When a person hears the word "felony," many different ideas come to mind, and often the assumption is that they have committed, or have been accused of, a very severe crime.

But in Wisconsin, the state legislature has classified nine different classes of felonies, from Class A, the most serious to class I. Depending on what a defendant is convicted of, sentencing for these crimes can be as severe as life imprisonment for a Class A felony to a fine of up to $10,000 for a class I felony and/or up to 3 1/2 years in prison.

If you or someone you know is facing a Class I felony charge in Wisconsin, contact Stangl Law to request a free consultation immediately.

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What is a Class I Felony in Wisconsin?

A Class I felony is the least severe classification of a felony offense in Wisconsin, however, all felonies are extremely serious matters that require assistance from an experienced criminal attorney.

According to Wis. Stat. § 939.50, a Class I felony is punishable by up to 3 ½ years in state prison, fines up to $10,000, or both imprisonment and a fine.

A felony conviction is a very serious matter and can affect your rights going forward, including:

  • Voting rights
  • The right to travel out of the country
  • The right to own guns
  • Holding some types of employment
  • Obtaining housing and social benefits
  • Parenting rights

Common Types of Class I Felonies in Wisconsin

Defenses for a Class I 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 the path forward.

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.

Next Steps

If you or a loved one has been charged with any crime that may potentially be considered a Class I felony, having a good defense attorney on your side is invaluable. 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 Defense Success Stories

Victory - State of Wisconsin v. J.H.

The client had a search warrant executed on her house where several marijuana plants were discovered as a result of the search. She was charged with a drug felony and her husband was charged with manufacturing THC. In defending her case Attorney Stangl believed that there were false statements made in the affidavit portion of the complaint for search warrant and further contended that the warrant itself lacked probable cause to be issued in the first place due to misstatements made in the affidavit and that the informant who provided the information was not reliable. Indeed, the information was based on allegations from an individual who had approximately ten prior criminal convictions, was a known drug user, and had existing charges for obstructing justice. Moreover, some of the information provided by this individual was not confirmed. Attorney Stangl brought a number of motions to have the search warrant and all of the evidence tossed out. The motions were set for a hearing and late in the morning prior to the afternoon hearing he received a call from the District Attorney to discuss his pending motions. The State believed there was more than a reasonable chance that the motions to suppress would be granted. The case was successfully resolved and his client was not convicted of any drug felony.

Victory - 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.

Read more Success Stories →

FREE 10-Minute Consultation

If you need help fighting felony charges in Madison or elsewhere in the state, Attorney Pat Stangl is happy to offer you a FREE 10-minute consultation to discuss your case and explore options for your defense. Click or tap the link below to get started.

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