Category: Criminal Defense

Understanding how probable cause for vehicle searches in Wisconsin works is crucial to protect your rights and determine any potential legal consequences. When faced with the looming possibility of a drug-related charge, comprehending the nuances of Fourth Amendment protections becomes paramount, and an experienced drug crimes lawyer can explain everything.

Essentially, probable cause serves as the linchpin that dictates whether law enforcement can lawfully search your vehicle for illicit substances. This constitutional safeguard aims to balance preserving individual liberties and enabling law enforcement to uphold public safety and enforce the law. Knowing what constitutes probable cause under Wisconsin law is pivotal in protecting a person’s rights and mounting a robust defense against any unwarranted searches or potential drug charges.

What Constitutes Probable Cause

In Wisconsin, probable cause to search a vehicle for drugs exists when an officer has sufficient evidence or information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that drugs or other contraband are likely present in the vehicle. This evidence can come from various sources, such as:

Plain View Doctrine

If an officer can see drugs or drug paraphernalia in your vehicle through the windows or during a lawful traffic stop, they have probable cause to search the vehicle.

Odor of Drugs

A strong and distinct odor of marijuana or other drugs emanating from your vehicle can provide probable cause for a search.

Informant Information

If a reliable informant provides credible information that drugs are in your vehicle, this may establish probable cause.

K-9 Alert

Trained drug-sniffing dogs can detect the presence of drugs in a vehicle. If a K-9 unit alerts to your vehicle, this can constitute probable cause.

Incriminating Statements

If you or your passengers make statements that lead an officer to believe drugs are present reasonably, this can establish probable cause.

Suspicious Behavior

Unusual or suspicious behavior, such as attempting to conceal items or acting extremely nervous during a traffic stop, may contribute to probable cause.

What Happens If There Was No Probable Cause?

It’s important to note that mere suspicion or a “hunch” is insufficient to establish probable cause. Officers must have specific, articulable facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that drugs or other illegal substances are present in the vehicle.

If an officer searches you without probable cause, the court may deem any evidence obtained inadmissible, and your rights may have been be violated. It’s crucial to assert your rights and remain respectful but firm if you believe a search is unjustified.

Get Legal Help Today

If you find yourself facing drug charges or believe someone violated your rights, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At J. Kippa Law, our team of skilled attorneys can assess the details of your case, advise you on your rights, and work tirelessly to protect your interests.

While we cannot guarantee any specific outcome, our firm will provide compassionate and vigorous representation to our clients who face drug charges or other criminal matters. If you would like to discuss your situation with us, please don’t hesitate to call our offices at (920) 733-1100 or contact us online to schedule a free, zero-obligation consultation.

Following an arrest on drug possession charges in Wisconsin, you may wonder whether you can get your charges dismissed. Depending on the facts in your case, you may have defense strategies available to challenge the prosecution’s evidence to seek a reduction or dismissal of your charges.

Wisconsin’s Drug Possession Laws

Wisconsin law prohibits simple possession of drugs and possession of drugs with intent to distribute. The possession with intent to distribute statute makes it illegal for a person to possess, with intent to manufacture, distribute, or deliver, a controlled substance or controlled substance analog. The law allows the state to prove intent to distribute by the quantity or monetary value of the drugs at issue, the possession of manufacturing or packaging equipment, or the activities of the person in possession of the controlled substance.

The simple possession statute makes it illegal to possess or attempt to possess a controlled substance or controlled substance analog unless one obtains the substance or analog directly from or under a valid prescription of a medical practitioner or unless the law otherwise authorizes one to possess the substance.

Penalties for a drug possession conviction vary based on the type and quantity of drugs involved. Possession of Schedule I and II drugs carries the harshest penalties.

Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

You may have various factual and legal defenses available to get drug possession charges dismissed in Wisconsin, depending on the circumstances in your case. Common defenses in drug possession cases include:

  • Proving that the substance at issue is not a controlled substance or controlled substance analog or challenging the reliability of the lab results confirming the nature of the substance
  • Proving a break in the chain of custody to argue that the substance submitted into evidence at trial is not the substance seized from the defendant
  • Proving that you lawfully possessed the drugs, either through a lawful medical prescription or other statutory authority
  • Arguing that you did not knowingly possess the drugs at issue or proving that the drugs belonged to someone else, such as by showing that you lacked control over or access to the drugs or showing that someone else placed the drugs in your home or car without your permission or knowledge
  • Challenging the lawfulness of the police’s search and seizure, such as by challenging the validity of a traffic stop, arguing that police lacked probable cause or a lawful basis for a warrantless search, or showing that a search warrant lacked probable cause

Successfully raising defenses in a drug possession case may lead the trial court to exclude evidence as unreliable or illegally obtained. When the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to bring you to trial, you can file a motion to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Lawyer Today

If you were arrested and charged with drug possession in Wisconsin, you need experienced legal counsel to protect your rights, freedom, and future. Contact J. Kippa Law, LLC, today for a free, confidential consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to discuss your options for resolving your charges.

The Basics of Drug Possession in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, drug offenses are taken very seriously. While many may dismiss simple drug possession as a minor offense, the repercussions can be substantial and long-lasting. This is particularly true if you’re unprepared and unaware of the ramifications. At J. Kippa Law, LLC, our goal is to shed light on these implications and guide you through the complexities of the legal system.

Wisconsin classifies controlled substances into different schedules. The severity of a possession charge largely depends on which schedule the drug falls under, as well as the quantity in possession. Penalties can range from a misdemeanor with a fine to felonies with potential imprisonment.

Immediate and Long-Term Consequences

Drug possession in Wisconsin is a serious offense that can have both immediate and long-term consequences. Depending on the type and amount of the drug involved, the penalties can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony, with possible fines, jail time, probation, and other sanctions.

For a first-time possession of marijuana or THC, which is a Schedule I drug, you may face up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a revocation of driving privileges for up to 5 years. If you are a student, you may also lose your federal financial aid money.

For a first-time possession of any other Schedule I or II drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, or fentanyl, you may face up to 3.5 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and a Class I felony conviction. A felony conviction can have lasting effects on employment, education, housing, voting rights, and gun rights.

For a first-time possession of any Schedule III, IV, or V drug, such as ketamine, anabolic steroids, Valium, Xanax, or codeine, you may face up to 12 months in jail, up to $5,000 in fines and a Class H or I felony conviction. A felony conviction can also have long-term consequences, as mentioned above.

For a second or subsequent offense of drug possession of any kind, you may face harsher penalties than the first offense, such as longer prison terms, higher fines, and higher felony classes. You may also be subject to enhanced penalties if you possess drugs near certain places such as schools, parks, or public housing.

In addition to the criminal penalties for drug possession in Wisconsin, you may also face other consequences, such as substance abuse treatment programs, community service, drug testing, and supervision by a probation officer. You may also have difficulties finding or keeping a job, obtaining professional licenses or certifications, renting an apartment or house, applying for loans or scholarships, traveling abroad, or joining the military.

Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer

A simple drug possession charge in Wisconsin can have far-reaching implications. While the legal consequences are immediate and clear, the ripple effect on your personal, professional, and financial life can be profound. Being informed, prepared, and represented by a dedicated attorney can make all the difference.

If you or a loved one are facing drug possession charges in Wisconsin, act quickly and secure skilled representation. Reach out to J. Kippa Law, LLC, where your future and freedom are our top priority. Call us today at (920) 733-1100 for a comprehensive consultation.

Sexual assault charges are some of the most severe criminal charges that an individual can face in the State of Wisconsin. A person can be found guilty and convicted of a sexual assault charge if they have sexual contact with another individual without their consent. More serious sexual assault crimes involve dangerous weapons and physical violence. A conviction can lead to severe penalties, including jail time.

If you are currently pending a sexual assault charge in Wisconsin, you must experience legal help as quickly as possible. The knowledgeable Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys at J. Kippa Law Office, LLC can help you advocate a solid legal defense for your pending sexual assault charge or represent you during plea deal negotiations with state prosecutors in your case.

For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a skilled Wisconsin sexual assault lawyer, please call us at 920-507-5252 or online for more information.

Sexual Assault Penalties in Wisconsin

To receive criminal penalties for sexual assault, the state prosecutor must first satisfy the legal burden of proof in their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The potential sexual assault penalties that an accused individual may receive upon conviction will depend upon the degree of sexual assault with which they are charged.

  • First-degree sexual assault is the most serious and typically involves serious bodily harm, use of a dangerous weapon, or physical violence. A conviction can lead to a maximum of 40 years of incarceration.
  • A second-degree sexual assault conviction can lead to a maximum of 20 years in jail and a maximum monetary fine of $10,000.
  • A third-degree sexual assault conviction can lead to a maximum prison sentence of five years or a total monetary fine of $10,000.
  • A fourth-degree sexual assault conviction can lead to a maximum of 9 months in a county jail and a maximum monetary fine of $10,000.

While first, second, and third-degree sexual assault charges are a felony in Wisconsin, a fourth-degree sexual assault charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

Factors that Affect Sexual Assault Penalties in Wisconsin

Certain aggravating factors exist which may increase the severity of a pending sexual assault charge, as well as the potential penalties upon conviction. Those factors may include multiple sexual assault victims, use of physical violence during the incident, and use of a weapon.

However, in response to a sexual assault charge, several mitigating factors might apply, including cooperating with responding law enforcement officers, lack of prior arrests, and lack of previous sexual assault convictions.

Consent and Sexual Assault in Wisconsin 

 

Many sexual assault cases hinge on whether the alleged victim provided consent to the sexual act(s) in question. Suppose the state prosecutor can show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the alleged victim did not provide consent. In that case, the accused can be convicted of a rape charge, leading to higher penalties.

Other Considerations in Sexual Assault Cases in Wisconsin 

 

When an individual is the victim of sexual assault, they can file a report. It is then up to the prosecuting attorney to bring criminal charges. If the prosecutor ultimately obtains a conviction, then before sentencing, the alleged victim can make an impact statement to the judge in person – or writing.

In addition to the potential penalties listed above, the accused individual may have to register as a sex offender on the State of Wisconsin’s sex offender registry under Megan’s Law.

Cases are being pushed months, even years, behind due to the public defender shortage in Wisconsin. Experts say it will take years to overcome the pileup of cases within the Wisconsin courts.

Why is This Happening?

Public defender pay has remained unchanged for many years, although the amount of work demanded from them has only increased. According to data provided by Wisconsin’s public defender’s office, the number of cases sitting on the desks of public defenders was 32,000 before the pandemic and is now 64,000 as of May this year. SPD spokesperson Wilson Medina states, “This is unsustainable and can potentially jeopardize the constitutional rights of our clients throughout the state.” In addition, the pandemic caused many counties to put jury trials on hold due to public health and safety concerns. Many prosecutors, judges, and attorneys feared the upcoming pileup we are now experiencing.

The Struggles of The Defendants

The defendants are not unharmed by the backlog. Some of them are in jail for months while waiting for their case. Others are losing residences and jobs. The issue is larger than it seems.

How Will This Be Fixed?

Since public defender pay remains too low for people to desire to work in this field, the first step to solving this dilemma is to increase funding for public defenders. This would encourage more young lawyers to become public defenders rather than working for a private firm. Since public defenders are so overbooked, it is hard to find enough of them who are qualified for the more complex cases such as shootings, homicides, or reckless driving. A change must occur. With the current status of the pileup in cases, it could take the court system years to get through the cases they already have.

One way to avoid becoming a victim of the backlog is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney of your own. The protection of your rights, reputation, and future is too important to be delayed.

Have you heard about this program? It’s probably bad news if you have, since the goal of The Wisconsin Enhances Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP) is to identify potential drug crimes and apprehend those accused of committing them.

How Does It Work?

The ePDMP provides the state with valuable information regarding monitored prescription drugs dispensed by Wisconsin and aids healthcare workers in their prescribing and dispensing decisions. In addition, the ePDMP allows pharmacies, healthcare workers, law enforcement, and public health officials to work together, attempting to reduce the misuse, abuse, and diversion of monitored prescription drugs.

The ePDMP receives alerts based on numerous things such as early refills, long-term Opioid therapy, and high Opioid daily use. For example, in June 2022, about 20,000 individuals received an early refill. This is a cause for immediate concern for those individuals. In the same month, about 12,000 individuals were on long-term Opioid therapy. These numbers are the lowest they have been since January of 2022. Delegates and Prescribers make most of the patient queries each month. With this information, the WI ePDMP can monitor any patients who meet the criteria to be considered as concerning.

Mistakes Will Be Made

Unfortunately, human beings make mistakes and law enforcement officers are no exception. An increased focus on prescription drug monitoring will result in increased scrutiny on legal prescription drug users and result in faulty criminal charges. It is crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney
protecting your rights and making sure your side of the story is told if you find yourself on the wrong side of prescription drug charges.

Public defenders play a crucial role in our criminal justice system, but there are benefits to hiring your own defense attorney. One crucial reason is a shortage of public defenders is delaying the resolution of criminal cases. When your rights, future, and reputation are on the line you cannot afford to wait to get the defense you need.

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/should-i-go-with-a-public-defender-or-a-lawyer-of-my-choice-31757

In an attempt to crack down on illegal substances, the Forest County Sherriff’s Office led a massive interdiction. This resulted in a total of 107 traffic stops across 8 hours. Follow the link to find out the statistics on the stops… it is shocking!

https://www.wearegreenbay.com/news/local-news/hundreds-pulled-over-in-northern-wisconsin-as-authorities-target-illegal-drugs/

Your attorney's experience can make all the difference when your future is on the line. Learn how attorney Jeffrey Kippa can help you move forward.

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