Battery by a prisoner is a felony in Wisconsin.  Contact our criminal defense lawyers immediately for help.

Battery by a prisoner charges in Wisconsin are incredibly serious.  On the front end, it’s important to recognize that the defendant in these cases is already in custody for some other offense.  That aggravates the situation, resulting in a serious penalty.  These battery charges are a Class H felony, which is a criminal offense that carries a maximum penalty of 6 years in prison, $100,000.00 in fines, or both.  Certainly those penalties indicate how serious lawmakers who crafted the law consider the offense.

The criminal defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. regularly defend individuals facing felony charges.  We recognize that the penalties while facing a felony are high.  A prison sentence easily results with the wrong step, the wrong argument, or the incorrect tactical decision.  Our defense lawyers have a huge amount of experience defending all kinds of violent cases.

Before you contact our criminal defense lawyers, do some research.  You’ll quickly find that our peers and past clients regularly rank us as some of the best attorneys in Wisconsin.  We specialize in defending individuals accused of committing crimes and we want to help you.  Finally, contact us immediately and let’s set up a free consultation.  We can figure out if we’re a good match and figure out the next steps to successfully defending your case.  (414) 270-0202

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What does the law say?  Wis. Stat. sec. 940.20(1)

Wis. Stat. section 940.20(1) prohibits battery by prisoners:

(1)  Battery by prisoners. Any prisoner confined to a state prison or other state, county, or municipal detention facility who intentionally causes bodily harm or a soft tissue injury, as defined in s. 946.41 (2) (c), to an officer, employee, visitor, or another inmate of such prison or institution, without his or her consent, is guilty of a Class H felony.

The definition of this offense is similar to misdemeanor battery, except it’s an offense committed while in custody.  Like many crimes, the circumstances of the crime dictate a higher penalty.  Alternatively, the crime also covers offenses against officers, employees, or visitors of the facility.  It’s clear that because of the nature of the facility, and the nature of those individuals, the legislature determined that the penalty should be higher.

Frequently these offenses occur after the pressures of jail and prison get to an inmate.  Other inmates making constant noise, disrespecting your property, and other rules leads to stress.  Correctional officers are sometimes worse than other inmates.  They lack any serious education and have the power to control your life in their hands.  Unfortunately, that combination can lead to condescending attitudes and behaviors, making it difficult to get through your time.  When an inmate snaps and causes bodily harm to any of the listed individuals above, they’re suddenly facing felony charges.

Wisconsin criminal jury instruction 1228

Jury instructions define the majority of crimes in Wisconsin.  In other words, while the statute provides the exact wording of the law, the jury instruction breaks down the crime into more-easily understandable points.  After the conclusion of a jury trial, these instructions are submitted to the jury to determine whether the crime occurred.

Wisconsin criminal jury instruction 1228 explains battery by a prisoner.  The instructions require:

  • Firstly, the defendant was confined to a state prison, or state, county, or municipal detention facility.  This requires the defendant was confined to the facility as a result of a violation of the law; and
  • Secondly, the defendant intentionally caused bodily harm or soft tissue injury to the victim.

Taking a look at these jury instructions brings up an immediate issue we could encounter regarding this law.  A first offense drunk driving charge is not a crime in Wisconsin (in most circumstances).  Sometimes, upon failure to pay fines in that OWI case, a judge imposes commitment to jail.  Importantly, if the defendant goes to jail, it’s not because of the OWI – it’s instead because of the failure to pay the fine.  In this circumstance, the defendant is not “confined to the facility as a result of a violation of the law.”  While your case may have plenty of defenses, this one could apply depending on the circumstances of your case.

Inmates in custody
Battery by a prisoner is a felony in Wisconsin. Contact our criminal defense lawyers immediately at (414) 270-0202 for help.

How do we win my battery by prisoner case?

Importantly, regardless of whether you are in custody or not, self defense still applies.  Just because you’re in jail or prison, you should not just take a beating.  You have the right to defend yourself.  Fortunately, in many cases involving battery within a custodial setting, there are cameras everywhere.  While those cameras typically don’t record audio, watching what led to the altercation is helpful in planning your defense.  But self defense applies, and we’ll make sure to examine that.

Sometimes you’re simply not guilty of the offense.  In those cases, the government’s case may be based on the testimony of other individuals.  Other inmates have an inherent credibility problem, so exploiting this for your defense may lead us to some progress.

Lastly, every criminal case we defend is different.  Every defendant is different.  Recognizing that, and the fact that this is a general online article, we can’t provide you all potential defenses to your case.  At your initial consultation you’ll be able to begin planning your defense with one of our criminal defense attorneys.

Finally, contact our criminal defense firm immediately for help

Van Severen Law Office, S.C. is a full-service criminal defense law firm.  No matter what kind of crime you’ve been accused of, we have the appropriate criminal defense lawyer on our staff to provide you top-notch representation.  We have a reputation for aggressively fighting cases for our clients.  And we’d like to continue that reputation and work hard on your case.

Finally, contact us immediately and we’ll set up a time to talk.  If you’re a family member calling on behalf of a defendant who is in custody, don’t hesitate to reach out either.  Depending on the circumstances of your family member’s custody, we have options to speak with him or her.  Again, contact us at (414) 270-0202 and we’ll start moving forward.


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