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What Is the Difference Between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree Sexual Assault in Wisconsin?

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Are you facing sexual assault accusations or charges in Wisconsin? If so, you should know that these charges vary significantly depending on the severity of the alleged offense. The more serious the charge, the harsher the possible penalties.

However, remember that an accusation will not necessarily lead to a conviction, and you have the right to a rigorous defense no matter the gravity of the charges against you or the facts of your case.

Degrees of Sexual Assault Offenses in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the law categorizes sexual assault into four main degrees, each reflecting the severity of the offense. Here’s how they differ from least to most severe.

Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault

The least severe degree, fourth-degree sexual assault, is a Class A misdemeanor. This degree typically involves non-penetrative sexual contact without consent. Potential penalties for Class A misdemeanors in Wisconsin include up to nine months in jail and monetary fines.

Third-Degree Sexual Assault

A Class G felony, third-degree sexual assault involves sexual intercourse without consent but without the more serious circumstances of the first and second degrees. The penalties for a Class G felony include up to 10 years in prison and more expensive fines. 

Second-Degree Sexual Assault

This degree is a Class C or Class B felony, depending on the specifics of the case. It includes sexual contact or intercourse without consent, and with elements like the use of force or the threat of force. However, offenses in this category do not result in the severe harm characteristic of first-degree cases.

A Class C felony carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison and hefty fines, while a Class B felony can result in up to 60 years in prison.

First-Degree Sexual Assault

This is the most serious form. It’s classified as a Class B felony, the second most serious type of felony in Wisconsin. It involves non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse, often accompanied by severe circumstances like causing great bodily harm or when the victim is physically unable to resist.

Potential penalties for first-degree sexual assault include up to 60 years in prison.

Potential Defenses for Sexual Assault Charges

Here are some common defenses that lawyers use in sexual assault cases to challenge the charges or reduce the severity of the consequences:

  • Consent: Arguing that the alleged victim actually gave consent to the sexual activity
  • Alibi: Showing that the defendant was not at the location of the alleged assault when it occurred
  • False Accusation: Suggesting that the allegations are entirely false
  • Mistaken Identity: Claiming that the accuser has wrongly identified the defendant as the perpetrator
  • Mental Incapacity: Arguing that the defendant was mentally incapacitated at the time of the assault
  • Intoxication: Proving the defendant was too intoxicated to form the intent necessary to commit assault

Contact a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer in Wisconsin

Don’t wait to get the skilled and attentive defense you need if you face sex crime charges in Wisconsin.

Get in touch with Maciolek Law Group now. We can evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you explore your options when you contact us for your confidential consultation session.

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