Commonly asked questions in criminal and drunk driving defense:

Do you offer free consultations?

Yes.  Our criminal defense attorneys always offer free consultations for individuals accused of committing crimes or violating municipal law.  Contact Van Severen Law Office to set up a telephone or in-person consultation. We specialize in defending all criminal and municipal law violations.  We answer phone calls 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.

I’m guilty of the offense, should I hire a lawyer?

Innocent people are convicted of crimes on a regular basis.  Regardless whether you are guilty or innocent, you have rights that need to be protected.  Our criminal defense attorneys and can help you protect those rights.  Don’t rely on a prosecutor to watch out for your rights.  That’s the person trying to convict you.

Additionally, you have certain constitutional rights that, if violated, should result in the suppression of evidence against you.  For example, if the police execute an illegal search of your home and find evidence of a crime, that evidence should be suppressed.  It does not matter if you’re guilty or not.  You have rights.

Do I have to give consent for police to search my car or home?

No.  You never have to allow law enforcement to search your car or home.  In fact, allowing officers to search your home or vehicle will rarely benefit you.  If police think they’re going to find something, they’ll probably try to convince you to let them look.  It isn’t ever a good idea.  They may promise to take it easy on you, but after they find evidence of a crime they’ll rarely do that.  They may also threaten you, but you’re still not required to allow them to search.  If police illegally search your property any evidence obtained must be suppressed (kept out) at trial.  Make them do their jobs.  Make them get a warrant for your home or find probable cause to search your vehicle.

Officers didn’t read me my rights, what now?

Law enforcement officers aren’t required to read you your Miranda Rights whenever you’re arrested.  Law enforcement officers are only required to read you your rights if you are in custody and they plan on using your statements as evidence in your case.  Often people believe their rights have been violated the moment police fail to read them their rights.  If police have enough evidence against you and don’t plan on using your statements, they can proceed without ever reading you your rights.  The Miranda Warning is as follows:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

Can police lie to me during questioning?

Yes.  Police can lie to you during questioning.  Police are trained interrogators.  They know how to manipulate individuals into admitting almost anything.  They can lie to you and tell you that co-defendants admitted everything.  And they can lie by bringing out boxes of documents (notice how they don’t show you what’s inside), slamming that box down on the table in front of you, and talking about how strong their case is against you.  Surely it’s important that you assert your right to silence.  Remember, do not talk to the police.  Obviously it will not help your case.

I hired the wrong attorney.  Can I hire Van Severen Law Office?

We encounter this question on a very regular basis.  Your mother’s brother’s friend knows an attorney and he “specializes” in the crime you committed.  He charged you a bunch of money and didn’t do a thing to help you.  Your case is three months old and you recognize that you made a mistake.  What can you do?

Can you hire a real criminal defense attorney at this point?  Or a real drunk driving defense attorney?  Of course.  If retained, we can file a stipulation for substitution of attorneys and take over for prior counsel.  To be sure, it’s your entire life that’s riding on this case.  Surely you want someone who actually specializes in criminal defense, right?

What criminal penalties do I face for this charge?

On the most mitigated end, a Class C misdemeanor carries a month of jail, a $500.00 fine, or both.  On the most aggravated end, a Class A felony carries life imprisonment.  If you’re charged with a crime, you face something within that range.  Below, we’ve described all misdemeanor and felony classifications in Wisconsin:




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