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Domestic Abuse In Wisconsin | Defining Domestic Abuse

The Relationship Is Key To Defining Domestic Abuse in Wisconsin

We may all think we know what domestic abuse is, but our perceptions and understanding may not match up to state law. Each state carries its own definition of abuse crimes. Generally, however, acts of assault and/or battery that are perpetrated against family or household members constitute domestic abuse in Wisconsin.

Domestic Relationships Define The Abuse Charge

It is that relationship between the two parties that separate domestic violence from other forms of assault and battery. What is important to understand is that domestic abuse is not limited to spouses. Under Wisconsin State Statute 968.075 the crime applies to acts committed by “an adult person against his or her spouse or former spouse, against an adult with whom the person resides or formerly resided or against an adult with whom the person has a child in common”.

Other than the relationship factor, domestic assaults and batteries look very similar to non-domestic assaults and batteries, which include:

  • intentional actions that cause physical pain, illness, or injury,
  • intentionally harming or impairing the person’s physical condition,
  • sexual assault, and
  • any physical actions that cause the other person to fear that any of the above actions may occur.

Domestic Violence Calls Can Lead To An Arrest…Or Not

Domestic violence interventions that involve the police go far beyond just breaking up a fight. If the police are called to a domestic altercation, the alleged abuser may be arrested if responding officers determine that there is reasonable evidence of abuse. Arrests can also be made if police:

  • believe the abuse is likely to continue,
  • the victim is injured, or
  • determine that the defendant is the predominant abuser/aggressor.

If arrested, the defendant may face additional charges, especially if drugs or alcohol were a factor, if a gun or other weapon is present, if he or she has past convictions, or if a restraining order is on file (this results in an automatic arrest). In Wisconsin, anyone arrested on suspicion of domestic violence is held until they see a judge or post bail and is placed under a 72-hour No Contact order with the “victim.”

Sometimes a domestic dispute call does not lead to an arrest, but that does not mean you are in the clear. Police officers still must file a report on the call, and if he or she suspected that domestic abuse was occurring, they will submit that report to the district attorney’s office. The DA will review the report and determine whether or not to charge you.

Protecting Yourself From Domestic Abuse Allegations

A conviction of domestic violence in Wisconsin requires much more than the victim’s allegations. Victims and police must provide proof that the assault and/or battery occurred and that it was inflicted by the defendant. There are many factors that an experienced criminal defense attorney can bring to the court’s attention to support your defense. With strong counsel, it is even possible to defer prosecution until a certain date. During this time of deferral, you will be required to meet certain conditions. If those conditions have been met throughout the time period, it is possible to have all charges dismissed.

Even if the situation seems hopeless, there is hope if you receive the right help. The domestic abuse defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices can provide you with that hope. Contact Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or by email at to arrange a free consultation.

Visit our blog to learn more about domestic abuse in Wisconsin.



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.