Early release programs in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is known as a “Truth in Sentencing” state.  This means that someone sentenced to the Wisconsin State Prison System must serve a bifurcated sentence – a period of initial confinement and a period of extended supervision.  The “truth” in the sentence comes from the fact that the offender knows exactly how much time he…

CONTINUE READING

K-9 search at a traffic stop

If you face criminal charges contact Van Severen Law Office immediately.  Criminal justice actors throughout Wisconsin recognize our defense attorneys as among the best in the state.  Whether you’re charged with a drunk driving offense, a drug offense, or any other kind of crime, contact us at (414) 270-0202. Reasonable suspicion and extending the stop…

CONTINUE READING

Why did the police pull me over?

Why’d the police stop you?  This is an important question that could lead to multiple motions in your case. Why did the cops pull you over?  A criminal defense attorney should always ask you this question at your initial consultation.  Whether you’re facing a drug case, a drunk driving case, or any other case that…

CONTINUE READING

“Good time” in Wisconsin

How do defendants lose this credit? Defendants lose good time when they aren’t good.  The law says: An inmate who violates any law or any regulation of the jail, or neglects or refuses to perform any duty lawfully required of him or her, may be deprived by the sheriff of good time under this section,…

CONTINUE READING

Standardized field sobriety tests – What are they?

Horizontal gaze nystagmus The HGN test is the most accurate of the three tests.  The test has a 77% accuracy rate in detecting when blood alcohol levels are above .10%.  Nystagmus itself is involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball.  The jerking or bouncing makes it appear that the pupil is being pulled back towards…

CONTINUE READING

Grand jury’s decision in Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson – How Wisconsin grand juries work

Grand jury proceedings are secret: Although grand jury proceedings are secret, they’re usually more relaxed than something like the preliminary hearing.  The secret nature of the grand jury proceeding encourages witnesses to provide truthful information without fear of retaliation.  In the event of a witness refusing to testify, frequently the government will provide immunity to…

CONTINUE READING

Underage Alcohol Consumption/Possession Tickets

Underage alcohol consumption tickets can be trouble. Underage alcohol consumption/possession (underage drinking) tickets are extremely common once students return to college.  Fortunately, an underage drinking ticket is a forfeiture.  A forfeiture is a non-criminal offense that results in a fine.  Jail or prison time are not consequences of a forfeiture, but certain other collateral consequences…

CONTINUE READING

The Castle Doctrine

Clarification of the Castle Doctrine: At least one case helped clarify the castle doctrine.  In State v. Chew, the Court of Appeals was tasked with determining whether the doctrine applied (whether a jury instruction should be given) when Mr. Chew fired shots from the hall in his apartment and the doorway of the apartment building…

CONTINUE READING

Guide to Expunction (Expungement)

Expungement for individuals 25 years old and younger: Old law: The legislature amended section 973.015 of the Wisconsin Statutes on July 1, 2009.  Prior to that date, expungement only applied to misdemeanor convictions and defendants under 21 years old.  The law excluded felonies.  Finally, the law also prohibited expunction for defendants over 21 years old….

CONTINUE READING

I was just sentenced. I want to appeal. What do I do?

Notice of right to seek postconviction relief Pay attention during sentencing.  You’re stressed out and worrying about what is going to happen.  But it’s important you watch for potential appellate issues.  Even if you don’t thoroughly understand the law, you certainly know when something feels off.  After sentencing, your attorney will have you sign a…

CONTINUE READING

icon-angle icon-bars icon-times