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3 Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges | Eisenberg Law

3 Common Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic disagreements are often highly emotional and volatile and it is all too common for domestic violence charges to result. Despite Wisconsin’s strong protections for victims of domestic violence, there are several defenses to domestic violence charges that can help offenders put forth a strong defense and minimize the damage that a conviction can bring.

Anyone who is convicted of domestic violence in Wisconsin may experience repercussions in every facet of their lives from their living situation to employment to contact with their children and loved ones. It is because of these serious consequences that anyone charged with domestic violence consults a criminal defense attorney for advice and representation. The stakes are simply too high to leave your defense to chance.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Wisconsin?

Under Wisconsin law, domestic violence occurs when a person victimizes a spouse, ex-spouse, co-parent, or adult household member in specific ways. These include:

  • Purposely causing physical injury, pain, or an illness
  • Tormenting or impairing an otherwise disabled victim
  • Raping or sexually assaulting a household member
  • Engaging in a physical act or threats causing imminent fear of physical or sexual harm

3 Common Defenses to Domestic Abuse Charges

Defenses to domestic violence charges often center on defeating one or more essential elements of the crime. If the allegations are false or exaggerated, your attorney will work to prove this one essential element, for example. The most common defenses to domestic violence charges are:

  1. Self-Defense. This defense can be used if you can prove that you were defending yourself or someone else in your household from bodily harm. In order to protect yourself, you may have had to use force or defend yourself with a weapon. In this type of situation, the aggressor may be injured, but your actions do not necessarily constitute domestic violence.
  2. Factual Fraud. This defense is used when the “victim” files false domestic violence reports. We see this frequently in divorce and custody disputes as a way for the filer to attempt to sway the judgment in their favor. Your attorney will focus on collecting the facts and establishing the truth of the situation under this defense option.
  3. Excluded Victim. Not every situation will qualify as domestic violence. There are very strict definitions of which household members qualify in a domestic situation. If the victim does not meet these qualifications, the incident may not qualify as domestic violence.

Mitigating Circumstances Can Affect Outcomes

One thing to be aware of in a domestic violence situation is that both parties may receive injuries and both parties may end up being charged with domestic violence, not just the instigator. Even if one party is determined to be the aggressor, the other party may find themselves facing domestic violence charges for retaliating disproportionately. Law enforcement, attorneys, and judges always consider the history between the two parties and any mitigating factors when dealing with domestic violence situations. Your criminal defense attorney might be able to use these mitigating factors to make the case for a reduced sentence or have some charges dismissed.

Meet With an Eisenberg Law Offices Criminal Defense Attorney to Discuss Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

There are personal, professional, and reputational implications to being convicted of domestic violence. A conviction will go on your permanent record and follow you for the rest of your life. If you are facing domestic violence charges, contact Eisenberg Law Offices to build your strongest defense. Our criminal defense lawyers have been advocating for our clients’ best interests since 1983 and we have built a reputation as thorough, effective, and trustworthy defense attorneys.

Discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys during a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.