New OWI Penalties Begin January 1

A bill signed into law by Governor Scott Walker back in April is set to take effect as we ring in the New Year.  The new law affects the OWI penalties for repeat drunk drivers. OWI Penalties for 4th Offenses OWI penalties can be confusing, so let’s first look at what the current law is:…

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Drug Treatment Court in Milwaukee

Drug treatment court is a specialized program offered in many counties in Wisconsin.  This post will focus specifically on Milwaukee County, but many of the eligibility criteria are the same in neighboring counties. Purpose of Drug Treatment Court The mission statement of the drug treatment court program focuses on “enhancing public safety through the reduction…

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Immunity from Drug Prosecution

There is a little known statute in Wisconsin that provides immunity from prosecution to drug users.  Known as a “Good Samaritan” law, the statute states that a person who summons emergency aid for an individual who has overdosed cannot be prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia.  However, a recent court of appeals…

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Substitution of your Judge

What happens when you are assigned a judge and you want someone else?  The Wisconsin Statutes provide a right to substitute on your judge, and although you don’t get to “pick” your new judge, filing a substitution request can make a big difference in your case. The Right to Substitution The right to substitute on your judge is…

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Repeater Enhancers in Wisconsin

What does it mean when you look at your criminal complaint and you see “repeater” listed after the charge?  What charges are affected by the repeater enhancer?  And what is a persistent repeater?  This post will examine the standard repeater statute, how DA’s will use the repeater enhancer against you, and how being labeled a…

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Open Carry in Wisconsin

A common question we receive is whether it is legal to openly carry a firearm or other weapon in Wisconsin.  The answer, in general, is yes.  There is no “law” permitting open carry in Wisconsin.  Rather, it is presumed legal but subject to numerous restrictions.  The opposite of open carry is carrying concealed.  Wisconsin statutes…

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Warrant Requirement Exceptions

We all know what the 4th amendment says:  “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and…

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Brendan Dassey Wins Federal Appeal

In a lengthy decision, Eastern District of Wisconsin Federal Magistrate Judge William Duffin has overturned Brendan Dassey’s 2007 murder conviction of Teresa Halbach.  Dassey gained national attention through the Netflix “Making a Murderer” series.  The series chronicled Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, and his ultimate conviction in the murder of Halbach.  Dassey was also convicted of…

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IID Laws in Wisconsin

If you’ve been pulled over for an OWI offense in Wisconsin, you may be required to install an IID, or ignition interlock device, on your vehicle.  This post explores the law, how it applies to you, and how you can get an exemption. The IID Law There are three scenarios where a person convicted of…

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Stingray Devices

The use of a cell site simulator, or Stingray, continues to crop up in headlines across the country.  Courts are now getting involved in addressing 4th amendment concerns, such as the device’s use without a warrant and how invasive the technology really is.  This post looks at phone tracking in general, how the Stingray operates, and…

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