Throwing or discharging bodily fluids at a public safety worker or prosecutor is a felony level criminal charge in Wisconsin. It frequently involves spitting, but can involve throwing or discharging any human bodily fluid. This charge is a Class I felony, meaning it’s punishable by a possible prison sentence. The maximum penalty a defendant can receive upon conviction is 3.5 years prison and $10,000.00 in fines. The 3.5 year prison sentence further breaks down into 1.5 years initial confinement followed by 2 years extended supervision.
A criminal case involving bodily fluids usually involves other charges. In our experience, the discharge of bodily fluid usually occurs after the defendant is being arrested for some other charge. For example, if the defendant is being arrested for an OWI 2nd, and is upset and overly intoxicated, and he decides to spit on an officer, what was previously a relatively low-level misdemeanor is now accompanied by a serious Class I felony charge. Aggravated situations like these are more common than someone spitting on a cop in an isolated event.
Obviously this charge is serious. If the throwing or discharging bodily fluids charge involves a prosecutor, and it’s a prosecutor pursuing charges against you, do you think you’ll be treated fairly during the case? Adding a high-power criminal defense attorney who knows the system and what you’re up against is never a bad idea. You’ll meet a few of those criminal defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office, S.C., where we focus our entire practice on defending individuals accused of committing crimes. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 to schedule a free consultation regarding this or any other criminal charge.
You’ll quickly notice that the title of the statute differs slightly from the jury instruction and what your charging documents might say. Frequently the crime involves the addition of “or prosecutors” at the end of the title. This is the same charge, and the statutory language itself includes these individuals. The law says:
(1) In this section:(a) “Ambulance” has the meaning specified in s. 256.01 (1t).(am) “Prosecutor” means any of the following:1. A district attorney, a deputy district attorney, an assistant district attorney, or a special prosecutor appointed under s. 978.045 or 978.05 (8) (b).2. The attorney general, a deputy attorney general, or an assistant attorney general.(b) “Public safety worker” means an emergency medical services practitioner licensed under s. 256.15, an emergency medical responder certified under s. 256.15 (8), a peace officer, a fire fighter, or a person operating or staffing an ambulance.(2) Any person who throws or expels blood, semen, vomit, saliva, urine, feces, or other bodily substance at or toward a public safety worker or a prosecutor under all of the following circumstances is guilty of a Class I felony:(a) The person throws or expels the blood, semen, vomit, saliva, urine, feces, or other bodily substance with the intent that it come into contact with the public safety worker or prosecutor.(c) The public safety worker or prosecutor does not consent to the blood, semen, vomit, saliva, urine, feces, or other bodily substance being thrown or expelled at or toward him or her.
Prior to subsection (2), the statute provides the definitions of individuals considered victims. Subsection (2) defines the crime. Importantly, the statute makes clear that actually hitting another individual with a bodily fluid is not required. Instead, simply throwing or expelling bodily fluid “with intent it come into contact” with another is all that’s required.
You’ll certainly notice the jury instructions take a similar position as the statute, adopting modified language and simply describing bodily fluids as “a bodily substance.” Jury instructions are important to understand, as they break down statutes into smaller parts. We call these smaller parts elements, and the government must prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government fails to satisfy that burden of proof, the defendant is not guilty of the crime. Importantly, during an initial consultation we’ll frequently discuss jury instructions, and it’s for this reason. Determining whether the government even has a case against you is certainly something we’ll want to determine off the bat.
Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1365 provides the elements of throwing or discharging bodily fluids at public safety workers or prosecutors:
The elements here are simple: the first one requires the victim fit into a certain role, the second focuses on the defendant’s action, and the third focuses on the victim’s non-consent. Importantly, the second elements also builds in an intent element: if the defendant accidentally expelled a bodily substance that hit a public safety worker or prosecutor, intent is likely a defensible issue. The defendant must have intentionally thrown or expelled the substance.
Hiring the right criminal defense attorney is important. While many attorneys will take your money, they’re not all competent enough to handle a serious felony case. When facing a charge like this, we believe it’s crucial that you hire someone who knows what he’s doing.
At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., defending individuals accused of committing crimes is all we do. We’ve decades of experience defending individuals facing criminal charges just like yours. And we’re certainly equipped to fight the government on your behalf. We’ve won trials, won motions, and won cases generally for many of our clients.
Importantly, it’s up to you to take the next step. Call us. We’re available 24/7 and we offer free consultations.