Understanding the Crime of Battery in Wisconsin

By Reddin & Singer


Battery is a criminal offense that involves unlawful physical contact with another person. Every state typically has its own statute outlining what constitutes a battery in that specific state. Under Wisconsin law, battery consists of intentionally causing injury to another person, including a fetus. It is important to note, however, that depending on the nature of the act, battery in Wisconsin may be classified as a “misdemeanor battery” or a “felony battery.”

In Wisconsin, misdemeanor battery refers to causing bodily harm to another person, either intentionally or without the individual’s permission. Bodily harm covers any physical injury, illness, or bodily impairment. For example, pushing, scuffling, spitting, throwing something, performing surgery on the wrong part of one’s body, and even blowing smoke in someone’s face constitutes a battery. Examples of acts that do not qualify as a battery include tapping someone gently to make an inquiry or touching another when in a crowded space, such as to board a flight or subway.

A misdemeanor battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which could subject the perpetrator to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to nine months in prison. If the culprit used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon, the court can add another six months to the existing prison term.

Under state law, when the crime of battery causes substantial or great bodily harm to another person, including a fetus, it is considered a felony battery. As evidenced by the definition, felony battery is a much more serious charge than a misdemeanor battery. Once again, bodily harm refers to any physical injury, illness, or bodily impairment. There are two types of felony battery charges: substantial battery, which is when there is substantial bodily harm, and aggravated battery, which is when there is great bodily harm. Substantial bodily injury includes broken bones, cuts that require stitches or staples, broken teeth, burns, concussions, or anything that adversely affects any of the senses. Great bodily harm refers to an injury that causes long-term consequences, such as the risk of death, disfigurement, loss of limb, or permanent impairment of a body part.

The penalties for felony batteries can vary anywhere from three and a half years to 15 years in prison. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the felony, it will be classified as either a Class E felony, a Class H felony, or a Class I felony, and the penalties will range according to the classification.

A conviction for battery is a serious thing, since it can result in jail time, hefty fines, and a criminal record. If you are facing battery charges, you should seek the help of an experienced and reputable Milwaukee criminal defense attorney at the law offices of Reddin & Singer. Battery charges can be complex and highly fact-intensive, which is why having skilled legal representation on your side can make all the difference. We have represented numerous clients in battery cases, and we can help you as well. If you are interested in learning more about your rights, you will be glad to know we offer free, no-obligation consultations to each prospective client. Please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (414) 271-6400.