Tag: criminal procedure

Appeal

If a defendant is convicted he may appeal his conviction by filing a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief with the trial court, or by filing an appeal directly with the Court of Appeals.  The conviction will be either reversed or upheld. When a conviction is reversed, a new trial will be held unless the State decides…

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Sentencing

Sentencing: When you learn what, if any, punishment you’ll receive. If the defendant enters a plea or is found guilty at trial, the actual punishment is determined by the judge at a sentencing hearing. The judge is required to consider the severity of the offense, the character of the defendant, and the need to protect…

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Court Trial

Court trials in Wisconsin In certain circumstances the defense will conduct a trial without a jury.  A court trial involves the judge making all decisions in the case, including what evidence is relevant and whether the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each side presents its case to the judge, just as they would…

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Jury Trial

Jury trials in Wisconsin If you don’t settle your case through plea negotiations you have the right to a jury trial. In Wisconsin, all 12 members of the jury (potentially a jury of 6 in misdemeanor cases) must agree unanimously that you are guilty or not guilty of each element of the offense beyond a…

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Plea bargaining

Do I still need an attorney if I’m just looking to enter a plea in my case? In short, yes.  Because so many cases are settled, it’s crucial that your attorney have the ability to effectively negotiate a plea.  The effectiveness of your lawyer relies on numerous factors, but we believe the most important is…

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Pre-trial motions

Pre-trial motions request that the court take a specific action.  They're an important criminal defense tool. The Wisconsin Supreme Court found that an essential part of effective representation of criminal defendants is pretrial motion practice.  State v. Harper.  Conversely, sometimes lazy or unskilled defense attorneys will fail to file motions, assuming a case will be...CONTINUE READING

Receipt of discovery

Discovery refers to all materials/evidence the State plans to use at trial to show the defendant committed a crime.  It also refers to materials the defense must turn over to the State. The Constitution of the United States of America requires the government to disclose all discovery to the defense.  In criminal cases, "discovery" typically...CONTINUE READING

Preliminary hearing / arraignment

Preliminary hearings occur in felony cases.  At the preliminary hearing, a judge/court commissioner determines whether the defendant probably committed a felony. When there is not probable cause to proceed, the court must dismiss the charges against you.  Alternatively, when the court finds probable cause, they “bind over” the defendant and the case proceeds to trial. …

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Initial appearance

The initial appearance - your first court date. The initial appearance is the first time the defendant appears in court regarding criminal charges.  The courts provides the defendant notice of what charges he faces,  along with what the maximum penalties are for those crimes.  The court also sets bail at the initial appearance.  Certain counties, like...CONTINUE READING

Criminal Procedure

The criminal justice system can be confusing, especially if you've never been charged with a crime.  This page provides a brief explanation of criminal procedure in Wisconsin. We agree - the criminal justice system seems complex to an individual who doesn't interact with it on a regular basis.  That's one of the reasons we created...CONTINUE READING
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