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What is the domestic abuse surcharge?

A person accused of a crime can face serious financial consequences if they receive a conviction on their charges. Additionally, there are certain things that can make a criminal conviction cause additional financial losses beyond the usual. One is if the criminal activity was found to have involved domestic abuse. 

This can come about indirectly, through things such as a conviction on a charge related to a domestic violence incident impacting a person's reputation, which could potentially affect their economic opportunities. It can also come about directly through things such as the domestic abuse surcharge. 

Given this, having guidance from a defense attorney experienced in domestic-violence-related criminal cases can be very important when facing allegations of criminal activity involving family violence in Wisconsin.

The domestic abuse surcharge is a special fee here in Wisconsin that is generally to be assessed to adult individuals convicted of, and given a sentence or probation for, certain crimes if it is found that the criminal activity involved an action against any of the following:

  • An adult the convicted lives with.
  • An adult the convicted used to live with.
  • The convicted's spouse.
  • The convicted's former spouse.
  • An adult the convicted had a child with.

How big is this surcharge? It is $100 per offense and can come on top of other fees issued for the crime (though a fine being issued for the crime is not a required condition for the surcharge to be issued). As a note, if a court finds that giving the surcharge in its full amount would impact the convicted's family negatively, it has the discretion to give the convicted a full or partial waiver of the surcharge. 

Source: Wisconsin State Legislature, "Statutes - 973.055 - Domestic abuse surcharges.," Accessed March 30, 2016

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