Most people think of assault and battery as the same crime, but the two ideas are different. Assault is a threat which creates apprehension of harm, while battery is the actual physical act that does harm someone. Under Wisconsin law, battery is an intentional act of causing injury to another person. Whether battery is considered a felony or misdemeanor act depends on the severity of the act.
Consequences of misdemeanor battery
In Wisconsin, if a person causes bodily harm to another person, the charge might be a Class A misdemeanor, unless the nature of the act causes substantial or great bodily harm. This could be something like hitting someone with a ball, spitting on a person or even blowing smoke in their face. Perpetrators face fines up to $10,000 and up to 9 months in prison.
Substantial or aggravated battery
Battery becomes a felony crime when the bodily harm is more significant. There are two types of felony battery, substantial and aggravated. The crime of substantial battery is when significant bodily harm is caused by the perpetrator. This could include incidents involving tooth loss, burns, lacerations which require stitches or fractures of bones.
Aggravated battery involves great bodily harm, which is generally an injury that creates a risk of death or causes long-term or permanent impairments. If the perpetrator only intended to cause minor harm, but instead does cause more severe bodily injury, the charge could be a felony of aggravated or substantial battery. When the injured person is over the age of 62 or has a known physical disability, the law assumes the crime is substantial battery. It is up to the perpetrator to show that it was not.
Felony charges for battery have even more severe penalties than misdemeanor battery. A perpetrator could face 3.5 to 15 years in prison, plus a fine up to $50,000. When a dangerous weapon is used during the crime, the court could impose additional penalties. Batteries committed against judges, law enforcement and other public officials have harsher sentences, too.
Get the right information
Being charged with battery is a serious offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights and tell you what to expect from the time you are arrested throughout the process. With this information, you can make good decisions about your situation to find the best possible outcome. It is vital to have an advocate who understands criminal law on your side.