In the state of Wisconsin, legislators understand that sometimes – in order to protect yourself or others – it’s necessary to commit a crime. For example, it’s very unlikely that the state would convict you of battery for pushing a mugger to the ground when the mugger was beating up an elderly woman. But what is a crime of necessity, and is it a possible defense in your case? This guide explains.
What is a Crime of Necessity in Wisconsin?
The law defines necessity as “Pressure of natural physical forces which causes the actor reasonably to believe that his or her act is the only means of preventing imminent public disaster, or imminent death or great bodily harm to the actor or another and which causes him or her so to act, is a defense to a prosecution for any crime based on that act, except that if the prosecution is for first-degree intentional homicide, the degree of the crime is reduced to 2nd-degree intentional homicide.”
In plain English, that means if you had to do something (and a reasonable person would agree that you did need to act), you can use a necessity defense in court. It’s a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils.
How Can a Necessity Defense Work?
If you and your attorney decide that a necessity defense is the right choice in your case, your lawyer must show the court that:
- You acted in an emergency to prevent something worse from happening
- You had no adequate alternative based on the situation
- You didn’t do more harm than you prevented
- You believed the act was necessary at the time
- A reasonable person would also have believed that the act was necessary at the time
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Crime of Necessity?
If you’ve been accused of a crime but it was something you had to do, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will evaluate your case and let you know whether necessity is a possible defense. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free case review; we’ll answer your questions and give you the guidance you need.