In Wisconsin, felonies are divided into nine different classes, from Class A, the most serious, to class I.
Here, we'll focus on Class F felonies in Wisconsin. Specifically, we'll explain what a Class F felony is, common examples of Class F felony charges in Wisconsin, the possible penalties for Class F felonies in Wisconsin, and possible defenses for those charges.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a Class F felony, your first step should be contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Click or tap below to request your free 15-minute consultation with Attorney Patrick Stangl.
Felony vs Misdemeanor Offenses
At first, all criminal offenses fall into one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors.
According to Wisconsin law, a felony is a crime that could result in a jail term of one year or longer. Felonies are assigned sentences within the Wisconsin State Prison System rather than 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.
What is a Class F Felony in Wisconsin?
Class F Felony Fines
According to Wis. Stat. § 939.50, a Class F is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000
Class F Felony Penalties
Class F felonies are also punishable by up to 12 1/2 years in prison, or both a fine and imprisonment. A Class F felony in Wisconsin brings a slightly longer maximum prison sentence than a Class G felony.
Just like all felonies, a Class F felony cannot be expunged from your record and may cause you to lose your right to vote, own firearms, cross national borders, or more. This is why it's so critical to enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense.
Common Class F Felonies in Wisconsin
OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm
Wisconsin law defines "great bodily harm" as injury that "creates a substantial risk of death, or causes serious permanent disfigurement, or causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury."
It's important to note that this definition is imprecise. Words like “serious” and “prolonged” do not have objective meanings in law. This means they can be the subject of opinion and argument. In simpler terms, what seems like an “injury” to one jury may be declared “great bodily harm” by another.
This is one of the most serious types of drunk driving charges. Again, a conviction can land you in prison for 12 and a half years with an additional $25,000 fine.
Defenses for OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm in Wisconsin
When it comes to OWI Causing Injury and OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm, a tiny difference in the jury's understanding of the facts of your case––or the law––can mean the difference between relatively small and life-changing consequences.
For this reason, it's absolutely critical to have an attorney who can understand each detail of the facts, anticipate how the prosecution will act and craft a defense strategy accordingly.
First-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety
According to Section 941.30(1) of the Wisconsin Statues, first-degree Recklessly Endangering Safety occurs when an individual “recklessly endangers another’s safety under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life.”
In general, prosecutors have to prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, that the defendant endangered the safety of another human being. Second, that the defendant endangered the safety of another through criminally reckless conduct. And third, that the circumstances of the defendant’s conduct showed utter disregard for human life.
Defenses for First-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety in Wisconsin
In many cases, the task of the defense is clearly demonstrating the key difference between first and second degree reckless endangerment: an "utter disregard for human life." An experienced criminal defense attorney can fully understand and articulate the details of the facts to ensure the best defense can be put forward.
Class F Felony Drug Charges in Wisconsin
The severity of drug offenses in Wisconsin depend on a number of things, including what the substance was, the amount, the person's prior history with drug charges, and whether there is an intent to sell and/or distribute drugs by dealing or trafficking.
In Wisconsin, the following drug charges may constitute a Class F felony:
- Possession of 3 grams or less of Amphetamines or Flunitrazepam with intent to sell
- Possession of 1 to 5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell
- Possession of 2.5 to 10 kg. of marijuana with intent to sell
Defenses for Drug Crimes in Wisconsin
Potential defenses for drug crimes often include challenging the procedures implemented when the arrest was made or the handling of evidence. At Stangl Law, we may look into whether there truly was probable cause to conduct a search of your person or vehicle. Having knowledge of the substances in your possession and their legality can also play a role in your defense.
Other common Class F felonies include:
- Discharging a firearm (on a highway or in a parking lot towards people or buildings)
- Modifying a gun to operate automatically
- Stalking involving a weapon
- Failure to act in a case of the sexual assault of a child
Contact Stangl Law Offices S.C. immediately if you or someone you know has been charged with these, or any other criminal offenses.
Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
Criminal convictions carry serious penalties, some of which you may not expect. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to craft a powerful defense.
Possible consequences of a criminal conviction include:
- Jail or prison time
- Large fines and court fees
- Difficulty finding a job
- 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
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
- The ability of immigrants to remain in the United States
Facing a Class F Felony in Wisconsin: What To Do Next?
If you’re facing reckless driving charges in Wisconsin, it’s important to discuss your case with an experienced Wisconsin Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible.
Free 15 Minute Consultation
If you are charged with any crime that may potentially be considered a Class F felony, having a good defense attorney on your side is invaluable. At Stangl Law Offices, our attorney, 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 15 minute consultation.