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What is Considered Sexual Assault in Wisconsin?

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Sexual assault refers to sexual, physical contact and behavior performed without consent, including fondling, forcing a person to perform sexual acts, and attempted rape.

It’s imperative to understand sexual assault laws in Wisconsin, particularly if you’ve been accused of sexual assault. Accusations are severe and can change your life and future.

Wisconsin Sexual Assault Laws

Under Wisconsin law, there are four degrees of sexual assault, depending on the force used by the perpetrator and the resulting harm. First, second, and third-degree sexual assault charges are considered felonies, while fourth-degree sexual assault is a misdemeanor charge.

First-degree sexual assault includes sexual contact or intercourse without consent and:

  • Resulting in great bodily harm or pregnancy
  • Accomplished by threats or use of a dangerous weapon
  • Aided by one or more persons by threat of force or violence

Additionally, first-degree sexual assault charges can result from sexual contact or intercourse with a person under 13, regardless of whether there was consent. First-degree sexual assault penalties include imprisonment for no more than 40 years.

Second-degree sexual assault includes sexual contact or intercourse without consent and:

  • Use or threat of violence
  • Causes injury, including physical and mental injury
  • Aided by one or more persons

Second-degree sexual assault also includes sexual contact or intercourse with an individual who has yet to reach 16. Penalties for second-degree include imprisonment for no more than 20 years and fines of no more than $10,000.

Third-degree sexual assault involves:

  • Sexual intercourse without consent
  • Sexual contact with ejaculation without consent

Penalties include prison for no more than five years and $10,000 in fines.

Fourth-degree sexual assault involves sexual contact without consent. Sexual contact includes intentional touching of a person’s intimate parts, directly or through clothing, with a body part or object, whether the touching is for sexually degrading or humiliating or arousal and gratification. Penalties include no more than nine months in a county jail or a maximum of $10,000 in fines.

Wisconsin law defines consent as words or actions that freely provide agreement to sexual contact or intercourse by a competent person.

Sexual Assault Investigations, Prosecution, and Defense

Once a victim has reported their sexual assault, law enforcement can begin their investigations. The investigation involves interviewing the victim and the alleged perpetrator and obtaining evidence of the assault.

The district attorney may charge a defendant with a crime if they believe there is enough evidence to show they committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Creating a defense strategy can help minimize the severity of penalties or have the case dismissed altogether. Sexual assault defenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Consent
  • Misidentification
  • Lack of evidence
  • Procedural issues

A defense attorney can handle all aspects of a sexual assault case, including courtroom representation and plea deals.

If You Are Accused of Sexual Assault in Wisconsin

If you’ve been accused of sexual assault and now face charges, understanding Wisconsin sexual assault laws is essential. A criminal defense attorney can also explain your rights and options.

Maciolek Law Group is dedicated to helping clients fight their criminal charges. Let us protect your rights and future. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

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