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Battery to a witness is a Class H felony in Wisconsin.  Contact us at (414) 270-0202 immediately for help.

Battery to a witness charges are incredibly serious.  In Wisconsin, the charges is classified as a Class H felony, meaning that if you’re convicted, you face a maximum penalty of 6 years in prison, $10,000.00 fines, or both.  Frequently prosecutors in cases involving battery to a witness request that the defendant serve some time in prison.  Our criminal defense attorneys and staff recognize that avoiding these consequences is of utmost importance to you, your family, and your future.

Our law firm dedicates itself completely to criminal defense.  We’ve successfully defended countless individuals facing charges similar to yours.  We recognize that cases usually aren’t just what the police and prosecutor allege.  There’s background information and a prior story involving the alleged victim and the defendant.  We’re here to listen to those stories and to fight for your side of the story.  Finally, it’s important to note on the front end that charges like these often accompany some sort of intimidation allegation.

Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. immediately at (414) 270-0202.  We offer free consultations to potential clients facing criminal charges.  During your free consultation we’ll discuss the charges against you, possible defenses, and where we envision your case going.  Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202 and let’s start talking.

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What is battery to a witness?

Section 940.201 of the Wisconsin Statutes defines battery to a witness.  Specifically, the statute calls the crime “battery or threat to witnesses.”  Section 940.201(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes indicates that whoever does the following is guilty of a Class H felony:

(a) Intentionally causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm to a person who he or she knows or has reason to know is or was a witness by reason of the person having attended or testified as a witness and without the consent of the person harmed or threatened.
(b) Intentionally causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm to a person who he or she knows or has reason to know is a family member of a witness or a person sharing a common domicile with a witness by reason of the witness having attended or testified as a witness and without the consent of the person harmed or threatened.
Importantly, the statute also provides some important definitions:
  • Firstly, a family member means a spouse, child, stepchild, foster child, parent, sibling, or grandchild.  Wis. Stat. 940.201(1)(a).  The definition mostly only extends to nuclear families, and does not include grandparents, aunts, or uncles.
  • Secondly, the word witness refers to the definition section 940.41 (3) of the Wisconsin Statutes provides:  any person expected to be summoned to testify, is likely to be called as a witness, whose declaration under oath is received, who provides to law enforcement information concerning any crime, who uses a crime hotline, or who is served a subpoena.

Finally, you’ll notice that the statute covers not only actual bodily harm, but also threats to cause bodily harm.  Normally, threats are covered under sections such as disorderly conduct.

Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1238

Wisconsin criminal jury instruction 1238 discusses battery to witnesses who have already testified.  There are certainly other related jury instructions that discuss other witnesses.  Instruction 1238 requires:

  • Firstly, the defendant caused or threatened to cause bodily harm to the victim;
  • Secondly, the victim was a witness;
  • Thirdly, the defendant knew the victim was a witness;
  • Fourthly, the defendant caused bodily harm to the victim because the person attended or testified as a witness;
  • Next, the defendant caused bodily harm without consent of the victim;
  • And finally, the defendant acted intentionally, requiring that the defendant acted with the mental purpose to cause the bodily harm.

Bodily harm means physical pain or injury, illness, or impairment of physical condition.

How do criminal defense attorneys beat battery to a witness charges?

Importantly, every criminal case is different.  And every defendant is different.  This general webpage isn’t meant to describe all the potential ways criminal defense attorneys and their clients win cases.

But one of the first steps in analyzing any criminal case is to determine whether the government can satisfy all the elements of the offense.  Jury instructions are important because they provide all the parts of a crime the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  If the government cannot succeed, a conviction should not stand.  Picking out weaknesses could result in a prosecutor reducing charges or dismissing them altogether prior to trial.

Another important important step a criminal defense attorney should take is to analyze your case for pre-trial motions.  Pre-trial motions are actions an attorney takes prior to trial, requesting some sort of relief from a court.  A common example, and one frequently discussed in the media, is a Miranda-Goodchild motion, focusing on the defendant’s right to silence.  If the government violated certain constitutional rights of the defendant, the defendant’s statements may be suppressed for use at trial.

Pre-trial motions don’t always result in a dismissal of charges against the defendant.  The government may allege they can proceed to trial without the suppressed evidence (in the above-paragraph, a statement from the defendant), but the elimination of that evidence could make your trial position stronger or could result in more-favorable plea negotiations.

Battery to a witness
Battery to a witness is a Class H felony in Wisconsin. Contact our criminal defense attorneys immediately at (414) 270-0202 for help.

Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. immediately for help

The criminal defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. are consistently recognized as some of the best in Wisconsin.  Whether you’re facing a battery to a witness charge, or any other criminal charge, we can help.  We’ve defended hundreds of individuals facing violent charges, and we can certainly help.

As we previously discussed, we offer free consultations to potential clients.  Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202 and let’s set up a time to talk.

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