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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Understanding domestic abuse and its consequences

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Domestic abuse

Conflicts occur amongst loved ones. While some of these disputes are minor and can be overcome quickly, others escalate, causing major arguments that involve threats and harm. Domestic abuse is a serious crime of which to be accused. It not only carries with it severe penalties, but it also impacts the relationship between and among family members or significant others. Thus, it is important that accused individuals understand the elements of the crime and the potential penalties it carries. This knowledge could help a defendant assert a strong defense, thereby protecting his or her rights.

According to the Wisconsin State Legislature, domestic abuse is defined as an adult engaged in intentional infliction of physical pain, injury or illness, intentional impairment of physical condition, sexual assault, or a physical act that generates a reasonable fear of imminent engagement of conduct that could cause harm. These acts can be committed by an adult against his or her spouse, former spouse, an adult with whom they reside or with whom they formerly resided, or an adult with whom he or she has a child in common.

An arrest for domestic violence could occur if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe an individual is committing or has committed the above acts. An arrest may also occur if an officer has a reasonable basis to believe that continued domestic violence against the alleged victim is likely, there is evidence of physical injury, or the accused individual in question appears to be the predominant aggressor.

If the incident results in prohibited contact between the accused and the presumed victim, then the accused is disallowed from having contact with the alleged victim for 72 hours unless that time period is extended by a court order. If the accused individual violates this order, then he or she could be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to nine months.

A domestic dispute charge can significantly impact a defendant's life. Therefore, it is important to gain a full picture of the matter, allowing an individual to fully understand what criminal defense options are available. By knowing potential defense strategies, an accused person may be able to fight for reduced or dismissed charges. Additionally, taking a strong and competent stance in one's defense could help protect one's personal reputation, and, perhaps, assist them with rebuilding relationships with loved ones.

Source: Wisconsin State Legislature, "Domestic abuse incidents; arrest and prosecution," accessed Sept. 3, 2017

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