Criminal Charges

 

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Crime Classifications

The first thing that will regulate how you are sentenced is the law. These outline maximum penalties allowed for offenses of different severity. Obviously you will not serve a life sentence for shoplifting. Even if the judge doesn’t like you, this won’t happen because of the statutes.

Some offenses, particularly felony charges, may have mandatory minimum penalties under Wisconsin law. However, in most cases, reading the statues won’t give you a realistic assessment of what is likely to happen to you if you are found guilty.

Please contact me to discuss your case, and I can give you a realistic assessment of what is the most likely penalty for someone in your situation. I can help you assess the benefits and risks of pleading guilty vs. fighting the charges against you. My initial case evaluation is free.

Wisconsin Forfeiture Penalties

Forfeitures are simply fines and the lowest classification of offense as far as seriousness. Forfeitures are further broken down into 5 classes.

Class A Up to $25
Class B Up to $200
Class C Up to $500
Class D Up to $1,000
Class E Up to $10,000

Ref: Wisconsin Statute 939.52

Wisconsin Misdemeanor Penalties

Misdemeanors are slightly more serious than forfeitures and considered criminal offenses. Like forfeitures, misdemeanors are further broken down into 3 classes.

Class A Up to 9 months in jail and fines reaching $10,000.
Class B Up to 90 days in jail and fines reaching $1,000.
Class C Up to 30 days in jail and fines reaching $500.

Ref: Wisconsin Statute 939.51

Wisconsin Felony Penalties

Felonies are the most serious of criminal offenses and therefore carry the harshest potential sentences.

Class A Up to life imprisonment
Class B Up to 60 years in prison
Class C Up to 40 years in prison and fines reaching $100,000.
Class D Up to 25 years in prison and fines reaching $100,000.
Class E Up to 15 years in prison and fines reaching $50,000.
Class F Up to 12 ½ years in prison and fines reaching $25,000.
Class G Up to 10 years in prison and fines reaching $25,000.
Class H Up to 6 years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.
Class I Up to 3 ½ years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.

Ref: Wisconsin Statute 939.50

Wisconsin Criminal Sentencing Procedures

Your sentencing date has arrived and you may be anticipating some closure. Chances are you are frightened of what your future may hold, particularly if you are facing prison time. This is no time for uncertainty. As your attorney I can help you with your expectations so you know what might happen at sentencing time.

There are several things a judge will consider when determining your sentence. Everything from the law surrounding your crime to your criminal history and employment status can be considered. A judge has some leeway when determining a sentence which is why your choice in attorneys is vital.

Pre-Sentence Investigation

In addition to looking to the statutes for guidance, the judge may also order a pre-sentence investigation prior to sentencing. This investigation and subsequent report gives the judge insight into your past and current situation. It is typically done by a probation officer and can include many things like:

  • Family history
  • Psychological evaluation or history
  • Connections in the community
  • Employment history
  • Criminal history
  • Victim statements
  • Circumstances of the offense

What the judge is looking for in your pre-sentence report is an indication of your likelihood to re-offend. One of the most important aspects of the report is the recommendation of the investigating probation officer. This officer may recommend that you are a good candidate for community supervision, increasing the likelihood that you will serve probation rather than an active prison term.

Knowing what the judge uses to determine your sentence can help you understand why you are sentenced the way that you are. When facing a judge at sentencing time it is important to have an experienced attorney representing your best interests.

Call me for a consultation on your case today.

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