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Here To Guide You Through Your Domestic Violence Charge

When an argument becomes heated, the police often become involved. Whether they are called by a nosy neighbor or by a frightened family member, officers often feel pressured to make an arrest – just because they arrived at the scene of the altercation.

Even if the accuser chooses not to press charges, the state may decide to pursue matters on its own. The result? Criminal proceedings that the victim wouldn’t have chosen and that the defendant doesn’t deserve.

Taking the Right Approach to Testimony in Court

Domestic violence cases are sensitive matters. Often, one party’s word is pitted against the others’. The case revolves around the victim’s sensitive testimony. Your lawyer must know how to properly interact with the witness in court. She must know how to ask the right questions, and how to be simultaneously respectful and protective of your rights.

Our domestic violence lawyers have extensive experience in handling sensitive domestic violence matters appropriately and effectively. We are a leading local criminal defense law firm with a reputation for favorable results in even the most complex and high-stakes defenses. That’s what makes us the right choice for representing people accused of domestic violence in Wisconsin.

The Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction

Choosing the right attorney for your domestic violence defense is critical, especially because the consequences of a conviction can be life changing. In addition to jail time, convicted defendants often face:
  • Visitation consequences
  • Loss of the ability to legally carry a firearm
  • Trouble finding jobs, and renting apartments
The best way to avoid these consequences is to avoid a conviction. That’s where we can help.

Are Madison, WI police required to make an arrest on a domestic violence call?

Even when two people deeply love each other, an argument may spiral out of control quickly. If you add alcohol or drugs to the mix, romantic partners may find it difficult to control their tempers. Still, if an argument becomes physically violent, there is a good chance someone is going to the Dane County jail.

In Madison, police officers have a legal duty to make an arrest for many domestic violence calls. Still, under Wisconsin’s mandatory arrest law, the arresting officer must be certain some elements exist to support the arrest.

Probable cause in a domestic violence situation

The first element requires the officer to have probable cause to believe someone committed a crime. Rather than having just suspicion, the officer must have evidence that would cause a reasonable person to believe the individual violated the law.

Mandatory DV arrests require a look at the domestic relationship involved

The second element in Wisconsin’s mandatory arrest law indicates the altercation must involve a domestic relationship. The following relationships qualify as domestic under state law:

  • Current and former spouses
  • Current and former co-habiting adults
  • Adults who share children

Wisconsin police can arrest you if they suspect or can show domestic abuse

The third element addresses domestic abuse. For officers to have a legal requirement to arrest the suspect, the suspect must have done one or more of the following:

  • Intentionally caused someone to sustain a physical injury, physical pain or an illness
  • Intentionally impaired someone’s ability to use his or her body
  • Performed a physical act that caused someone to fear imminent physical harm

Proof of physical injury can trigger an arrest

The fourth element requires the officer to have proof the aggressor caused a physical injury. If not, the officer must have a good faith belief that a physical injury is likely to occur in the immediate future.

A history of prior domestic disturbances or domestic disputes matters

Finally, officers have a legal obligation to arrest a suspect if all other elements are present and someone filed a report within the previous 28 days.

While officers have a legal duty to arrest someone following many domestic violence calls, there are often ways to avoid the many negative consequences that typically come with a conviction. Ultimately, following an arrest, closely examining both the law and the facts of the incident is usually advisable.

Contact Our Madison Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers

If you’re charged with a domestic violence offense, contact an experienced Madison defense attorney. Our Wisconsin law firm represents people facing criminal domestic violence allegations, including domestic disorderly conduct, domestic battery and child neglect or endangerment.

To talk with a lawyer about the charges you face, call Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C. at 608-471-5003 or contact us online for a free 30 minute initial and confidential consultation about your situation.