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Appleton WI Criminal Defense Law Blog

How domestic violence is prosecuted in Wisconsin

While there is no specific law against domestic violence in Wisconsin, a collection of other laws relating to assault or battery may be used to prosecute it. Domestic violence differs from other forms of assault or battery because of the relationship between the victim and the abuser. In domestic abuse cases, the victim and abuser are related or may have a romantic relationship.

Under state law, domestic abuse is defined as an adult who intentionally causes pain or illness on a current or former spouse. Abuse or illness may also be inflicted on a co-parent or anyone else living in the same house. If a person is taken into custody for domestic abuse, that person may not contact the victim for 72 hours. Violating that order may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to nine months in prison.

Wisconsin man charged with drunk driving twice in 3 hours

The legal limit for Wisconsin drivers is a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, but residents of the Badger State who are under the age of 21 are considered legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of just .02 percent under the state's zero tolerance law. Police in Brown County took an 18-year-old man into custody on drunk driving charges twice in less than three hours during the early morning hours of June 4, and toxicology tests suggest that he would have been well over the legal driving limit even if he were over 21 years of age.

Officers with the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department say that they first encountered the man when they responded to a call about a one-car accident on South Broadway at about 4:20 a.m. Police claim that the man behind the wheel of the damaged car told them that he had lost control of his vehicle and struck a light pole when he took his eyes off the road to use his cellphone. He was taken into custody after allegedly failing a standardized field sobriety test. Reports indicate that his blood alcohol level was .157 percent when he crashed.

Unreasonable delay of criminal trial could violate rights

An arrest by Wisconsin law enforcement authorities that result in criminal charges being filed initiates a defendant's rights under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Under this part of the Bill of Rights, a criminal defendant has a right to a speedy trial although the circumstances of the case could support reasonable delays.

If the defendant's representative contests the reasons for the delays, a court might review the challenge. Valid complaints about the delay between arrest and trial could cause a court to dismiss the case.

DUI charge for Tiger Woods on Memorial Day

Wisconsin golf fans may have heard about Tiger Woods' arrest for a suspected DUI. The incident happened on May 29 around 3 a.m. in Florida.

Woods was reportedly stopped by law enforcement officers with the Jupiter Police Department on Military Trail, which is a six-lane road near Indian Creek Parkway in Palm Beach County, Florida. He was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail at 7:48 a.m. and was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

When a night out on the town goes wrong

Everybody enjoys relaxing after a long day at work or when the weekend finally arrives. For many, that relaxation might involve going out, enjoying night life, drinking or going to a bar. These activities are fun, but when alcohol is involved, they can also lead to trouble. If you want to stay safe, it is important not to fall prey to any of the disturbances that can turn a night of relaxation into a night of regret.

Getting into a fight

Differences between a misdemeanor and a felony

Wisconsin has several different categories for crimes depending on their severity. In general, the state categorizes a crime as an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony. An infraction usually includes crimes that are not particularly serious, like certain traffic violations. As long as the associated fine is paid, a person usually will not be sentenced to any jail time. For misdemeanors and felonies, however, the consequences can be more serious.

Unlike infractions, misdemeanors can result in up to a year of jail time. Other punishments for misdemeanors can often be flexible depending on the case. For example, prosecutors may have more room to negotiate plea bargains that include less severe punishments than if the person was facing a felony conviction.

Hayley Hasselhoff charged with drunk driving

Wisconsin fans of actor David Hasselhoff might be interested in learning that his daughter Hayley was arrested for allegedly driving while she was intoxicated. The incident happened on May 13 around 4 a.m. on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles.

According to law enforcement officers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, witnesses called 911 to report a car that was stopped on an off-ramp. The responding officers reportedly found Hasselhoff asleep behind the wheel of her car with her foot on the brake. The officers reportedly awakened her and took control of her car before administering roadside sobriety tests.

Wisconsin Senate passes multiple bills dealing with opioid abuse

Nine bills that address opioid abuse passed in the Wisconsin Senate on May 2 and went on to Gov. Scott Walker to be signed into law. The bills provide money and other resources to law enforcement, medical facilities, schools and agencies.

Some of the bills focus on rehabilitation over punishment. There will be $2 million available to counties so that people with drug or alcohol offenses can be treated rather than sent to jail. Two to three treatment programs will be created in high-need areas. Hospitals will receive $63,000 annually to train physicians in treating addictions while another program will connect rural physicians to opportunities for training on treating addiction. The University of Wisconsin will create a charter program for high school students who are recovering from addiction.

What are the penalties for an OWI offense?

Wisconsin is the only state in the country that does not consider first-time OWI offenses as criminal offenses. Instead, first-time OWI offenders receive tickets and pay fines. If this is your first time being apprehended for drunk driving, you should take your situation seriously. You should not get behind the wheel and drive after drinking again. If you do, you could find yourself facing criminal charges and some hefty penalties.

Here are the penalties you face if you receive an OWI conviction.

Study looks into the effectiveness of ignition interlock laws

Wisconsin law requires motorists convicted of OWI to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles when they have a prior history of drunk driving, refused to submit to a toxicology test or were found to have a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or higher, but a study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Colorado School of Public Health suggests that a law mandating the installation of these devices in the vehicles of all drunk drivers would be more effective.

Ignition interlock devices use the same kind of technology as the portable breath testing equipment used by police, and more than 20 states have passed laws mandating their use after drunk driving convictions are obtained. The researchers behind the study looked at NHTSA accident data from 1982 to 2013, and they concluded that these laws reduce fatal drunk driving accidents by 7 percent and have saved about 1,250 lives since 1993.

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