Category: Drug Crimes

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.

A Wisconsin drug charge is a grave matter that can lead to jail time and substantial fines. Drug convictions can have long-lasting consequences that impact jobs, housing, and finances. At J. Kippa Law, our criminal defense team has 30 years of combined experience handling drug crimes.

Types of Drug Charges

Dangerous and illegal drugs are pervasive in urban centers and rural areas throughout Wisconsin. Three standard drug charges that people in Wisconsin face are:

 Drug possession:

Drug possession in Wisconsin is a serious offense that can have substantial repercussions. Whether the possession is for illegal drugs like cocaine or legal substances held without a valid prescription, such as Xanax, possession charges carry significant legal consequences.

Penalties vary based on the offense level and the substance possessed. Penalties for a second offense of cocaine possession may differ from those of a first-time offender charged with marijuana possession.

A first-time offender for possession of marijuana faces misdemeanor charges with up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines, as well as license revocation. Students risk losing federal financial aid.

For a first-time possession charge of felony drugs (heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD), you can face up to 3.5 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Repeat offenses result in harsher penalties, longer prison terms, higher fines, and higher felony classifications.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a crime in Wisconsin. Paraphernalia includes:

  • Pipes
  • Bongs
  • Scales
  • Baggies
  • Syringes

A conviction can result in serious consequences, including jail time.

Drug possession with the intent to distribute:

Wisconsin penalties for the felony of intent to distribute drugs are stiff. You can be sentenced to 3.5 to 15 years in prison and fined $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the amount and type of drug. For instance, if you are convicted of possession of more than 40 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute, you can face up to 40 years in jail and fines of up to $100,000. The greater the quantity of the drug you possess, the more severe the penalties will be.

Felonies can significantly impact your ability to find work or obtain housing and can affect child custody arrangements. A conviction for intent to distribute usually remains permanently on your record.

Distribution of controlled substances:

Selling, distributing, or manufacturing controlled substances (illegal drugs) in Wisconsin carries severe penalties. These crimes are felonies, with potential jail time determined by the type and quantity seized. At the lower end, distributing 200 grams or less can lead to a maximum of three and a half years in prison. However, selling over 10,000 grams could result in a 15-year jail term and a $50,000 fine. Wisconsin residents caught in such activities face escalated consequences.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Team Today

Our seasoned criminal defense team has a long-lasting track record of successful legal representation. Attorney Jeffrey Kippa and his criminal defense team help clients with drug charges in Appleton, Green Bay, and throughout Wisconsin. Contact us online or call (920) 733-1100.

Wisconsin uses nine class levels for felony crimes. Class A felonies carry the most severe penalties, with decreasing consequences through to Class I felony charges. Understanding this system can take time. Choosing an experienced criminal defense attorney could help you avoid conviction or minimize jail time, fines, and other felony penalties.

The Basics of Wisconsin Drug Crime Felony Classes

The highest level felony for drug crimes in Wisconsin was recently amended. Reckless homicide by drug overdose used to be a Class C felony but now is a Class B felony.

Possession, manufacture, trafficking, or distribution of any controlled substance can have potentially severe consequences. Charges related to drugs or controlled substances in Wisconsin range from misdemeanors to felonies. Several factors determine the charge and its potential penalty: 

  • Type of substance in your possession
  • Quantity of the substance found in your possession (the greater the amount, the more serious the charge)
  • Intent to distribute, manufacture, or deliver the controlled substance rather than simple possession
  • Location of the drug offense (for example, at or near a school, which carries steeper penalties)
  • Ages of involved parties and if minors played a role in the offense
  • Your prior history of drug offenses, if any
  • Use of violence or force, with or without a weapon
  • Willingness to cooperate with law enforcement to provide information on higher-level offenders


Wisconsin Felony Classes for Drug Charges

Here are the felony classes for drug charges in Wisconsin:

  • Class B: Imprisonment up to 60 years, $100,000 maximum fine
  • Class C: Imprisonment up to 40 years, $100,000 maximum fine
  • Class D: Imprisonment up to 25 years, $100,000 maximum fine
  • Class E: Imprisonment up to 15 years, $50,000 maximum fine 
  • Class F: Imprisonment up to 12 ½ years, $25,000 maximum fine
  • Class G: Imprisonment up to ten years, $25,000 maximum fines
  • Class H: Imprisonment up to six years, $10,000 maximum fine 
  • Class I: Imprisonment up to 3 ½ years, $10,000 maximum fine

 

There are collateral penalties for a felony-level conviction:

  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment programs
  • Probation with drug testing and supervision
  • Community service
  • Loss of certain rights, such as owning a gun, voting, and serving in the military
  • Loss or cancellation of college loans and other federal aid
  • Difficulty getting a job 
  • Difficulty renting or buying a home


Potential Defenses for a Drug Crime in Wisconsin

A skilled drug crime defense attorney can assess your case to identify possible defenses. Two of the most common defense strategies:

  • Challenge the validity of probable cause: Law enforcement needs probable cause to search an individual or their vehicle or to obtain a search warrant to enter a home or business. 
  • Challenge the legality of the search and seizure process: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure. If the court determines an improper search and seizure took place, an attorney can ask that any evidence obtained from the search be inadmissible.


Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer
 

To learn more about our experienced Wisconsin criminal defense lawyers, watch and subscribe to the J. Kippa Law, LLC YouTube channel. If you’re facing potentially high-level felony charges, contact J. Kippa Law, LLC, for a confidential consultation. A felony conviction could sentence you to more than prison. It can prevent you from enjoying your full potential. Call us today at (920) 733-1100 and find out how we can help. 

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.

Although certain cities in Wisconsin have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana, it is still not legal to drive under the influence of the drug anywhere in the state. If you are caught doing so, you could face severe penalties such as fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

The Effects of Marijuana

Driving while under the influence of any substance is dangerous, especially marijuana. It can impair a person’s coordination, distort perception, impair judgment, slow reaction time, and reduce the ability to make sound decisions. These side effects while driving could be life-threatening for you, a passenger, another driver, or even pedestrians.

The Penalties

If you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana, a police officer will take you through a series of tests and questions. Then, if the officer deems it necessary, they may request that you submit to a chemical test. If the chemical test states that you have marijuana in your system, you could face up to a $1000 fine, license revocation, or even jail time.

If you are under investigation for driving under the influence of marijuana, you should speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Lawyer Jeffrey Kippa and his team have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients against drug crime charges in Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Appleton, Wisconsin. Contact J. Kippa Law, LLC today at 920-383-3423 to schedule your free consultation, discuss your unique situation, and address your concerns.

Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic has been raging for over 20 years. It first began when doctors started to overprescribe pain relievers. When these drugs became hard to obtain, heroin use skyrocketed. Today, illegally manufactured fentanyl is mixed with heroin, opioids, and other illegal drugs. This is the reason opioid deaths continue at all-time highs in Wisconsin.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a drug that alleviates body pain and can produce a pleasurable effect on the brain. People can use them in correct, beneficial, and illegal ways. Opioids may be prescribed by a healthcare professional as a pain treatment following surgery, for painful emotions, or trauma. The types of opioids are:

  • Prescription pain relievers: Prescription opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. These medications serve as pain relievers by changing how your body feels and responds to pain.
    • Pharmaceutical: This is prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat severe pain. It can come in a lozenge, pill, nasal/sublingual spray, transdermal patch, or injection.
    • Illegal: This type of fentanyl is sold solely for its ability to produce a good feeling. It is often mixed into other drugs to make it look like prescription medicine.
  • Heroin: This is an illegal opioid. It is most commonly used for a short-term rush of pleasurable feelings. There is no medical use for this drug. It is strictly prohibited.

If you or a loved one faces charges such as possession of illegally obtained prescription drugs or heroin possession, the consequences can be severe. It is crucial to work with an experienced local attorney who can provide you with the aggressive defense you need during a difficult time.

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.

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.

Call 920-733-1100