Misdemeanor penalties in Wisconsin: What are they?
Misdemeanor penalties are serious. But what is a misdemeanor? In Wisconsin, “A crime is conduct which is prohibited by state law and punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Conduct punishable by only a forfeiture is not a crime.” Wis. Stat. § 939.12.
A misdemeanor is a crime – it’s not a forfeiture. It’s certainly not a felony. What’s different between a misdemeanor a felony?
Misdemeanors and felonies are both crimes. The main difference between the two is simple. The difference focuses on time. Misdemeanors penalties are generally under a year and spent in jail. Felonies carry penalties of longer than a year, and they’re served in prison.
What’s the actual definition of a misdemeanor?
Section 939.60 of the Wisconsin Statutes provides us the actual definition of misdemeanor:
A crime punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prisons is a felony. Every other crime is a misdemeanor.
We certainly believe that the focus on time is easier to understand. By this definition, a crime not punished with prison is a misdemeanor.
What are the misdemeanor penalties in Wisconsin?
Crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors have three classifications, provided in section 939.51 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
- Firstly, a Class A Misdemeanor: 9 months jail, a fine of up to $10,000.00, or both;
- Secondly, a A Class B Misdemeanor: 90 days jail, a fine of up to $1,000.00, or both;
- Finally, a Class C Misdemeanor is punishable by 30 days, $500.00, or both.
Misdemeanors without a specified punishment (unspecified misdemeanors) carry 30 days jail and a fine of $500.00. Upon a specified punishment, the above-referenced maximums apply.
Examples of misdemeanor penalties:
Punching another individual without his consent is a misdemeanor battery (Wis. Stat. sec. 940.19). Misdemeanors batteries are a Class A misdemeanor. Upon a conviction, the defendant faces up to 9 months jail and a $10,000.00 fine. For example: 1 year probation, with 10 days condition jail.
Swearing and causing a disturbance is a disorderly conduct (Wis. Stat. sec. 947.01). Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the defendant faces up to 90 days jail and a $1,000.00 fine. For example: 1 year probation.
Class C misdemeanors are rare. If you’re a minor in possession of alcohol, and you’re caught the second time within 30 months of the prior offense, you’ve committed a Class C misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the defendant faces up to 30 days in jail, $500.00, or both. For example: 20 days jail. Class C misdemeanor are certainly the lowest level criminal offense there is. But they’re absolutely still worth fighting.
Finally, sometimes crimes carry “misdemeanor u” penalties. Section 939.61 of the Wisconsin statutes defines these crimes:
- If the crime is a misdemeanor, and no penalty is expressed, the defendant faces a fine up to $500.00, imprisonment up to 30 days, or both.
Hire a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney to work on your misdemeanor criminal case
Felonies are certainly more serious than misdemeanors. But that doesn’t mean you should give up the fight. Surely prosecutors don’t want to fight you on these things, but remember: if you’re convicted of anything, even a Class C misdemeanor, that’s a criminal record. Criminal records don’t go away.
If you are criminally charged, call one of the criminal defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. Our defense attorneys certainly answer phones 24/7 and are looking forward to fighting cases just like yours.
Updated June 29, 2021.