Battery and Aggravated Battery
One of the more frequent crimes for which people may be arrested in Wisconsin is the offense of battery or aggravated battery. Battery charges may arise out of domestic disputes, bar brawls, angry confrontations, or other encounters. While the circumstances leading up to battery charges may seem commonplace, the penalties that result from them may be significant. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer William J. Reddin frequently represents people who are fighting these types of charges.Battery in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, battery is defined as intentionally causing an injury to another person or causing an injury without their consent. Battery is further defined by the severity of the harm that results. The harm may either be “bodily harm,” “substantial bodily harm,” or “great bodily harm.” While ordinary bodily harm is treated as a misdemeanor, substantial bodily harm and great bodily harm are viewed as much more serious crimes.
Ordinary bodily harm may be anything that causes an injury, illness, or impairment, and it may be as minor as the scrapes and bruises that someone might sustain in a small fight. Substantial bodily harm involves much more significant injuries, such as broken or fractured bones, cuts that require stitches or other medical treatment, burns, the loss of teeth, or an injury to the head that causes a concussion or a loss of consciousness. Misdemeanor battery may be punished by up to nine months in jail or a fine of up to $10,000. Felony battery based on substantial bodily harm is a Class H felony. It may result in up to six years of jail time and fines of up to $10,000.Aggravated Battery
If a battery causes great bodily harm, it is known as aggravated battery. This involves injuries that may cause death, present a risk of death, or cause serious permanent impairment or disfigurement. Importantly, an individual may be charged with aggravated battery if they intended to cause great bodily harm or if they intended only to cause ordinary bodily harm, as long as the act either created a risk of great bodily harm or actually caused great bodily harm. Thus, a defendant need not have intended to risk someone’s life or permanently impair them in order to be charged with aggravated battery. Defendants face the possibility of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.
Since the circumstances that lead to a battery charge often involve two or more people fighting with each other, one of the more common defenses to battery is the defense of self-defense or defense of others. If someone is acting in their own defense and attempting to prevent personal harm or to prevent harm from happening to someone else, that person’s actions will not be considered battery. In both situations, the perceived fear of harm must be reasonable and genuine, although the actual threat of harm need not be real.
Likewise, in some circumstances, a defendant may be able to use the defense of consent. The consent defense applies when a defendant engaged in an act with the possibility that it could cause harm, but the other individual who was involved in the act knew of that possibility and consented to it.Discuss Your Battery Charge with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Milwaukee
A capable criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the circumstances giving rise to the charge and determine which defenses may be available to you. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee criminal defense attorney William J. Reddin understands how to protect your rights when facing prosecution. He represents people in Milwaukee, Mequon, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other communities in Racine, Washington, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties. Contact us online or at (414) 271-6400 for a free consultation if you need a domestic violence attorney or assistance with another type of battery charge.