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What are the elements of the crime of battery in Wisconsin?

Most people never anticipate having a brush with the law, so when they do, it can be hard to cope with. It sometimes feels as if things are going too far too fast and that an accused person might never have a chance to tell their side of the story regarding a criminal charge. Often, people facing assault charges or battery charges feel this way. This blog post will provide a quick summary of the crime of battery in Wisconsin.

If a person commits an act against another with the intent to cause bodily harm to that person or another person, the actor is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if they do cause bodily harm. If they cause substantial bodily harm, they will be guilty of a class I felony. If they cause great bodily harm, they will be guilty of a class H felony.

The above offenses all have one thing in common: The actor has the intent to cause bodily harm to another. What if the actor intends to cause great bodily harm to another instead of merely bodily harm? If the act does result in great bodily harm, the actor is guilty of a class E felony.

What about the situation where the act creates a substantial risk of great bodily harm? In this case, the nature of the act is being examined instead of the intent or the result. If the actor causes bodily harm committing this kind of act against another, the actor is guilty of a class H felony. Acts against older victims and acts against victims who are visibly disabled are likely to be considered to be acts creating a substantial risk of bodily harm.

What if an accused person does not believe that they had the intent to commit battery? What if they disagree with other allegations made by the prosecution? These are excellent topics to discuss with a criminal defense attorney.

Source: Wisconsin State Legislature, "Battery; substantial battery; aggravated battery," accessed Feb. 20, 2017

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