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Pick the right lawyer or you may have a long time to think about your mistake.

Sex Crime Defense Lawyers in Eau Claire

Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude among many in sex crime cases is "guilty until proven innocent." It is important to have an attorney who is skilled at handling serious sex offense allegations with both zeal and discretion. Because of the stigma attached to sexual offenses, many unstable or unscrupulous people will falsely accuse a family member, neighbor, teacher or someone else they don't like of committing a sex crime. Sometimes, prosecutors unknowingly rely on false statements and testimony. The results can be devastating, even if the person is found to be innocent.

In addition to prison time, lifetime registration as a sex offender can ruin a person's life. Under Wisconsin law, an individual convicted of most sex crimes is required to register with the local police on their birthday every year for the rest of their life and every time they move to a new city. There are specific discovery requests that need to be made in sex crime cases, both to find out what evidence the state has against you and what evidence tends to favor your side.
Sex Offenses
At our criminal defense law firm, attorney Michael Cohen will defend your rights vigorously to make sure the prosecution doesn't take liberties with evidence, testimony or witnesses. They will challenge evidence and witness statements. They'll find alibis, work records, phone records and other evidence that can help prove your innocence.

Sex crimes defense lawyers Michael Cohen has obtained dismissals and not-guilty verdicts in dozens of felony cases. They aggressively defend clients in:
  • Sexual Assault Against Adults
  • Sexual Assault Against Children
  • Child Pornography
  • Internet Sexual Crimes
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Pandering
  • Prostitution
  • Enticement of a Minor
If you are charged with a sex offense and convicted, you face long-term repercussions under Wisconsin law. From the start, you need an experienced defense attorney who knows how sex offense cases are prosecuted and how they are viewed by judges and juries.

Increased Penalties for Sex Crimes

The legislature has increased the maximum penalties for certain sex crimes. Wisconsin Statute § 939.616 details the mandatory minimum sentence for certain child sex offenses.
  • A person convicted of any of the following will be sentenced to life imprisonment and must serve at least 25 years in prison before the court can determine an extended supervision eligibility date:
    • First Degree Sexual Assault causing great bodily harm to a person who has not attained the age of 13 years.
    •  Repeated Sexual Assault of the Same Child if at least three of the violations were of First Degree Sexual Assault causing great bodily harm to a victim who has not attained the age of 13 years to serve at least 25 years in prison before the court can determine an extended supervision eligibility date.
  • A person convicted of any of the following must be sentenced to a bifurcated sentence of at least 25 years initial confinement:
    • First Degree Sexual Assault of a person who has not attained the age of 12 years.
    • First Degree Sexual Assault of a person who has not attained the age of 16 years by use or threat of force or violence.
    • Repeated Sexual Assault of the Same Child where at least three of the violations were violations of First Degree Sexual assault causing great bodily harm to a person who has not attained the age of 13 years, First Degree Sexual Assault of a person who has not attained the age of 12 years or First Degree Sexual Assault of a child who has not attained the age of 16 years by use or threat of force or violence.
  • A person convicted any of the following must be sentenced to a bifurcated sentence of at least 5 years initial confinement.
    • First Degree Sexual Assault of a person who has not attained the age of 16 by use or threat of force or violence.
    • Repeated Sexual Assault of the Same Child where at least three of the violations were violations of First Degree Sexual assault causing great bodily harm to a person who has not attained the age of 13 years, First Degree Sexual Assault of a person who has not attained the age of 12 years, First Degree Sexual Assault of a child who has not attained the age of 16 years by use or threat of force or violence or First Degree Sexual Assault of a person who has not attained the age of 16 by use or threat of force or violence.
  • A person convicted of a violation of Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime must be sentenced to a bifurcated sentence of at least 5 years initial confinement.
  • A person convicted of Sexually Exploiting a Child must be sentenced to a bifurcated sentence of at least 5 years initial confinement. However, if the court finds that the best interests of the community will be served and the public will not be harmed and if the court places its reasons on the record, the court may impose a sentence that is less than the mandatory 5 years initial confinement or place the person on probation if the convicted person is no more than 48 months older than the child who is the victim of the violation.
  • A person convicted of a violation of Possession of Child Pornography must be sentenced to a bifurcated sentence of at least 3 years initial confinement. However, if the court finds that the best interests of the community will be served and the public will not be harmed and if the court places its reasons on the record, the court may impose a sentence that is less than the mandatory 3 years initial confinement or place the person on probation if the convicted person is no more than 48 months older than the child who engaged in the sexually explicit conduct.
  • If a person has one or more prior convictions for a serious sex crime (a violation of First Degree Sexual Assault causing pregnancy or great bodily harm or First Degree Sexual Assault by use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon) and subsequently commits a serious sex crime, the term of confinement in prison portion of a bifurcated sentenced may not be less than 3 years and 6 months initial confinement, but otherwise the penalties for the crime apply. The Statute specifically states that the Court may not place the person on probation.
  • If a person has one or more prior convictions for a violation of First Degree Sexual Assault causing pregnancy or great bodily harm, or for a comparable crime under federal law or the law of any state and subsequently is convicted of a violation of First Degree Sexual Assault causing pregnancy or great bodily harm, the maximum term of imprisonment for the violation is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or extended supervision.
  • If a person is convicted and sentenced of a serious child sex offense (A violation of Sexual Assault of a Child, Engaging in Repeated Acts of Sexual Assault of the Same Child, Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Trafficking of a Child, Causing a Child to View or Listen to Sexual Activity, Incest With a Child, Child Enticement, Soliciting a Child for Prostitution, Sexual Assault of a Child Placed in Substitute Care, Sexual Assault of a Child by a School Staff Person or a Person who Works or Volunteers With Children, Abduction of another’s child, or, if the victim was a minor and the convicted person was not the victim's parent, a violation of Kidnapping) and the person has been convicted of a serious child sex offense on at least one occasion at any time preceding the date of violation of the serious child sex offense for which the person is presently being sentenced, the term of imprisonment is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or extended supervision.

Here are links that explain the various elements considered in sexual assault charges:

Chapter 940 Wisconsin Sex Offense Statutes
Chapter 948 Crimes Against Children

The following link has information by topic on Wisconsin sex offender laws, as well as helpful links for counseling and support in the event that your family is affected:

Wisconsin State Law Library – Sex Offense Statutes by Topic and Helpful Links

If convicted, you may have to register with the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry. Here is a link to the website:

Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry

Probation for a sex offense includes following strict sex offender rules such as not using a computer, not staying overnight away from home, and not dating without the approval of your probation agent. For more details you can consult the following:

Wisconsin DOC Standard Sex Offender Rules

Internet Crimes

Internet crime is a growing concern in law enforcement, especially as it pertains to online communications involving potentially underage victims and the exchange of pornographic images over the Internet. What may seem like harmless chatting to you can be interpreted as the intent to commit a chargeable offense.
Many people are unaware that everything you say and do on a computer can be viewed by law enforcement. If you are engaging in sexually explicit conversations with a stranger on the Internet, there is a good chance that person is wearing a uniform. Even if you don't "do" anything, you can be charged.
Information on a computer is not erased by deleting: it can be retrieved by specialists in law enforcement. It is NEVER a good idea to send or receive explicit pictures of yourself or any other individual via the Internet. Do not discuss criminal activity either.