Probation Laws in Wisconsin

By Reddin & Singer


Individuals who are placed on probation or extended supervision generally understand that their freedom can be taken from them very easily. The laws pertaining to probation can be very specific and sometimes complex. In some cases, probation officers are quick to lose patience with people whom they supervise, and probation holds and revocation proceedings take place when they shouldn’t. At Reddin & Singer, our Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys understand the nuances surrounding probation and will work hard to defend against alleged probation violations.

Probation is a sentencing alternative through which a person is not incarcerated but is still subject to community supervision. Probation is not available for every type of crime. Different states will have different regulations when it comes to probation.

In the state of Wisconsin, if a defendant is convicted of certain crimes, he or she can be placed on probation. Probation, however, is not available for individuals who have been convicted of a crime that is punishable by life imprisonment. It is also important to note that probation is not available when it is specifically not allowed by Wisconsin Statute §973.09 for a particular offense.

Probation can be ordered by a Wisconsin court in two distinct ways. First, the court can withhold any sentence and place the person on probation instead. If the sentence is withheld, it means the court has not imposed a sentence and has ordered you to be placed in custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) through community-based supervision. During this time, you must adhere to conditions set by the court as well as rules and regulations established by the DOC for your supervision. If you fail to abide by the conditions of your supervision, and your probation is revoked, you must appear before the judge to be sentenced.

Second, the court can impose a prison or jail term but stay it for a period of probation. This means the court has sentenced you for a particular amount of time but has also ordered that the sentence not be carried out. You are then placed in the DOC’s custody for a given amount of time. If you do not abide by the conditions of the probation, and your supervision is revoked, you must serve the jail term imposed by the court. At this point, you do not go back to the court for a sentence because you already have one.

Conditions of supervision means the court orders you to carry out activities that are relevant to your history of crime, such as community service, attending classes, or paying restitution. The conditions of each person’s probation are ordered by the court and also by the probation agent. When you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, the Probation Department may seek to revoke your probation supervision. If they do, you are entitled to a probation revocation hearing. At the hearing the judge must find that you violated your probation and that the violation is so serious that revocation is the only alternative. A lawyer can be helpful to assist in finding alternatives to revocation, even if a person has violated his probation.

If you or a loved one has been placed on probation hold or are facing probation revocation, we can help. At Reddin & Singer, our skilled criminal defense lawyers have helped numerous clients defend against probation violation claims. We understand the level of skill, competence, and care that is required for these cases. Do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (414) 271-6400.