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Appleton Wisconsin Criminal Law Blog

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.

Does the plain-view doctrine apply in Wisconsin?

As in all states, residents are protected from unlawful searches and seizures -- including arrests -- by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. This protection is a cornerstone of criminal defense. Essentially, the Fourth Amendment says that a person or property may not be searched or seized without a warrant.

It is important, however, to understand that there are some exceptions that allow for a warrantless search or seizure. One such exception is the "plain-view" doctrine. This exception, first enunciated by the Supreme Court in Coolidge v. New Hampshire. The Court explained that law enforcement may search or seize contraband that is in "plain view," if certain criteria are met.

The accused in a drunk driving case has options

How do you defend yourself against drunk driving charges? It's a simple question, but it may sound silly to even ask it. This is because most people assume that someone who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is guilty -- even though we are all presumed innocent to begin with.

However, there are plenty of ways that the accused person and his or her legal team can address the drunk driving charge. Here are a few specific ways that the defense can argue against the charges:

Participation in a crime and criminal liability

Most people realize that breaking the law can result in criminal charges. But what does it mean if police officers accuse you of helping someone else commit a crime?

Under Wisconsin law, there are various degrees of involvement in another person's crime, and, correspondingly, various levels of criminal responsibility for accomplices. If you face charges of criminal involvement, be sure to get your own attorney. Your interests may likely conflict with those of the other defendant or defendants in the case, so their attorney may not be able to represent you effectively.

Wisconsin man faces sixth drunk driving charge

After being pulled over by police in a traffic stop in Caledonia on March 5, a man from Racine is facing a felony charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. This is the sixth OWI charge the 39-year-old man has received.

While the man drove south on Highway 32, a Caledonia village police officer said that he noticed the car suddenly change lanes, swerve and come to a stop in the middle of the road for no reason. The police then said that the officer turned on his lights and stopped the vehicle. While the man driving the car said that the front window could not be opened, he rolled down the back window and attempted to speak with the officer.

Adams County heroin investigation focuses on 2 women

A law enforcement investigation of drug trafficking in Adams County has resulted in the arrest of two women. Police stopped them while they were traveling together on Wisconsin Highway 13 in Adams. A news release from the sheriff's office described them as a 54-year-old from Friendship and a 34-year-old from Adams.

Because investigators believed the women to be involved in distributing drugs within the county, police had also obtained a search warrant for the younger woman's home. The officer's conducted their search at roughly the same time as the women's arrest. The search reportedly produced evidence to justify criminal charges against both of them.

Marijuana laws in Wisconsin

There are constant changes to marijuana laws across the country in recent years. Multiple states are legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes and the national attitude about the drug is shifting. Many municipalities and states also decriminalize the drug.

Because of these adjustments, it can be difficult to keep track of the laws in Wisconsin. Where exactly does the Badger State stand on cannabis?

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