Fight Charges With Strong Felony and Misdemeanor Defense
If you or your loved one has been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, you need to seek reliable legal representation immediately. Walter Law Offices LLC is here to create the effective defense strategies you need for your case.
Wisconsin’s Felony Charges
In Wisconsin, a felony is any crime with a maximum sentence of more than one year of imprisonment. Common felonies include identity theft, aggravated battery, reckless endangerment, sexual assault, and homicide.
Various Classes of Felonies
Wisconsin law provides categories of felonies and applicable maximum sentences as follows:
- Class A Felony: Life Imprisonment
- Class B Felony: 60-Year Imprisonment
- Class C Felony: 40-Year Imprisonment and a $100,000 Fine
- Class D Felony: 25-Year Imprisonment and a $25,000 Fine
- Class E Felony: 15-Year Imprisonment and a $50,000 Fine
- Class F Felony: 12-Year-and-Six-Month Imprisonment and a $25,000 Fine
- Class G Felony: 10-Year Imprisonment and a $25,000 Fine
- Class H Felony: Six-Year Imprisonment and a $10,000 Fine
- Class I Felony: Three-Year-and-Six-Month Imprisonment and a $10,000 Fine
The Wisconsin Felony Court Process
The first important issue after an arrest or summons is setting the bond or bail. The judge or court commissioner will determine whether to release you during your case and the conditions of your release.
The judge can allow a signature bond, which requires that you pledge to pay a certain amount of money if you do not obey the requirements of your bond. The judge may order you to pay cash bail to secure your release.
Whether to order a signature bond or require cash bail depends upon your prior record, ties to the community, history of missed court dates or fleeing police, danger to the community, and the seriousness of the charges.
If possible, you should consult with a lawyer before your bond hearing so that the lawyer can prepare an argument for a less restrictive signature bond. If you have a bond, a lawyer can file a motion to reduce your cash bail or eliminate any restrictive conditions.
Initial Appearance or Intake Court
The purpose of the initial appearance is to ensure your identity and that you understand the charges against you. Before this hearing, the District Attorney will prepare a Criminal Complaint containing the charges and probable cause.
You have a right to challenge the complaint alleging sufficient facts to support a reasonable belief that you probably committed a crime. Having an attorney before your appearance will ensure that you do not waive any defenses or defects at this hearing.
In Wisconsin felony courts, the law requires a hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that you committed a felony. The District Attorney must present evidence to convince the judge of probable cause.
This is your first chance to see some or all of the witnesses testify against you. If the State fails to show probable cause, the judge will dismiss your case or order that the case proceeds as a misdemeanor.
You will enter a plea at an arraignment, usually not guilty, unless a plea agreement is in place. The judge will schedule either a trial or other hearing depending on the circumstances of your case.
In felony cases, you may assert your right to a speedy trial. Motion or status hearings after the arraignment include hearings to determine motions and status hearings to determine the status and future scheduling of the case.
A motion hearing is where the judge decides on any motions filed by your attorney or the District Attorney. These hearings often involve witnesses and the presentation of exhibits.
The outcome of a motion hearing often critically influences the case's outcome. The primary purpose of status hearings is to determine if the case will likely settle or go to trial.
If your attorney negotiates a satisfactory plea agreement, you will enter the agreement at a status hearing.
Jury or Bench Trial
You have the right to a 12-person jury trial for any Wisconsin felony charge. In this, the District Attorney must prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt, and at its conclusion, the jury must reach a unanimous verdict.
In the alternative, you may choose a bench trial, which is a trial without a jury. The judge determines the outcome of your case in a bench trial. Choosing a jury or bench trial requires the expertise of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The judge will impose your sentence upon any conviction, whether because of a plea agreement or conviction at trial. Even if you agree with the District Attorney, the judge has the final decision.
Your lawyer should prepare evidence regarding your character, the seriousness of the offense, and whether you present a risk to the community. The judge may sentence you to imprisonment, give you a fine, or place you on probation.
Wisconsin’s Misdemeanor Charges and Sentences
In Wisconsin, a misdemeanor is any crime with a maximum sentence of less than one year in county jail.
- Disorderly Conduct
- Obstructing or Resisting an Officer
- Possession of Marijuana
Three Categories of Misdemeanors
The maximum sentences for misdemeanors are as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Nine Months in Jail and a $10,000 Fine
- Class B Misdemeanor: 90 Days in Jail and a $1,000 Fine
- Class C Misdemeanor: 30 Days in Jail and a $500 Fine
Reach Out to Andrew
When you are facing felony charges in Wisconsin, hire Andrew to provide the excellent legal representation you need. You may get in touch with him via phone or email to schedule a free consultation.