Facing a sexual assault or sex crime charge is one of the most frightening situations a defendant faces in the Wisconsin criminal justice system. The penalties are serious, and in some cases could result in a lifetime worth of imprisonment. First degree sexual assault, for example, is a Class B felony, and carries with it a maximum penalty of 60 years prison. Various crimes involving children, such as first degree sexual assault of a child or repeated sexual assault of a child are even more serious. They’re both Class A felonies. A conviction for a Class A felony results in a prison sentence for the rest of your life. Whether the defendant is allowed to seek parole at some point in the future is the only question left up to the judge.
There are certainly sex crimes that result in penalties on the other end of the spectrum. Fourth degree sexual assault, which usually includes allegations of touching or grabbing, is a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 9 months in jail and $10,000.00 in fines. No sort of sex offender registry is required upon a conviction for this offense, but that doesn’t change the embarrassment or shame attached to a public conviction. We recognize the negative stigmas that attach when you’re convicted of an offense like this. Our law firm believes that hiring a top sexual assault defense attorney makes this process a little easier, and could lead to better results for the defendant.
Van Severen Law Office dedicates its entire practice to criminal defense. We regularly defend individuals facing the most serious criminal allegations in Wisconsin, such as homicide and sexual assault. We’ve won a portion of these cases, allowing our clients to walk free. To speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers regarding your sexual assault charge, or any other charge, contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202.
Sometimes the biggest shock comes when you’re first informed of the criminal charges against you. Sometimes it’s obvious why you’re being charged. And in others, it’s not clear at all.
For example, something that seems harmless, like viewing a pornographic website, could quickly spiral and lead to criminal charges. If you encounter child pornography while browsing the pornographic website, and prosecutors find out, you’ll almost certainly face possession of child pornography charges. While accidentally browsing to a website once likely won’t result in criminal charge, saving the material or returning to it will.
What about other cases, that involve an alleged victim and a completely fabricated story? The credibility of an alleged victim is always important. As we’ve discussed on other parts of our website, you can be charged with a sex offense just because someone else said you did it. That’s scary. But don’t lose hope. Our criminal defense attorneys frequently work with investigators familiar with sexual assault charges. We understand that “victims” frequently lie. Our investigators will check into previous accusations from your accuser. Our criminal defense attorneys will scour police reports and videos searching for inconsistencies in your accuser’s statement. And most importantly, we’re on your side.
Finally, you might know exactly why you’re facing charges. But you still deserve a top criminal defense attorney. Letting the government run all over you, even if you’re 100% guilty, is asking for trouble. An advocate for your rights is important, and fair, and allows you to fight against unconstitutional police and prosecutor conduct, the burden protecting you, and overzealous state actors trying to lock you up.
This is one of the first questions many potential clients ask us. Most sentences eventually expire – you get out of jail or prison, and you finish any probation or extended supervision requirement. But some convictions result in the defendant having to register as a sex offender for either 15 years or the rest of his life.
If you’re required to register as a sex offender, the government forces you to provide your name, sex offense conviction, date of birth, gender, race, height, hair color, eye color, address, email addresses, internet address of every profile (i.e. Facebook), employer, and school. Keeping on top and constantly remembering to update the registry can be an onerous task to worry about for the rest of your life. But failing to do so could result in additional felony criminal charges.
Importantly, you must follow sex offender registration requirements if you’re convicted of:
Mandatory minimum penalties apply to certain convictions. If a mandatory minimum penalty applies, the court must sentence the defendant to at least a certain amount of time. That amount of differs with the charge. And while they don’t apply to many of the lower-level sex crime charges, they do usually apply in the most aggravated sexual assault and sexual crime situations.
The mandatory minimum penalties are firm, but there are ways to work around them. One of the most common tactics criminal defense attorneys use to avoid a mandatory minimum penalty is to convince the prosecutor to modify the charges to a lower, or even equal, criminal charge that does not carry a mandatory penalty. While this doesn’t work in all cases, in the ones that it does, a significant hurdle to the defendant is removed.
That all being said, these are the mandatory penalties facing individuals convicted of sexual assault:
Firstly, for cases involving sexual contact or intercourse with a child under 13 years old, the mandatory term of initial confinement of 25 years in prison. This applies to the Class A and Class B felony level sexual assault of a child charges.
Secondly, for cases involving sexual intercourse with a victim under 12 years old, or sexual intercourse by use or threat of force with a victim under 16 years old, the mandatory term of initial confinement is also 25 years in prison. This is the term of initial confinement.
Finally, for all other sexual assault of the same child cases, the mandatory term of initial confinement is 5 years in prison.
The mandatory minimum sentence for possession of child pornography requires that the defendant serve at least 3 years initial confinement in prison.
Child pornography cases typically involve numerous – dozens, sometimes hundreds – of images. The mandatory minimum penalties that apply for possession of child pornography can run concurrent, or at the same time. But the fact that these images or videos are usually part of a large collection, and expose the defendant to centuries worth of prison time, is certainly an aggravating circumstance in defending the case.
First and second degree sexual assault charges, on their own, do not have mandatory minimum penalties. That being said, if the defendant has a prior conviction for either offense, the following rules apply:
Finally, sexual assault of a child charges carry mandatory minimum penalties:
First of all, recognize you’re not alone. Although friends, family, and professional contacts may quickly make assumptions about you, do not give up hope. In some circumstances, individuals make mistakes. In others, victims make untrue and unfair allegations against defendants. No matter your situation, our criminal defense attorneys truly believe in the work they do. And finally, remember: we’re on your side.
Secondly, don’t wait around to meet with one of our criminal defense attorneys. Police quickly respond to sexual assault allegations. Before you know it, they’ll certainly be at your door. While explanation for what happened makes sense to you, police will certainly try to twist it. And they’ll almost certainly use it against you later in court. Do not make a statement to police. Instead, call us.
Finally, the sexual crime defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office focus 100% of their representation on criminal defense. Defending individuals charged with crimes like sexual assault is all we do. Our laser-like focus allows us to provide the best criminal defense in Wisconsin.
Call us at (414) 270-0202. Let’s start fighting your case.