Why you can't afford to dismiss battery charges -- III

In a series of posts, our blog has been exploring how those involved in any manner of physical altercation here in Wisconsin may face consequences far more serious than they anticipated owing to the state's stringent battery laws.

Indeed, last time, we discussed how felony-level charges can be brought when battery results in substantial bodily harm or great bodily harm, or is perpetrated against certain classes of people. We'll conclude this examination in today's post.

What constitutes "great bodily harm?"

Great bodily harm is defined as any injury resulting in permanent disfigurement or permanent loss/impairment of a body part, or which creates a risk of death.

Accordingly, an individual can be charged with aggravated battery under state law for any of the following:

  • Intentionally inflicting great bodily harm upon another
  • Inflicting great bodily harm upon another via an act intended to result in only bodily harm
  • Intentionally causing bodily harm via an act that nevertheless creates a significant risk of great bodily harm

What about when battery is committed against certain classes of people?

As stated above, state law establishes that felony level charges can result when battery is perpetrated against certain classes of people. While a complete breakdown of all of these classes is beyond the scope of a single blog post, two more noteworthy examples are disabled or elderly people, and protected employees.

If an individual has a known physical disability or is over 62, there is a presumption under state law that the battery created a substantial risk of great bodily harm. As for protected employees (police officers, firefighters, EMTs, etc.), felony charges will result if the battery was committed against such an employee while he or she was acting in an official capacity, and the defendant knew or had reason to know this.

How is the conduct outlined above punished?  

Aggravated battery is defined as a Class E felony, meaning a conviction can result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to 15 years in prison.

As for battery committed against a vulnerable person or protected employee, this is defined as a Class H felony, meaning a conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 6 years in prison.

It's important to note that if an individual uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon while committing a Class E or H felony, the court can order an additional term of up to five years.

Always remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you've been charged with any manner of violent crime.

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