Being accused of a sexual assault can leave you reeling. The penalties for these crimes are severe in Wisconsin, putting your career and freedom on the line. To fight these accusations, it’s vital to contact an experienced sexual assault attorney as soon as possible. 

At Maciolek Law Group, we offer the tenacious representation you need to safeguard your future. Take a closer look at what facing these accusations can be like and how our seasoned team can make a difference.

Understanding Wisconsin Sexual Assault Charges 

In Wisconsin, there are four degrees of sexual assault the Madison Police Department can arrest you in connection with. Each of these degrees carries its own set of penalties. 

First-Degree Sexual Assault

First-degree sexual assault is the most serious of these offenses. You can be charged with this if you allegedly had sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person without their consent and that contact:

  • Results in pregnancy
  • Involves the use of a weapon 
  • Causes great bodily harm 
  • Involves coercion or force

First-degree sexual assault also refers to non-consensual sexual contact aided by another person and sexual contact with a child under the age of 16. Generally, it’s a Class B felony and carries penalties that include up to $100,000 in fines and a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. 

Additionally, if the assault involved a child under 13, life in prison is a possible penalty. First-degree sexual assault convictions also mean being registered as a sex offender.

Second-Degree Sexual Assault

Second-degree sexual assault is a broad category involving sexual contact that uses the threat of force or violence and results in injuries, diseases, and mental anguish. It also includes sexual assault aided by another person, but without the use of outright violence. 

Sexual contact with an intoxicated, mentally impaired, or unconscious person is considered to be second-degree sexual assault, as is a prison guard having sexual contact with an inmate and a caregiver having sex with a patient. In instances when sex with a child under 16 doesn’t involve violence, it becomes a second-degree sexual assault. 

These are Class C felonies and carry penalties of fines of $100,000 and up to 40 years in prison. You also have to register as a sex offender. 

Third-Degree Sexual Assault

Third-degree sexual assault refers to sexual intercourse with a person without their consent or urinating, defecating, or ejaculating on someone without their consent. It’s a Class G felony that could mean spending up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. You’re also registered as a sex offender. 

Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault

Fourth-degree sexual assault encompasses cases where there’s inappropriate sexual, non-consensual contact, short of intercourse. Groping is an example. It’s a Class A misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to nine months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. You’re not registered as a sex offender, however. 

Why You Need to Hire a Madison Sexual Assault Lawyer

Prosecutors will work diligently to put together a case against you, gathering evidence that could include DNA and eyewitness accounts. You never want to step into the Dane County Courthouse without someone representing you. 

Robust Strategies

To help cast doubt onto these pieces of evidence or to provide an alternate scenario to what occurred, you need lawyers building your case. At Maciolek Law Group, we can develop effective defense strategies that can point out weaknesses in the prosecutor’s story. 

We’ll also look at how the police conducted their investigation. If there were any irregularities in how they gathered the evidence, our team can do everything possible to have that evidence thrown out. Our lawyers can request transcripts of your police interviews to ensure there was no coercion and that your rights were respected at all times. 

When you hire Wisconsin sexual assault lawyers, you benefit from an experienced legal team creating a robust defense on your behalf. 

Negotiation Skills

At Maciolek Law Group, we can negotiate with the prosecution as well. In some cases, this could be the best option, especially if pleading gives you a chance of avoiding the sex offender registry or serious prison time. 

The goal is always to help you obtain the best-case scenario, and you’ll be involved in the process of making these decisions. 

Trial Advocacy

If the case goes to trial, we’ll provide zealous representation. Our lawyers take a bold and meticulous approach to your defense, ensuring that the jury learns about you, what really happened, and why you are not guilty.. 

Essential Support

Crucially, hiring a sexual assault lawyer also provides the support you need throughout this challenging process. These charges can be devastating and can upend your entire life. We can help you navigate the complexities of the justice system and answer all of the questions — every step of the way. 

Available Defenses in Madison Sexual Assault Cases

There are a number of strategies we can leverage, depending on your case’s facts. One strategy is to present an alibi. An alibi defense involves demonstrating that you were at a different location when the assault occurred, therefore making it impossible for you to have committed it. 

Alternatively, we can opt for a defense based on consent. If you received consent, we can use that to defend you against the charges. In this type of defense, we don’t contest that the sexual contact occurred but that it was consensual. Keep in mind that this defense isn’t always an option, especially when dealing with children under 16. 

Another defense option we can choose is misidentification. This defense involves asserting that the victim mistakenly identified you as the perpetrator. We can challenge witnesses, how police lineups were conducted, and the accuracy of any available DNA evidence. 

What to Do After Being Charged With a Sexual Assault

It’s crucial that you remember your rights don’t disappear when you’re charged with sexual assault. One of the most important rights you have is the right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer any questions, even if you’re arrested. 

If there’s a warrant or search order, you’ll have to comply with its demands, but it’s essential that you don’t talk. At the first opportunity you have, ask to speak with a lawyer. Having a lawyer beside you during police questioning is important since officers may try to fit anything you say into the narrative they’re already building. 

You want to preserve any records that could prove you weren’t at the scene of the assault as well. These can include diaries, videos, social media posts, and emails. In fact, you don’t want to delete anything related to the crime at all, since you could be charged with evidence tampering as a result. 

It’s common for the police to request volunteer tests, like DNA swabs, or searches. Refuse these. Don’t give anyone access to your computer or cellphone unless they have a warrant, and don’t turn over written records. Make sure also to avoid any kind of contact with the victim or their relatives. 

Call Maciolek Law Group for Trusted Legal Help Today

We understand how intimidating being charged with sexual assault can be. If you’ve been arrested for sexual assault or suspect you will be arrested, you need a seasoned advocate on your side. 

At Maciolek Law Group, our team can fight to protect both your rights and your future. Call us to speak with a sexual assault attorney serving in Madison today. 

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