Felonies in Wisconsin are crimes punishable by incarceration in state prison. Wisconsin’s lawmakers classify felonies as Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, or I. Misdemeanors (less serious crimes) are punishable by county or local jail terms of less than one year.
For more information on misdemeanors in Wisconsin, see Wisconsin Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Class A Felony
Class A felonies are the most serious types of crimes in Wisconsin, punishable by life imprisonment. Murder is an example of a class A felony. (Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)
Class B Felony
A Class B felony is punishable by up to 60 years’ imprisonment. (Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)
For example, first degree sexual assault is a Class B felony. For more information on sexual assault, see Wisconsin Sexual Battery Laws.
Class C and D Felonies
A conviction for a Class C or D felony can result in:
- a prison term of up to 40 years (for Class C) or 25 years (for Class D)
- a fine of up to $100,000, or
- both imprisonment and a fine.
(Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)
Child enticement (luring a child with the intent to engage in sexual activities) is an example of a Class D felony under Wisconsin’s laws. For more information on this crime, see Child Enticement Laws in Wisconsin.
Class E Felony
In Wisconsin, Class E felonies are crimes punishable by a fine of up to $50,000, up to 15 years’ imprisonment, or both. (Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)
For example, aggravated battery (causing great bodily harm to another) is a Class E crime. For more information on assault and battery penalties, see Wisconsin Battery Laws and Felony Battery Laws in Wisconsin.
Class F and G Felonies
Class F and G felonies are punishable by:
- up to 12 years six months (for Class F) or 10 years (for Class G) in prison
- a fine of up to $25,000, or
- both a fine and imprisonment.
(Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)
Pimping is an example of a Class F felony. For more information, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Wisconsin.
Class H and I Felonies
Class H and I felonies are punishable by fines of up to $10,000, prison terms of up to six years (for class H) or three years and six months (for Class I); or both imprisonment and a fine. These are the least serious felony crimes in Wisconsin. (Wis. Stat. § 939.50.)
Theft of property worth $5,000 to $10,000 is a Class H felony. For more information on theft penalties, see Wisconsin Petty Theft & Other Theft Laws.
Statute of Limitations
Generally, most crimes have a time limit (called the statute of limitations) before which the state must begin criminal prosecution. The statute of limitation is longer for more serious crimes. In Wisconsin, the most serious crimes, such as homicides and sexual abuse of a child, have no statute of limitations.
For more information, see Wisconsin Criminal Statute of Limitations.
The Value of Legal Assistance
Felony convictions have serious and lasting consequences, including prison, fines, and a serious criminal record. A felony criminal record can make if difficult (and sometimes impossible) to obtain a job, qualify for a professional license, or earn a graduate degree. If you are charged with a crime, the best way to avoid a conviction is to work with a good criminal defense attorney. An attorney can tell you how what to expect in court and how to best protect your rights.