Reporting Domestic Violence In Wisconsin
Reporting Domestic Violence Carries Repercussions
2014 saw the passage of new laws regarding domestic violence in Wisconsin. Specifically, the law changed the consequences for reporting by placing the decision to make an arrest upon responding law enforcement officers. Prior to these changes a report practically guaranteed an arrest. Now?
Wisconsin State Statute 968.075 allows an officer to make an arrest if: “The officer has a reasonable basis for believing that continued domestic abuse against the alleged victim is likely.”
The second part of the sentence gives quite a bit of leeway to officers and may not always lead to an arrest. However, even when arrest is not made, there are repercussions for reporting domestic violence to the authorities.
Domestic Violence Reports Can Be Used As Evidence
As part of the 2014 change, district attorneys are now required to report all instances of law enforcement responding to a domestic abuse call without making an arrest to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Prosecutors can then use these reports as evidence if the accused is charged with domestic abuse within the following 10 years. These reports can be used even if the suspect wasn’t charged or wasn’t convicted of the crime.
Even if the officer does not make an arrest, he/she still has to file the report and the district attorney will still look at it. It’s possible that the district attorney will find enough evidence to make an arrest and will send an officer back to arrest you.
We are not suggesting that anyone suffering domestic abuse not report it. If you are being abused and need legal protection from your abuser, you should definitely call the police and make the report.
What we do want to point out is that these legal changes mean even frivolous reports can be used against a person for a decade, so reporting domestic abuse when there isn’t actually any abuse going on may affect your partner for a long time.
Finally, anyone who has been charged with domestic abuse, should consult a criminal defense attorney right away. Prompt response by your attorney can minimize damage and protect you from false charges. As this law proves, even allegations have far-ranging consequences for which you may be unaware.
For example, anyone who has had a restraining order or an injunction for domestic violence placed against them must surrender their weapons and a conviction can result in a loss of your Second Amendment right to own a firearm. There are even short-term consequences. Anyone arrested for domestic abuse in Wisconsin must refrain from contacting the victim and stay away from his/her residence for 72 hours following the arrest, even if they live in the same house.
Consult Eisenberg Law In Domestic Abuse Situations
Wisconsin has many special rules and procedures that apply in cases involving domestic abuse. Consultation with one of Eisenberg Law’s experienced defense attorneys is extremely important to ensure your freedom and keep your record clear. Even if the allegations are true, an attorney can provide insights into how the prosecutor and judge are likely to handle the case and explain your best defense options. The stakes are simply too high to leave the situation to chance.