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A life sentence in Wisconsin indicates that a defendant must serve a definite term of years before they may be eligible for parole. In Wisconsin, the length of a life sentence is determined by the law in effect at the time of the offence.

Sentencing Laws in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, life sentences come with certain stipulations. According to Wisconsin state law, a life sentence must:

    • Be Definite – A life sentence must consist of a definite and specified amount of time.
    • Be With or Without Parole – A judge may choose to impose a life sentence with or without parole eligibility.
    • Take into Consideration Prior Offenses – A judge may consider aggravating factors, including prior offences, when determining the length of a life sentence.

Parole Eligibility for Life Sentences in Wisconsin

Whether parole eligibility is granted to defendants who are serving life sentences in Wisconsin depends on the law in effect at the time of the offence. For offences committed before November 1989, a defendant may be eligible for parole after they have served twenty-five years. However, if the offence was committed after November 1989, the defendant must serve a minimum of thirty years before they are eligible for parole.

Sentencing Enhancements for Life Sentences in Wisconsin

In addition to parole eligibility, a sentencing court has the power to impose additional years for certain offences. For example, a defendant sentenced to life for a first or second degree intentional homicide offence may have their sentence enhanced by up to five additional years.

In conclusion, a life sentence in Wisconsin carries with it both parole eligibility and sentencing enhancements. The length of the sentence is dependent on the law in effect at the time of the offence, as well as the court’s ruling and any aggravating factors.

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