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

Last month, our blog began discussing how even the most seemingly minor physical altercations can have serious consequences in that one person, simply wanting to put the matter behind them or dismiss it as nothing, may nevertheless find themselves placed under arrest for misdemeanor battery.   

While misdemeanor battery charges involve another person suffering bodily harm, meaning "physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition," the question naturally arises as to what happens if the injuries resulting from a physical altercation are considerably more serious. The answer, as you might expect, is the filing of felony-level battery charges.

When is battery punished as a felony?

Under Wisconsin law, battery is punished as a felony when it results in either 1) substantial bodily harm or 2) great bodily harm. It's also considered a felony-level offense when perpetrated against certain vulnerable people.

What constitutes "substantial bodily harm?"

A person is considered to have committed felony-level battery if they intentionally cause substantial bodily harm (i.e., physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition) to another person.

Here, substantial bodily harm is defined as any bodily injury resulting in the following:

  • Lacerations necessitating stitches, tissue adhesive or staples
  • Bone fractures
  • Broken noses
  • Burns
  • Petechia, meaning reputed blood vessels or capillaries in the eyes, eyelids, mucous membranes or skin
  • Tooth fractures or loss
  • Concussions
  • Temporary loss of consciousness, sight or hearing

How is battery resulting in substantial bodily harm punished?  

Battery resulting in substantial bodily harm is defined as a Class I felony, meaning a conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to three years and six months in prison.

We'll continue this discussion in a future post, examining more about battery resulting in great bodily harm.

In the meantime, if you've been charged with any manner of violent crime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible as the stakes are simply too high. 

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