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Appleton Wisconsin Criminal Law Blog

What you need to know about Wisconsin's new DUI law

Drunk driving is a serious offense that can take innocent lives and cause repercussions lasting a lifetime. Too many intoxicated drivers fail to learn their lesson the first time they face a DUI conviction, though. Repeat DUI offenders are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road, and Wisconsin has taken steps to prevent such drivers from continuously putting everybody else on the road at risk.

If you have been charged with a DUI-related crime, there are a few things you should know about the new law that Wisconsin passed in March. Consider the following facts, and think about consulting with a legal representative to obtain defense against the charges you are facing.

The basics of plea bargaining

Plea bargaining is an important aspect of the criminal justice system. As a result, accused individuals should understand plea bargaining so that they can fully understand their options when facing criminal charges. There are different types of plea negotiations so it helps to know what those are as well.

One type of plea bargaining is referred to as charge bargaining and involves negotiation of the specific charges the accused individual is facing. In circumstances of a charge bargain-based plea bargain, the accused individual pleads guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for other, usually more serious, charges being dropped. The other type of plea bargain is sentence bargaining. Sentence bargaining refers to when the accused individual pleads guilty to a criminal charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or recommendation of a reduced sentence to the judge. Fact bargaining is a third type of plea bargaining.

Legal protections for those facing drug charges

Drug charges can result in harsh penalties and consequences which is why it is essential for individuals who have been accused of committing a drug crime to be familiar with their criminal defense rights. Drug charges can include both state and federal charges and can include both drug possession charges or drug trafficking charges.

In some circumstances, depending on the amount of drugs alleged and if other items such as cash or other items are found with the drugs, the accused individual could be charged with drug trafficking charges which can be particularly serious criminal charges. Accused individuals may face drug trafficking or drug distribution charges and drug possession charges for drugs including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and other illegal substances. Prescriptions medications can also lead to charges if they are illegally obtained and sold.

What does domestic violence refer to?

This blog recently discussed some options for addressing domestic violence concerns but what is considered domestic violence? Domestic violence refers to violence between family members or household members and can generally refer to any type of partners, though the definition of what is considered domestic violence may vary by state.

Criminal charges for domestic violence can also vary depending on different factors including the nature of the harm; if a minor was present; and if a protective or restraining order was violated. The way domestic violence is charged can vary by state and in some states, domestic violence is its own distinct crime so it is best to be familiar with your state laws if you find yourself involved in a family violence situation or charged with domestic violence.

Wisconsin protective orders and penalties for violating them

Someone in Appleton, Wisconsin, who gets accused of a crime related to domestic violence will likely also have a restraining order or protective order served on him or her. In addition to requiring the person to stay away from the alleged victim, the order can require the target of the order to do things like surrender his or her firearms to authorities.

Protective orders can be enforced in a number of different ways. As court orders, a court may find someone who violated a protective order to be in contempt and punish the violator accordingly. Protective orders may also be issued in connection with one's bail or probation. If a person violates a protective order while on bail or probation, they may wind up having their conditional freedom revoked and being taken in to custody.

Prostitution remains illegal in Wisconsin

Despite some efforts to de-criminalize prostitution in other parts of the country and the world, Wisconsin still outlaws the practice. As most Wisconsin residents probably know already, prostitution involves the paying of money for sexual favors.

In some cases, being involved with prostitution can even someone with a felony conviction. For instance, someone who allows their property to be used as a place where people can hire a prostitute can find themselves charged with a felony, which can spell prison time and other long-term consequences.

What is the difference between assault and battery

While many people string these two terms together into one phrase, the law assigns them distinct meanings. You may face both assault charges and battery charges based on the same incident, but these are two separate crimes.

Generally, battery means intentionally using force against another person with the purpose of inflicting physical harm. Assault means intentionally making another person fear you are about to physically harm him or her but does not have to entail an actual attack.

Alternatives are available for drug charges

There are lots of people in Appleton and the surrounding area of Outagamie County that are suffering under the weight of a drug or alcohol addiction. Many of these people are, generally speaking, law-abiding citizens, and they certainly behave themselves when they are able to stay sober.

Unfortunately, though, in moments of distress or in the midst of other problems, it is very easy for a Wisconsin resident who is fighting a drug addiction to relapse and wind up facing drug charges or related proceedings, including, for example, a petition to revoke their probation. For those who do not know, having one's probation revoked usually means a person goes to jail.

Explaining "probable cause" in Wisconsin

The Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, along with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, serve to protect citizens against unlawful arrests, searches and seizures. These Fourth Amendment protections are often key to a criminal defense.

Under the Fourth Amendment, a law enforcement officer must have "probable cause" before they can arrest a person, search a person or seize their property. Without probable cause, these searches and seizures violate the rights of the citizen. Even if law enforcement is armed with a warrant to arrest an individual or search their person or property, probable cause must still exist. And, law enforcement must show that probable cause when applying for a warrant.

New law permanently revokes licenses after multiple OWI offenses

Wisconsin ranks among the highest in the nation for state alcohol consumption. But that type of notoriety comes with a new cost. Recently, state lawmakers have passed a new bill that takes specific aim at habitual drunk driving offenders.

Repeated DUI or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) offenders face permanent revocation of driver’s licenses after being convicted four or more times within a 15-year time-span. The consequences for driving while your license is permanently revoked results in a fine of $2,500 and the duration of up to 12 months in jail. A second time and penalties increase to $10,000.

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Appleton, WI 54911

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