What Constitutes ''Sexual Assault'' in Wisconsin?

By Reddin & Singer

Sexual Assault

If you are facing sexual assault charges, you could potentially be subject to jail time, hefty fines, mandatory registration as a sex offender (for years or life), and a criminal record. Not only do sexual assault charges carry legal burdens, a charge of this nature is extremely taboo and can damage your reputation at work and throughout your community. This is precisely why it is imperative to consult an experienced attorney who will navigate your case with sensitivity and concern for your image.

Any sexual contact without consent is considered illegal in the state of Wisconsin. A state statute defines four degrees of sexual assault. This conduct occurs when one person touches another person’s breast, buttocks, or genitals, or the clothing covering those areas, without his or her consent.

The key word here is “consent.” Sexual assault can also occur between persons involved in a romantic relationship, dating, or even married. Under Wisconsin law, consent is defined as words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent, indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact. In other words, consent refers to both parties agreeing to engage in the sexual activity in the same way, at the same time, and with each other.

Under Wisconsin law, first-degree sexual assault is applicable when someone has sexual contact or intercourse with a person who is 12 years of age or younger. An individual charged with this offense could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. If convicted, the individual is subject to the mandatory sex offender registration.

A second-degree sexual assault charge occurs when an individual is accused of having sexual contact or intercourse with a person who is under the age of 16. This can come up even when two people are dating but they have an age difference, such as a 20-year-old male having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend. A second-degree assault conviction will typically result in a mandatory sex offender registration. If a person is charged with first-degree sexual assault or second-degree sexual assault of the same person on at least three occasions, the State can also charge the perpetrator with “repeated acts of sexual assault.”

Third-degree sexual assault takes place when a person has sexual intercourse with a person without the consent of that person. Fourth-degree sexual assault includes sexual contact with a person without that person’s consent, or sexual intercourse with a person 16 years of age or older. Typically, molestation and fondling cases fall under fourth-degree sexual assault.

Facing sexual assault charges can be very difficult for you and your family. If you need the services of a reliable Milwaukee criminal defense attorney, you should contact the law offices of Reddin & Singer. No matter how complex your situation might be, we can help. We will handle your case with the utmost tact and sensitivity. We understand virtually all aspects of criminal defense law and will provide you with trustworthy legal representation. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (414) 271-6400.