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Self-Defense Laws In Wisconsin | Common Self-Defense Tactics

Applying Self-Defense Laws in Wisconsin

One of the most common defenses to assault, homicide, and violent crime in Wisconsin is self-defense. However, the self-defense laws do not provide blanket protection. A defendant must be able to prove that he or she had a genuine fear for their life or of suffering great bodily harm, and that was why they responded with deadly force. Courts and juries must take into account the specific circumstances surrounding the incident for self-defense to be justified. Below are three examples of self-defense laws that may be considered in Wisconsin cases.

Three Common Self-Defense Considerations

  1. Duty to Retreat. Wisconsin does not impose a “duty to retreat” on the public, but a defendant’s ability to retreat from the situation prior to the use of deadly force will often be considered in self-defense cases, particularly if the defendant was the instigator. Juries are often asked to consider whether the use of deadly force was the only option left available to the defendant or if the defendant had an opportunity to remove themselves from the situation, i.e. retreat, before it escalated. If the defendant did have an ability to retreat and did not do so, a jury is less likely to accept the self-defense argument.
  2. The Castle Doctrine. Wisconsin has the Castle Doctrine rule, which falls into self-defense laws. The Castle Doctrine applies if a person is on their own property, such as a home, vehicle, or place of business, and uses deadly force against an intruder. In order for this self-defense argument to work, the intruder must have been present on the property after unlawfully and forcibly entering it. The Castle Doctrine cannot be used against an invited guest, for example. The Castle Doctrine also does not apply if the property owner pursues the intruder off of the property.
  3. Stand Your Ground Laws. Stand Your Ground laws are similar to the Castle Doctrine in that they both apply to the use of deadly force on private property. As long as you have a legal right to be in that location, were not the instigator, and don’t provoke the confrontation, and the other party continues to threaten you, you are within your rights to use deadly force under Stand Your Ground laws. The difference between Stand Your Ground and the Castle Doctrine is location. The Castle Doctrine requires the intruder to be inside the property; Stand Your Ground laws do not. Intruders can be outside of homes, businesses, or vehicles. The wrench in this self-defense argument is that Wisconsin does not have a Stand Your Ground law. However, the defense argument can be made that the victim was simply protecting themselves in fear of their life.

Meet With a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney at Eisenberg Law Offices

The criminal defense attorneys at Madison’s Eisenberg Law Offices work throughout the state to defend victims who are suddenly facing charges for using self-defense. Contact us to arrange a free case consultation so we can review the facts of your case, evaluate your options, and build a strong defense for you.

Call Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or email info@eisenberglaw.org to arrange your free consultation.

EISENBERG LAW OFFICES, S.C.

308 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI 53703 (608) 256-8356

Madison WI Attorneys Since 1983


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The Information Contained In This Site Is Not Intended To Provide Legal Advice. Please Consult An Attorney To Discuss The Facts Of Your Individual Situation. Eisenberg Law Office, S.C. 308 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703 USA (608) 256-8356