Certain things can make facing criminal charges an even more dire situation than usual here in Wisconsin. One is if one is accused of having had a dangerous weapon with them at the time of the alleged crime.
Why is this the case? It is because Wisconsin law allows for the maximum sentence for a crime to be increased when the perpetrator possessed, threatened to use or used a dangerous weapon during the commission of the crime.
The amount of this maximum sentence increase depends on the class of the underlying offense. The increase is up to six additional months for misdemeanor offenses. For felony offenses, the increase is up to three to five additional years, depending on the regular sentencing range of the offense.
As a note, this maximum sentence increase does not apply to offenses in which dangerous weapon possession/use/threat-of-use is among the offense's essential elements.
So, facing dangerous weapon allegations in relation to criminal charges can up the already high level of potential consequences a defendant has in front of them.
As this underscores, in criminal cases, evidence regarding whether or not the suspect met the various elements of the alleged offense is not the only evidence that can have a big impact. So too can evidence indicating whether any sentence-raising circumstances, such as dangerous weapon possession/use/threat-of-use, were present in relation to the alleged offense. When it comes to any type of evidence in a criminal case, careful review/analysis of the evidence and the circumstances under which it was obtained can be essential.