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What Happens Following a Domestic Violence Accusation in WI?

If someone in your household, a neighbor or another party calls the police to report you for domestic violence, it is essential that you understand what such a call means and what may happen afterward. The state of Wisconsin takes domestic violence calls seriously and, if a case makes it to court, treats charges even more so.

It is important to note that Wisconsin law does not have specific statutes dealing with domestic violence. Rather, the state refers to the same statutes that deal with battery, kidnapping, sexual assault and homicide to prosecute domestic abuse situations. The main difference between the corresponding crimes and domestic abuse is the existence of a familial or intimate relationship between the accused and the victim.

When Violence Constitutes Domestic Abuse in Wisconsin

According to FindLaw, the state of Wisconsin considers violence as domestic abuse when the victim is a current or former spouse, a co-parent or a current or former member of the household. “Violence” is any action that results in physical injury, pain or illness to the victim; sexual assault; or a physical action that threatens either type of action against a qualifying person.

What Happens Once the Police Become Involved

If the police become involved in a domestic dispute in which evidence suggests that you did commit an act of violence, the law requires officers to make an arrest. However, an officer must also honestly believe that the abuse will continue if you remain in the home and that you were the primary aggressor.

Following an arrest for a domestic abuse accusation, you must remain away from your home or the home of the victim for at least 72 hours — assuming, that is, that the courts permit your release from jail. You may also not contact the victim for 72 hours. If you intentionally violate the 72-hour no-contact rule, you face additional charges that could result in up to nine months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000. However, the alleged victim has the option to sign a waiver that allows the police to waive the 72-our no-contact period.

A domestic violence arrest may eventually lead to criminal charges, a conviction and/or a restraining order. If a friend or family member did accuse you of acting violently toward him or her, seek the guidance of an attorney right away.