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Punishment for Disorderly Conduct May Include Ban on Gun Ownership

Punishment for Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin can Include a Ban on Owning or Possessing a Gun

In Wisconsin, Disorderly Conduct is a class B misdemeanor which carries with it the potential for a fine of up to $1,000.00, together with a jail sentence not to exceed 90 days. However, there is another lesser known and equally significant punishment that may accompany a conviction for Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin—and that is the potential for a lifelong ban on gun possession and gun ownership.

The defendant in Evans v. DOJ (2014) found this out when, after being convicted of Disorderly Conduct in 2002, he attempted to apply for a conceal and carry permit. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) denied his application, explaining that his conviction for Disorderly Conduct back in 2002 constituted a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under a federal firearms law commonly referred to as the “Lautenberg Amendment,” which bars such persons from possessing or owning firearms altogether.

Evans appealed the DOJ’s refusal to grant him the permit, arguing that Disorderly Conduct could not be considered a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” because the crime of Disorderly Conduct did not necessarily require the guilty party to have used physical force against the victim. But Evans’ arguments were rejected by both the Dane County Circuit Court and the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, with both courts concluding that Evans was indeed precluded from owning or possessing firearms due to his Disorderly Conduct conviction.

The take-away is that Disorderly Conduct charges should never be taken lightly. The punishments upon conviction can have far-reaching implications—especially in a state like Wisconsin where activities like hunting and recreational shooting are incredibly popular among residents. Wisconsinites charged with Disorderly Conduct would be well advised to consult with an attorney as early on in the case as possible, so they can make well informed decisions and avoid being blindsided by unknown consequences.