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Domestic violence reports have serious consequences

Laws passed in 2014 have changed the consequences for domestic violence, even when no arrest is made. "Domestic violence is defined as intentional infliction of physical pain, injury or illness or an act that may cause another person to fear imminent danger of those things." Under the Wisconsin statute 968.075, a law enforcement officer shall arrest and take a person into custody if: "The officer has a reasonable basis for believing that continued domestic abuse against the alleged victim is likely."

Generally, this is presumed to be a mandatory arrest law, but the decision to enforce this law is left to the police. Local police departments have a great deal of latitude within the mandatory arrest law. The officer may decide not to make an arrest, but that does not mean that the incident will be forgotten.

What are the effects of a domestic violence report?

Gov. Scott Walker signed a new provision to the mandatory arrest law in 2014, requiring the district attorney to make a report to the Wisconsin Department of Justice when law enforcement responds to domestic violence calls without making arrests. Prosecutors may use these reports of a suspect's misconduct from the past 10 years as evidence in another domestic violence case. Even if the suspect was not convicted or even charged with a crime, this evidence could be presented in domestic abuse cases.

Another law which changed in 2014 requires persons under a restraining order or injunction of domestic violence to surrender their weapons. They must complete a firearm possession form and appear before the court, and at that point, it is highly likely that they will be forced to surrender their weapons. Under federal law, with a domestic violence conviction a person may forfeit his or her Second Amendment rights of owning a firearm.

People who are arrested for domestic violence face severe consequences. For 72 hours following the arrest, if they do get out of jail, they are not allowed to contact the victim and must stay away from the victim's residence. In Wisconsin, crimes of domestic violence have special rules and procedures which could affect them for many years. A person in this situation needs an attorney to provide counsel about the situation and how the prosecutor and assigned judge are likely to treat the case.

Domestic violence is a serious offense

The laws surrounding domestic violence have made allegations of abuse more serious than ever before. It is imperative that someone who is facing charges of domestic violence is able to protect his or her rights in the situation. It will take a strong defense to make sure the best possible solution is achieved in the case.

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