Guide For Victims in Barron County

As the victim of a crime, your help is very important to the criminal justice system.  When victims and witnesses report crime and testify, they make our community a safer place to live.  The following information will help explain what may happen in your case.

  • When you report a crime to the police, an investigation begins.
  • After an offender is identified and the police have completed their investigation, the case may be referred to the District Attorney's Office.  (When the offender is under age 17, the police report is sent to the Department of Social Services)  Keep in mind that not all offenders are caught, and not all reports go the the D.A.'s Office.
  • The District Attorney then review the case and decides whether or not to issue a formal complaint or delinquency petition.  Keep in mind that cases can be settled at any time.

Helpful Definitions:

  • Misdemeanor:  A crime, which may be punishable by confinement to a county jail for one year or less.
  • Felony:  A crime, which may be punishable by confinement for one year or more in a state prison.
  • Delinquent act:  An offense committed by a juvenile, which would be a crime if committed by an adult.
  • Ordinance violation:  An offense for which the only penalty is payment of money (forfeiture).
  • Initial appearance (plea hearing for juveniles):  The defendant's first appearance before a judge or court commissioner. The court will set bail, inform the defendant of his/her right to an attorney and set the next court date.  In misdemeanor cases this may be combined with the arraignment.
  • Bail:  A court order, which allows release from custody of a person charged with a crime.  The defendant is entitled to reasonable bail under the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions.  This order may require the promise of cash or property or the defendant may be required to post the cash or property before release.  The order usually includes other conditions, such as no contact with the victim or witness.  The purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant's appearance in court, as well as compliance with bond conditions.  Even if the defendant posts bail to a law enforcement agency, the first appearance in court will involve a bail hearing.
  • Arraignment:  The defendant is formally charged and will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  • Preliminary hearing:  This is to determine if there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime.  This hearing is held only for felony crimes.
  • Bound over:  If the judge finds probable cause to believe that the defendant did commit a felony, the defendant is ordered to stand trial.
  • Resolution conference:  A meeting between the attorneys and defendant to try to resolve the case without going to trial.
  • Subpoena:  An order which requires a person to appear in court and testify.
  • Sentencing (disposition for juveniles): Occurs after a guilty plea or when the defendant is found guilty at trial.  (If, during the court process, the defendant changes a not guilty plea to guilty, sentencing may be immediate or at a future date.)
  • Restitution:  An amount of money set by the court to reimburse the victim of a crime for losses or injuries caused by the crime. This is collected by the District Attorney before conviction, whenever possible.
  • Trial (fact finding for juveniles):  A court hearing, sometimes with a jury, held to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant. In juvenile cases, this hearing will determine if the juvenile committed a delinquent act.
  • Juvenile court:  Similar to adult court.  Hearings are closed to the public, however victims may attend.

If you have been threatened or harassed by the offender or other, please contact the police or the D.A.'s Office.  In emergencies, call 911.

Rights of Victims

  • Timely disposition of the case
  • The opportunity to attend court proceedings, and be accompanied by a service provider, unless the trial court finds sequestration is necessary to a fair trial for the defendant
  • Reasonable protection from the accused throughout the criminal justice process
  • Notification of court proceedings
  • Have the opportunity to speak with the D.A./Intake worker about the case
  • The opportunity to make a statement to the court at sentencing/disposition
  • Restitution when possible
  • Compensation from the state for certain crimes
  • Information about the outcome of the case and the release of the accused
  • The opportunity to complain if you believe your rights have been violated.

If you have any questions regarding victim rights or victim/witness services, please contact the District Attorney's Victim/Witness Coordinator, Christina Smith, at (715) 537-6220.  You may also call the Victim Resource Center at (800) 446-6564

Please remember to notify police/D.A.'s Office of any change in address or phone number.

If you are the victim of a crime or a delinquent act and you need information about the case or any custody/detention issues, please contact one of the following agencies:

Barron County District Attorney
Victim/Witness Coordinator
(715) 537-6220
1420 Highway 25 North
Barron, WI  54812

Barron County Sheriff's Dept.
(715) 537-5814
1420 Highway 25 North
Barron, WI  54812
Or contact your local police

Barron County Department of Human Services
(For offenders under age 17)
(715) 537-5691
335 East Monroe Avenue
Barron, WI  54812

Office of Crime Victim Compensation
(800) 446-6564
P.O. Box #7951
Madison, WI  53707-7951

Brian Wright
Barron County District Attorney