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Author: Benjamin Van Severen

Benjamin T. Van Severen is a Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney. Mr. Van Severen is a graduate of Marquette University Law School.

Is it illegal to share my prescription medication?

Obtaining a prescription medication by fraud Various parts of Section 450.11(7) of the Wisconsin Statutes deals with obtaining a prescription drug using fraud.  While this blog post deals with the common situation involving exchanging prescription medication between family and friends, that situation could easily evolve into one involving trying to obtain a prescription using fraud. …


How does a felony conviction affect my voting rights?

A felony conviction impacts your voting rights.  Our criminal defense attorneys explain how this happens: Voting rights vary throughout the United States.  In some states, a felony conviction renders you ineligible to vote for the rest of your life.  While this is certainly voter manipulation, thankfully Wisconsin felons maintain their eligibility to vote.  This blog…


What is the Fourth Amendment?

Fourth Amendment searches Searches are one of the ways criminal cases involve the 4th Amendment. Initially, 4th Amendment case law revolved around a citizen’s property rights.  A citizen’s property rights become involved when the government physically intruded on “houses, papers, or effects” for the purpose of finding information (a search).  Early 4th cases focused on…


Wisconsin three strikes law

Wis. Stat. sec. 939.62 – increased penalty for habitual criminality Section 939.62 of the Wisconsin Statutes deals with increased penalties for habitual criminals.  But subsection (2m) deals with Wisconsin’s three strikes law. Section 939.62(2m)(a) describes the charges that fall under Wisconsin’s three strikes law: Sexual assault of a child, engaging in repeated acts of sexual…


Internet browsing history: can it be used in court?

Who has access to my browsing history?  Who can see it? ISPs can see everything you do online.  They track things like which websites you visit, how long you spend on them, the content you view from a website (videos, pictures), the device you’re using, your geographic location, and the time you spend on the…


What is the 5th Amendment?

Grand Jury The Fifth Amendment says “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger…”…


Presenting a fake vaccine card: What state crimes have I committed?

Potential state charge: forgery Firstly, state prosecutors could start off with forgery charges.  Forgery is a Class A misdemeanor, meaning the maximum penalty is 9 months jail, $10,000.00 in fines, or both.  A Class A misdemeanor is only a misdemeanor, but it’s the most serious one.  9 months in jail is certainly a long time,…


Intentionally coughing on someone else: crime?

The most likely charge: disorderly conduct Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor in Wisconsin.  That means the charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a $1,000.00 fine, or both.  Even though this is a lower-level charge, it’s still serious.  And a conviction for it will remain with you for the rest…


Is road rage a crime?

What is road rage? Aggressive driving takes many forms.  Tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, and speeding are all certainly forms of aggressive driving.  An unfortunately it happens a lot.  A AAA survey found that nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger or aggression while behind the wheel at least once over the court…


OWI stops and inclement weather

Why does the weather matter for an OWI stop? After police stop you for suspected drunk driving, frequently they require you to complete a battery of field sobriety tests.  The purpose of those tests is to determine whether or not you appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  That conclusion, along with…

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