Class A Felony in Wisconsin: Penalties, Defenses & Next Steps

Updated by Stangl Law on February 19, 2020



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According to Wisconsin law, a felony is a crime whose punishment could potentially result in a jail term of one year or longer. Crimes that fall within this category are assigned sentences within the Wisconsin State Prison System rather than in county jail.

Within the broad category of felonies, crimes are further divided into a series of nine classes delineated by alphabetical titles, A through I.

Class A felonies represent the most severe punishments given in Wisconsin. Penalties include a lifetime sentence with further stipulations for repeat offenders and those with specific criminal records.

Read More: Wisconsin Felony Classes: A Quick Guide

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What is a Class A Felony in Wisconsin?

Class A felonies carry the most severe punishments in Wisconsin, punishable by life imprisonment. (Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)

The prison term may increase if the defendant has a record of misdemeanors and/or a previous felony.

Being convicted of a felony in Wisconsin can result in the loss of civil liberties such as:

  • The Right to Vote
  • The Right to Own or Carry a Gun
  • The Right to Serve a State Office

It can also make it harder for you to find a place to live after you serve your time in prison.

Examples of Class A Felonies Stangl Law Can Defend in Court

  • 1st Degree Intentional Homicide
  • 1st Degree Sexual Assault involving a person under 13

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the specific charges you face.

Defenses for a Class A Felony in Wisconsin

While every case is unique and should be handled as such, it's important to understand that an experienced criminal defense attorney should first and foremost help you fully and clearly understand the charges in front of you and assure you that anything offered by the prosecution is not your only option.

Skilled criminal defense attorneys will often begin by thoroughly investigating the underlying details of the case itself and whether or not prosecutors have probable cause to accuse you of a felony during a preliminary hearing. This involves analyzing police and court records to determine if your rights were violated at any point in the process.

If a procedural violation or another type of mistake was made before trial, a motion hearing can be called to dismiss the charges against you.

A skilled attorney will take the time to review all the details of your arrest, searches made by law enforcement, and statements made. If at any point, your rights were violated, it may render the prosecution's evidence inadmissible in court. Other possible angles of attack include examining for evidence of entrapment (which can prevent many drug-related charges from moving forward in court), or in situations where certain behaviors can also be charged as a misdemeanor, attempting to reduce the charges to a lesser charge, thereby protecting your civil rights from restriction and avoiding prison time.

Again, these are just some of the many possible options an experienced criminal defense attorney will consider within the context of your case, whether it's a Class A felony or any other type of offense.

What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with a Class A Felony in Wisconsin

If you or a loved one has been charged with any crime that may potentially be considered a Class A felony, do not wait to seek legal advice. Contact us and schedule a consultation right now.


At Stangl Law Offices, Patrick J. Stangl listens carefully to your side of the incident and works with you to build a defense that could potentially result in either an acquittal, a reduction to a lesser charge, or in some cases the dropping of charges. No matter what your situation, being accused of a crime is unsettling, contact us for a free 10-minute consultation.


Two Felony Success Stories from Stangl Law, S.C.

State of Wisconsin v. N.M.

Attorney Stangl recently represented a client who was involved in a head-on collision where both drivers received serious injuries. Some of the other driver’s injuries are unfortunately permanent. The client was charged with causing great bodily harm by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and causing great bodily harm by the use of a motor vehicle while operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration, serious felony charges. Luckily, neither of the drivers was killed. Attorney Stangl’s client registered an alcohol concentration of .15 and faced the likelihood of being sent to prison. Attorney Stangl put together an excellent defense that included a well-regarded accident reconstructionist and the case was successfully settled shortly before jury trial. Remarkably, the most serious felony charges which each carried penalties of 12 years in prison and a twenty-five thousand and 00/100 dollars ($25,000.00) fine were dismissed. His client was convicted of only misdemeanor offenses.

Caleb's Conspiracy Victory

The client was charged with multiple felonies and drug charges including conspiring to manufacture/deliver methamphetamines, §961.41, §939.31, and §939.50 (3) (f) Wis. Stats. The client was initially charged with seven (7) felonies. Believing that the client was overcharged and the criminal complaint was insufficient to confer probable cause as to each element of all the charges listed, Attorney Stangl filed a lengthy Motion to Dismiss prior to the preliminary hearing. Before the hearing, the State agreed to dismiss eight (8) charges including five (5) felonies. The defendant was bound over for trial on two (2) felonies. During the course of his investigation of the case, Attorney Stangl was able to demonstrate to the prosecutor that the defendant was on the periphery of the conspiracy and was not a co-conspirator in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Ultimately this very challenging case was resolved without any felony or misdemeanor drug convictions. As long as the client successfully completes his probation he will only end up with a misdemeanor on his record after being charged with seven (7) felonies and multiple misdemeanors.

Free 10 Minute Consultation

If you are charged with any crime that may potentially be considered a Class A felony, having a good defense attorney on your side is invaluable. At Stangl Law Offices, our attorney, Patrick J. Stangl, works with you to build a defense that could potentially result in either an acquittal, a reduction to a lesser charge, or in some cases the dropping of charges. No matter what your situation, being accused of a crime is unsettling, contact us for a free 10 minute consultation.

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Topics: Criminal Defense



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