17 and an adult????

If you are 17 years of age in Wisconsin you are an adult for criminal prosecution purposes.

In Wisconsin, a juvenile is an adult if they commit an alleged crime after the age of 17 years. In many instances they can be waived to adult count at a much younger age. However, for any crime, turning age 17 makes your teen an adult under Wisconsin criminal laws. However, under those same Wisconsin laws, a teen victim is considered a “child” if they are under the age of 18 years. Given that incongruity, the following strange scenario can occur.

How to be guilty of battery to a child when the “victim” is older than you are.

If your child, on his 17th birthday, gets in a fight with a friend at his birthday party you would probably break up the fight, make them shake hands, and proceed to cutting the birthday cake. However, your son may now be a potential felon. If the “victim” is one day shy of age 18, and your son is now 17, your son can be charged with a felony. Pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 948.03(2)(b) your son would face up to 6 years of prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The times have certainly changed. My advice to you is simple. Warn your children about horseplay and the possible consequences. Monitor your children’s behaviors. However, if things go wrong get a good attorney–fast. Be informed and be careful. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that logic will prevail and it’ll all go away.


I won’t even tell you what can happen if your son has a girlfriend and they engage in consensual sex. I can tell you that your son could be facing 40 years in prison if she’s not age 16.