending sexual assault charge, as well as the potential penalties upon conviction. Those factors may include multiple sexual assault victims, use of physical violence during the incident, and use of a weapon.

However, in response to a sexual assault charge, several mitigating factors might apply, including cooperating with responding law enforcement officers, lack of prior arrests, and lack of previous sexual assault convictions.

Consent and Sexual Assault in Wisconsin 

 

Many sexual assault cases hinge on whether the alleged victim provided consent to the sexual act(s) in question. Suppose the state prosecutor can show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the alleged victim did not provide consent. In that case, the accused can be convicted of a rape charge, leading to higher penalties.

Other Considerations in Sexual Assault Cases in Wisconsin 

 

When an individual is the victim of sexual assault, they can file a report. It is then up to the prosecuting attorney to bring criminal charges. If the prosecutor ultimately obtains a conviction, then before sentencing, the alleged victim can make an impact statement to the judge in person – or writing.

In addition to the potential penalties listed above, the accused individual may have to register as a sex offender on the State of Wisconsin’s sex offender registry under Megan’s Law.

Wisconsin’s legislative framework categorizes sexual assault into different degrees based on the severity of the offenses. Wisconsin’s sexual assault laws encompass a range of offenses, including first-degree and second-degree sexual assault, as well as third-degree sexual assault, which specifically addresses cases involving minors. Each degree carries its own set of punishment guidelines, considering factors such as force used, the age of the victim, and the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator.

Sexual Assault Penalties in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, sexual assault charges are divided into different degrees, each carrying its own set of penalties.

First Degree Sexual Assault:

First-degree sexual assault is the most serious category of sexual assault offenses in Wisconsin. It involves sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person without consent that results in pregnancy, causes the victim great bodily harm, involves use of weapon, and involves force or coercion. First-degree sexual assault is classified as a Class B Felony, carrying penalties of up to 60 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.

Second Degree Sexual Assault:

Second-degree sexual assault includes acts of sexual contact or sexual intercourse without consent, but under circumstances that do not fall within the criteria for first-degree sexual assault. This can involve instances where the victim is coerced, threatened, or incapacitated. Second-degree sexual assault is considered a Class C Felony, which carries potential penalties of up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.

Third Degree Sexual Assault:

Third degree sexual assault is sexual intercourse that occurs without consent that occurs along with excretion of bodily fluids on the victim. Third-degree sexual assault is a Class G Felony. If found guilty of this offense, individuals may face imprisonment for up to 10 years and fines of up to $25,000.

Fourth Degree Sexual Assault:

Fourth-degree sexual assault encompasses cases where there is inappropriate sexual contact without the consent of the victim. This degree involves actions such as unwanted touching, groping, or fondling. Fourth-degree sexual assault is typically charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. Convictions can lead to imprisonment for up to nine months and fines not exceeding $10,000.

Factors that Affect Sexual Assault Penalties in Wisconsin

Aggravating factors in sexual assault cases are circumstances that worsen the offense and can lead to more severe charges and penalties. Here are some common examples:

  • Use of a weapon
  • Multiple victims
  • Age of the victim

On the other hand, mitigating factors can decrease the severity of sexual assault charges and penalties. These factors take into account specific circumstances that may reduce the culpability of the offender or indicate an opportunity for rehabilitation. Some common mitigating factors include:

  • Lack of prior criminal history
  • Cooperation with law enforcement
  • Accountability and rehabilitation efforts

Consent and Sexual Assault in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law defines consent as explicit agreement given voluntarily by each participant involved in a sexual act. Consent should be informed, ongoing, and freely given without coercion or manipulation. It is important to note that individuals who are incapacitated due to intoxication, drugs, age, mental incapacity, or unconsciousness cannot provide consent.

In cases involving sexual assault, the presence or absence of consent plays a central role in determining charges and penalties. If a person engages in sexual activity without obtaining clear and voluntary consent from the other party, it can result in criminal sexual assault charges.

Other Considerations in Sexual Assault Cases in Wisconsin

Sexual assault cases are taken very seriously in Wisconsin, with prosecutors working diligently to build strong cases against the accused. Once a report is filed, an investigation is initiated, evidence is gathered, and testimonies from both the victim and any witnesses are collected.

Victim impact statements play a vital role during sentencing hearings in sexual assault cases. These statements offer survivors an opportunity to share their personal experiences, the emotional and psychological impact of the assault, and how it has affected their lives. By giving survivors a voice, these statements provide the court with a deeper understanding of the harm caused and help guide sentencing decisions. These statements empower survivors to express their feelings, fears, and hopes for their own healing process while allowing the court to consider the long-term consequences of the assault on the victim’s well-being.

Megan’s Law, officially known as the Sexual Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws, plays a significant role in Wisconsin’s handling of sexual assault cases. This law requires convicted sex offenders to register their personal information, including their address and other details, with local law enforcement agencies. This information may be made available to the public, taking into account the level of risk posed by the offender.

Consult With a Criminal Defense Attorney Experienced in Defending Sexual Assault Cases

In conclusion, the severity of sexual assault and its lasting impact on survivors cannot be overstated. If you or someone you know is facing allegations of sexual assault in Wisconsin, it is crucial to seek immediate legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. They will protect your rights, provide support, and guide you through the legal process. Don’t go through this alone; take action and contact a trusted law firm today to ensure justice is served.

 

Your attorney's experience can make all the difference when your future is on the line. Learn how attorney Jeffrey Kippa can help you move forward.