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

Updated by Stangl Law on January 18, 2021


wooden gavel lying on rest

What is a Class E Felony in Wisconsin?

Class E felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in state prison, a maximum fine of $50,000, or both (Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)

As with other felonies, a prior record of felonies or misdemeanors can increase your prison sentence.

What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

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 a county jail.

A misdemeanor is any crime not punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin State Prison System.

Read more about misdemeanors in Wisconsin »

After this initial classification, offenses are broken down into a number of separate categories based on the nature of the crime itself.

Wisconsin Felony Classes

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

Class E felonies are moderately severe charges, involving penalties such as prison time and heavy fines.

Read More: Wisconsin Felony Classes: A Quick Guide

Examples of Class E Felonies Stangl Law Can Defend in Court

  • Hit and Run Involving Great Bodily Harm
  • Possession of Body Armor After Being Convicted of a Violent Crime
  • Aggravated Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm Intentionally
  • Possession of Schedule I or II Narcotics, 3-10 Grams of Amphetamines, or Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) with the Intent to Sell
  • Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Sell (5-15 grams)
  • Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Sell (10 kg. or more)

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

What Are the Consequences of a Criminal Conviction?

Criminal convictions carry serious penalties, some of which you may not expect. Possible consequences of a criminal conviction include:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Large fines and court fees
  • Difficulty finding a job
  • Probation
  • A permanent criminal record
  • Ineligibility for student financial aid
  • Suspended driver's license
  • Loss or denial of professional licenses
  • Inability to rent or buy a house


What Are the Consequences of a Felony Conviction?

A major difference between felonies and misdemeanors is the forfeiture of civil liberties.

Possible consequences of a felony conviction include loss of:

  • The right to possess a gun
  • The ability to hunt with a gun
  • The right to vote
  • The ability to hold office
  • The ability to serve on a jury


Defenses for a Class E 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 other 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 E felony or any other type of offense.

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

If you or a loved one has been charged with any crime that may potentially be considered a Class E 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.

Matthew’s Dilemma

Matthew was arrested after he had an accident where he crashed into a decorative retaining wall in front of a closed business. He was initially arrested and cited for felony reckless endangerment as well as operating a vehicle while intoxicated. It was alleged that he "huffed" an inhalant and blacked out while driving. He immediately hired Attorney Stangl prior to being formally charged and the criminal charges were not pursued. He was then charged with an OWI 1st under the theory that he was under the influence of an inhalant. The matter was aggressively defended and many motions challenging the case were filed including a motion to suppress statements made by Matthew which were very damaging to his case. Ultimately, prior to trial, due to concerns with proving its case a resolution was reached and the City amended the OWI to a reckless driving and inattentive driving with the payment of two forfeitures-fines.|

State of Wisconsin v. R.T.

The client was charged with an OWI 5th offense, a felony, with a high alcohol concentration. He had a number of prior convictions from Minnesota, where he did not have a lawyer. If convicted he would likely have received a prison sentence.

As a result of a very thorough factual and legal investigation, Attorney Stangl was able to establish that in four of the prior convictions his client was not properly advised of his right to appointed counsel and how an attorney may have been able to assist him in those cases, thus establishing that the prior convictions violated his client's constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment. The State conceded that four of the prior criminal OWI convictions could not be counted against Attorney Stangl's client and the case was amended from a criminal conviction OWI 5th offense to an OWI 1st offense, a non-criminal ordinance violation, thus saving his client from a lengthy jail or prison sentence and another OWI conviction.

Free 10-minute Consultation

If you are charged with any crime that may potentially be considered a Class D felony, having a good defense attorney can make all the difference. At Stangl Law Offices, our attorney, Patrick J. Stangl, works with you to build a strong defense that protects your rights and advocates for the most lenient outcome possible.

No matter what your situation, being accused of a crime is unsettling. Contact us for a free 10-minute consultation.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Criminal Defense



Am I Being Investigated for a White Collar Crime?
When to Consider Filing an Appeal in Wisconsin


Get a Free Consultation