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Attorney Chris Van Wagner, a former Chicago Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer, represented people charged with murder, but not one of his clients ever saw death row. Wisconsin does NOT have the death penalty. See Death Penalty

Penalties in Wisconsin include jail time, fines, imprisonment and other orders of the court including forfeiture of property.

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Wisconsin Penalties - Fines, Jail Time, Imprisonment

Penalties provided by Wisconsin law include forfeitures (fines), jail time (usually, in a local county jail), and imprisonment (state or Federal prison sentences).


Forfeiture refer to property - usually money in the form of fines - which must be surrendered to the court (the property is actually surrendered to the clerk of the court or as provided in the court order).


Misdemeanors include fines or jail time, or both. A misdemeanor charge is a lesser charge than a felony, but it is still a crime the conviction of which will result in a criminal record. For more information about Wisconsin misdemeanor charges, please refer to misdemeanor schedule.


A felony charge includes fines or prison time, or both. A felony charge is the most severe type of criminal charge under any state or federal law because it has the most severe penalties. In the United States, freedom is the most protected right; we have freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from restrictions on our liberties, and freedom to choose where we work or live, but no person's right to freedom exists at the exclusion of another person's rights. To win an acquittal on a felony charge is to be found not guilty of that felony - that is quite a victory for both the criminal defense attorney and the client.

The first most-desirable outcome of felony charges is for all charges to be dismissed; that happens, rarely, but it happens. For example, Attorney Christopher T. Van Wagner effected the dismissal of all 9 felony counts of Sexual Assault of a Minor against his client.

If a dismissal is impossible, it is often desirable to seek a settlement (plea bargain). Because of the tremendous trial record of the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood, they are often able to achieve very favorable settlements (plea bargains) for their clients. Those plea bargains sometimes result in a felony charge being dropped to a misdemeanor.

Often times thought to be the first course of action, a trial is often the last course of action. Whenever a case goes to trial, the odds of winning an acquittal our far out-weighed by the probability of losing. The American justice system is intended to uncover, hunt down and prosecute criminals, and despite the fact that justice should be blind and all persons should be held innocent unless proven guilty, the reality is quite different.

If a felony case is lost at trial, the outcome is severe. Sentences for felony convictions include, but are not limited to: incarceration in a state correctional institution (a state prison), a mental facility, a detention facility or a jail; fines; sexual offender registration for sex crimes; probation; permanent revocation of the right to bear arms, carry a firearm, hunt with a rifle, or own or possess a weapon; revocation of the right to vote for the duration of the sentence (including all probation time); revocation of the privilege to drive, all driver's licenses including commercial driver's license; revocation of state-issued licenses; ongoing, and even permanent, monitoring.

Correctional Institution - Prison, Detention, Jail

A correctional institution can be a jail or a correctional facility (961.01(12m)), a secured correctional facility (938.02(15m)), or a secure detention facility (938.02(16)).

Jail or Correctional Facility

A jail or correctional facility can refer to a Type 1 prison, a jail, a house of correction, a Huber facility, a lockup facility, a work camp.

Type 1 Prison - Wisconsin State Prison

A "Type 1 prison" is a state prison. The medium security correctional institutions at Redgranite and New Lisbond, the correctional institution at Prairie du Chien, Stanley, Waupun Correctional Institution, Dodge Correctional Institution, Green Bay correctional Institution, Columbia Correctional Institution, Oshkosh Correctional Institution, Fox Lake Correctional Institution, Taycheedah Correctional Institution, Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution, Racine Correction Institution (the penitentiary at the village of Sturtevant in Racine County), Jackson Correctional Institution (medium security correctional institution near Black River Falls), Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Facility, and the Wisconsin Resource Center (Oshkosh, WI) are type 1 prisons. As well, the probation and parole holding facilities and state local shared correctional facilities are also type 1 prisons.

State Correctional Institution

A state correctional institution means a state prison or a juvenile correction facility operated by the department of corrections.

Inpatient Facility

An inpatient facility means a public or private hospital or a unit in a hospital is primarily intended for the purpose of diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating mental illness, developmental disability, alcoholism, or drug abuse and which provides 24-hour care (Wisconsin Statute 51.01(10)).

Juvenile Correctional Facility

A juvenile correctional facility is a correctional institution operated (or contracted) for by the department of corrections or operated by the department of health and family services for the purpose of holding juveniles in custody. "Juvenile correctional facility" can also refer to the Mendota juvenile treatment center.

Voting Rights

A person convicted of a felony offense (a convicted felon) may not vote in any election until all sentence requirements are completed. Sentencing requirements include probation, mandatory reporting and parole.

Right to bear arms

A convicted felon is forever prohibited from possessing any firearm. Plea bargaining to a felony offense that results in a guilty pleading to a felony is a conviction. A felon need not have been convicted in Wisconsin; a conviction in any state results in the same outcome: a felon is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Criminal Defense Lawyers That Will Represent You Well

Regardless of the charges against you, the criminal defense lawyers at Van Wagner & Wood will defend you. Those attorneys will give you a free initial consultation and a brief professional "first impression" analysis of your situation so that you can make the very important decisions regarding the case against you. Call ( in Madison Wisconsin or toll free) or e-mail ( ).