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Appleton WI Criminal Defense Law Blog

Police arrest Wisconsin man with pot, cocaine and gun

Police in Mount Pleasant arrested a 28-year-old man from Racine after initiating a traffic stop for speeding. The officer's report described witnessing a vehicle exceeding the speed limit on Sunnyslope Drive. Two people occupied the vehicle.

The officer said that the odor of marijuana emerged from the vehicle. A search ensued, and the officer reported finding 9 grams of cocaine, 183 grams of marijuana and a semiautomatic pistol.

Pair taken into custody after drugs found in hotel room

Two Wisconsin residents were taken into custody following a tip called into the police by a hotel clerk regarding his suspicion of multiple drug offenses. The incident happened on Aug. 9 just before 2 a.m. in Wausau, Wisconsin.

A hotel clerk who was working at the Super 8 Motel on Wausau's west side reportedly grew suspicious of the pair because of the number of people who were being allowed into the hotel through the back door before going to room 210. The clerk called the police and allegedly stated that the activity around the room made him suspicious that drug activity was happening in the room.

Man faces 5th OWI conviction

A Wisconsin man faces prison time after a traffic stop for a possible fifth OWI offense if convicted. On Feb. 12, another motorist reported a 2004 Chevrolet SUV that nearly hit a bridge, swerved between lanes and randomly stopped. The concerned citizen thought the person driving was drifting into unconsciousness.

Police found the SUV in Cudahy on East Barnard Avenue, and the authorities noted that the driver from Oak Creek was lethargic with bloodshot eyes and droopy eyelids. The motorist's speech was also slurred, and he had trouble showing officers his driver's license. The man had a pill container with one Oxycodone and one Diazepam. Within three hours of encountering the driver, the police took him to St. Luke's Southshore for blood tests. This revealed Oxycodone, Alprazolam, Valium and benzodiazepines in the man's system.

The link between prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction

Prescription drugs and heroin conjure up wildly different connotations. One you can obtain in the safety of your doctor’s office while the other you must secretly seek in unsavory locations. It might surprise you, then, that there is a potential link between the use and abuse of these two drugs. Indeed, people who abuse prescription pain medication may be more vulnerable to heroin addiction, too.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drug abuse may be a gateway to use of opioids and, later, heroin. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to any of these substances, the following are some of the most crucial facts you should be aware of.

Breathalyzer test for marijuana on the horizon

Most Wisconsin drivers know that driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. Even though the laws are understood, it is not always easy for authorities to tell whether a person is under the influence of pot. This may change in the future as scientists are beginning to learn more about how to test whether this drug is in a person's system.

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have measured the vapor pressure of THC, the main chemical compound in marijuana. The main author of the study stated that in order to know whether THC molecules are leaving the blood to be exhaled from the lungs, it is necessary to know the vapor pressure of the compound. This means that finding the vapor pressure of the chemical is an important step on the way to creating a breathalyzer test for marijuana that is reliable for officers to use roadside.

NHTSA report points to a surge in marijuana-impaired driving

A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that the number of marijuana-impaired drivers in Wisconsin and around the country has increased by about 50 percent in only seven years. The agency's 2013 and 2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers also reveals that traces of THC, which is the chemical compound in marijuana that causes impairment, were found in the oral fluids or blood of 13 percent of the nighttime drivers who participated in the study and 9 percent of the daytime drivers who were tested.

NHTSA has been conducting National Roadside Studies since the 1970s, but the agency did not begin to test motorists for drug-related impairment until 2007. These studies are based on breath, blood and oral fluid samples collected from drivers at 60 locations spread across the United States, and their results are used to help shape future safety regulations and law enforcement initiatives. Alcohol intoxication among drivers has fallen by more than three-quarters since 1977 according to NHTSA, but the agency says that marijuana impairment is on the rise due largely to the passage of laws in many states that allow the drug to be used for medical or recreational purposes.

Probable cause and expectations of privacy

The protections of the Fourth Amendment against unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement officers is an important part of the Constitution and our legal system. Determining the legality of a search is an important part of many criminal cases. There are two legal terms that have a substantial impact on whether or not a warrantless search is considered legal. Wisconsin residents may benefit from a better understanding of this law.

Probable cause is a legal term often used to define if officers had the authority to conduct a search or seizure. The wording for probable cause is intentionally left quite vague. According to the law, officers must show that they had a reasonable suspicion that a crime had occurred or that they would uncover evidence of a crime. For a warrant, police must write an affidavit to this effect and have it approved by a judge. Even if a warrantless search is conducted, officers must still prove probable cause during trial.

DUI sobriety programs in Wisconsin

Motorists in Wisconsin must contact a state-approved facility to make an appointment for a drug or alcohol assessment within 72 hours of being convicted of driving while under the influence. The goal of these assessments is to determine whether or not the individual concerned requires treatment for a substance abuse problem. Recidivism is a serious issue among drunk drivers, and states have come to realize that the problem has more to do with addiction than it does with criminal intent.

During these assessments, individuals experienced in the area of substance abuse will recommend a rehabilitation plan based on a number of factors. Motorists who are determined to be irresponsible but not addicted are usually ordered to participate in a traffic safety program, but individuals with more serious drug or alcohol issues may be sent to intensive outpatient or even inpatient treatment programs.

3 reasons to get a lawyer before speaking with police

Many people who end up facing criminal charges in Wisconsin make the mistake of speaking to law enforcement without having an attorney present. This is usually a serious mistake that can sabotage their defense.

Some people try to talk their way out of an arrest. Especially if this is their first time dealing with police, they may believe that explaining properly can make the case go away. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.

Changes to administrative license suspension procedures

On June 23, Wisconsin attorneys who work on OWI cases were reminded by the State Bar of Wisconsin that, on July 1, a new Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles rule would go into effect. This rule states that a case that involved an administrative suspension would not be automatically dismissed if the arresting officer failed to make an appearanc.

Typically, the attorney will subpoena the arresting officer, meaning the officer must appear in person. The attorney may then call in by phone. The rule will prevent the case from being dismissed if the subpoenaed officer does not appear if the attorney also does not appea. However, if the attorney does appear in court in person, the subpoenaed officer must also appear in person.

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