The term domestic violence can encompass a wide-variety of crimes surrounding the abuse or assault of an intimate partner or family member. This includes emotional, physical, verbal, sexual and economic abuse. Some states, however, have broadened the definition of domestic violence to include acts of threatening to stalk or stalking as punishable by law. Wisconsin residents should be aware of the new changes to the domestic violence laws to ensure they are not found guilty of criminal behavior.

New domestic violence policies in Wisconsin allow a defendant’s past file of misconduct to be used by prosecution as evidence in court. Any injunctions, restraining orders, stalking convictions or convictions of harassment or domestic abuse from the past ten years can be used against the defendant.

This is a cause of concern for some as law enforcement officers are now required to report every domestic violence call to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. This call to the Justice Department is mandated by law, regardless if an arrest has taken place. Under the new bill, victims of domestic violence should also be informed of their rights by law officials and then directed to people or organizations that may be able to help them. With all of this information on file, some are wondering whether a person may be incriminated for a past domestic violence call in which they were never convicted of a crime.

Although there are two sides to every story, people in Wisconsin who are accused of an act of domestic violence will have that information recorded in their file. An established criminal law attorney may be able to provide vital legal counsel to people who find themselves in this situation.

Source: Pioneer Press, “Wisconsin enacts 3 laws to protect victims of domestic violence,” Dinesh Ramde, Apr. 16, 2014.

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