Wisconsin has strict mandatory arrest laws for allegations of domestic violence. With mandatory arrest, an officer is legally obligated to take a suspect into custody if they have reason to believe a domestic violence crime has been committed.

Understanding Wisconsin’s Domestic Violence Law

In Wisconsin, domestic violence laws pertain to both current and former spouses or partners or any members of the same household.

The laws overseeing domestic violence can be confusing because they’re defined differently in different law codes. The Wisconsin Family Law Code characterizes an incident of domestic violence as having the following features:

  • Intentionally causing physical injury, physical pain, or illness
  • Intentionally impairing another person’s physical condition
  • Committing a first-, second-, or third-degree sexual assault
  • Performing any physical action that causes another person to fear physical injury, pain, illness, impairment of physical condition, or sexual assault

The criminal law code differs slightly, as it doesn’t consider abuse between dating partners. It also doesn’t provide a definition of domestic abuse — instead, a modifier may be used to address abusive behavior. When this is the case, a domestic violence charge can enhance another penalty, such as aggravated battery or homicide. 

The charges for domestic violence range from non-criminal citations to felony-level offenses. Penalties are often more severe than those for similar crimes against strangers.

The Mandatory Arrest Law

The state’s “mandatory arrest” law is based on Wis. Statute 968.075. If police are called to a possible domestic situation and must make an arrest, the case is automatically referred to the Dane County District Attorney’s office in Madison. The alleged victim is not allowed to explain, recant, or request that the charges be dropped. 

Following an arrest, the alleged aggressor may not have contact with the alleged victim for 72 hours. Violating the no-contact order, even if you’re innocent and the alleged victim consents to visitation, could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a sentence of up to nine months in jail. 

Defense Strategies for Domestic Violence Charges

For those who have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, mounting a strong defense is critical. Working with an experienced domestic violence attorney serving in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, is the best way to protect your rights.

Every case is different, but you can successfully challenge a charge of domestic violence with the help of Maciolek Law Group.

Lack of Proof

A defendant can’t be convicted if a prosecutor doesn’t meet the legal burden of proof. A seasoned domestic violence attorney will understand how to spot the holes in a prosecutor’s case and expose them. They’ll also be able to challenge scientific and forensic evidence and call the reliability of witnesses into question. 

False Allegations

An attorney can use their considerable resources to search for inconsistencies in an accuser’s story and cast doubt on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Comparing statements to witness accounts and police records helps confirm false allegations.

Your attorney might also argue that there was no motive for violence or present witnesses and evidence that contradicts the alleged victim’s story. 


In some domestic violence cases, the person who was arrested was defending themselves or trying to protect their children. A self-defense claim may be successful if the defendant had a reasonable belief of an imminent threat and their response was proportionate.

Additionally, you must establish that you didn’t initiate the incident. Any documentation, such as photographs of injuries, medical records, and eyewitness testimonies, can be helpful for this purpose.

Insufficient Evidence of Injury

Some domestic violence cases rely heavily on injury evidence. Medical records, expert opinions, and other forms of evidence may be used to dispute the alleged cause or severity of injuries.

Why Having a Domestic Violence Attorney Serving in Sun Prairie, WI, Matters

If you’re arrested on domestic violence charges, you’ll be taken to the Sun Prairie Police Department on West Main Street for booking. As soon as you’re able, the first thing you should do is call an attorney. Innocent people often believe they don’t need legal representation, but that isn’t the case.

Attorneys are familiar with the legal system in Wisconsin and know which local, state, and federal laws apply to your case. This in-depth understanding of the legal system allows attorneys to protect their clients’ rights at every stage of the ensuing proceedings.

Here are some of the ways a defense attorney can help you:

Gathering Evidence

Legal professionals have the knowledge and resources to obtain evidence that can be crucial in proving a defendant’s innocence. They can present evidence like surveillance footage, medical records, and expert opinions to challenge the prosecutor’s claims. 

Providing Guidance and Advocacy

Facing a domestic violence charge alone is highly stressful. A skilled attorney from Maciolek Law Group will explain the legal process to you step by step. They’ll also keep you informed on the progress of your case and be your advocate inside and outside of court.

Your attorney will be present with you at all times in the courtroom to ensure that your side of the story is heard and considered.

Countering the Prosecution

Anticipating prosecutorial tactics can be extremely helpful in domestic violence cases. 

Your attorney will be familiar with the common legal strategies prosecutors employ and can plan for their every move. This level of legal understanding is vital when you’re fighting a serious charge. It could even mean the difference in whether you serve jail time or not.

Negotiating for a Favorable Outcome

Sometimes, negotiating a plea bargain is the best option. Your attorney can assess the strength or weakness of a prosecutor’s case and advise you in making informed decisions regarding plea options. You may be offered reduced charges or sentencing options that present an agreeable alternative to jail.

Protecting Your Rights

Throughout the entire process, your attorney will do everything in their power to protect your rights and make sure you’re treated fairly under the law.

If your rights have been violated in any way, such as through unlawful search and seizure, they’ll take steps to right the wrongs. Just as importantly, they’ll prevent you from incriminating yourself and defend your right to due process. 

Maciolek Law Group Is on Your Side

Being accused of domestic violence can be an extremely stressful experience. You need a qualified legal representative who will fight to protect your rights and ensure that you receive lawful treatment. The attorneys at Maciolek Law Group can build a robust case that challenges the prosecution’s evidence against you.

Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. Our firm has  substantial experience defending clients in domestic violence cases, and we know how to navigate Wisconsin’s complex legal system and get results.

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