Wisconsin Sexual Assault Frequently Asked Questions
Facing allegations of sexual assault can be an incredibly distressing and complicated experience. At Maciolek Law Group, we firmly believe in the presumption of innocence and the importance of an aggressive defense for those accused of sexual assault. Based in Green Bay, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping clients navigate the nuances of sexual assault cases.
This dedicated page aims to provide you with answers to some of the most common questions we receive regarding this sensitive legal matter.
How does Wisconsin define “consent?”
Consent is a critical factor in any legal matter involving sexual activity. Wisconsin law defines “consent” in sexual assault cases as “words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact” (940.225).
This definition includes several important pieces. Consent must be affirmative and given without coercion, and the person giving consent must have the capacity to do so. This means that they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they are not mentally or physically incapacitated.
What are possible defenses for sexual assault charges?
While sex crime charges may be among the most stigmatizing criminal charges, it is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is crucial to seek legal representation from a defense lawyer with experience successfully defending individuals charged with sex crimes. Common defenses for sex crime charges may include the following:
- Consent: One of the most common defenses in a sexual assault case is to argue that the alleged victim gave their consent. If the two parties involved had a consensual relationship and engaged in sexual activity, it may be possible to argue that the sexual encounter in question was consensual.
- False Accusations: In some cases, the accuser may be motivated to make false accusations of sexual assault due to revenge, jealousy, or financial gain. Your attorney may be able to uncover evidence that supports this defense and undermines the credibility of the accuser’s allegations.
- Mistaken Identity: In some cases, the alleged victim may incorrectly identify the defendant as the perpetrator of the sexual assault. Your defense attorney may challenge the identification process and argue that the victim’s memory or perception was flawed.
- Lack of Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed sexual assault in order to convict you. If there is insufficient evidence to support the prosecution’s case, your attorney may argue that there is reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt.
Every sexual assault case is unique, and your attorney will craft a defense strategy suited to your individual circumstances.
What is the age of consent in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has two ages of consent. Age 18 is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally capable of giving their consent to sexual intercourse. Individuals older than age 16 but under the age of 18 can consent to sexual activity — excluding intercourse — with other individuals in that age bracket.
Wisconsin law explicitly prohibits any sexual contact with a minor under the age of 16. For example, a 15-year-old cannot consent to sexual contact with a 17-year-old under the law. Sexual contact or intercourse with a minor under the age of 16 is a felony offense punishable by lifetime sex offender registration and incarceration if convicted.
Will I have to register as a sex offender?
Individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses must register with the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry. This means that personal information, including your name, address, and photograph, is entered into a public registry that is accessible to law enforcement, employers, and members of the general public. Wisconsin Statute 301.45 requires sex offender registration for most sex offense convictions, including:
- First, second, or third-degree sexual assault
- First or second-degree sexual assault of a child
- Repeated acts of sexual assault of the same child
- Sexual exploitation of a child
- Use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime
- Possession of child pornography
At Maciolek Law Group, our attorneys understand the seriousness of sexual assault charges and the potentially life-changing consequences for our clients. We are dedicated to providing skilled, aggressive representation to protect our client’s rights and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.
How will a sexual assault conviction impact my employment?
A sexual assault conviction can have serious consequences for your future employment prospects. Many employers conduct background checks on job applicants, and a criminal record can make it difficult to secure employment in certain fields. In Wisconsin, state law prohibits individuals convicted of a “serious child sex offense” from holding a job or volunteer position that requires the individual to work or interact primarily and directly with children under age 16.
What should I do if I am accused of sexual assault?
If you are accused of sexual assault or believe that you are being investigated for a sex offense, it is important to remain calm and composed. Do not speak to anyone about the allegations, including the accuser, law enforcement, or members of the media. Anything you say can be used against you, and it is important to avoid making statements that could be misconstrued or taken out of context.
It is in your best interest to contact an experienced sexual assault defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you on your rights, provide guidance on how to handle interactions with law enforcement and work to develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your specific case.
Contact a Green Bay, Appleton and Oconto Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
If you are facing sexual assault accusations or charges, you need the best attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected as you navigate these challenging charges. Contact our office online today or call us at 920-309-3813 for a free consultation.