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Waukesha Criminal Law Blog

Anyone can find him or herself arrested on narcotics charges

The police in Wisconsin use a lot of clever tactics to track down, gather evidence and charge individuals with drug crimes. Sometimes, police and prosecutors build very strong cases against the people they accuse. Other times, the cases aren't that strong. In fact, it's not uncommon for police to arrest and charge a completely innocent person with a drug crime that he or she never committed.

Here are the three most common drug crimes that a Wisconsin resident might face in this regard:

How to defend yourself against a theft charge

Not all theft accusations are appropriate. Sometimes, people are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or it just appears as if they stole something when they really did not. Regardless of how your theft charges came about, one of the following four theft defense strategies might apply to your circumstances.

Claim that the property belonged to you

Facing a criminal charge? Pay attention to these factors

For people who are facing their first encounter with the criminal justice system, there are some aspects that might be a mystifying. This can cause them to feel stress and uncertainty. As you can imagine, having these feelings for months while the case moves through the system is difficult and frustrating.

While there isn't really a way to take all of the unpleasantness out of the process, it is possible to learn a little about it so that you can feel prepared as you fight the charges you are facing. Here are some points to think about to get you started on your quest for knowledge about the criminal justice system:

How do police determine if a driver is drunk?

Police use a variety of methodologies to spot potentially drunk drivers. Learning what police look for might help you avoid an inappropriate DUI. In fact, many drivers in Wisconsin have been arrested and charged with DUI because they made some simple and relatively harmless mistake on the road. If you're sober, and you know what to avoid, it should be fairly easy to prevent making the following errors by mistake:

  • Driving in an unpredictable and or erratic way: Drivers who are intoxicated tend to operate their vehicles erratically. They might cross the centerline suddenly without warning. They might speed up and slow down for no reason at all. They could be piloting their vehicles in other strange ways that call attention to the vehicle and driver. As long as you're driving close to the speed limit, and you're maintaining your speed and your lane in a steady way, you should be able to avoid the risk of getting falsely accused of a DUI.
  • Being overly nervous during a field sobriety test: Stay calm and respectful during your field sobriety test, and remember to breathe. It's easy to get nervous when police are administering a field sobriety test. However, that nervousness -- if it's extreme enough -- could cause police to think you're intoxicated, so be sure to stay as calm as you can.
  • Failing to pass your Breathalyzer test: No sober driver should ever fail a Breathalyzer test, but it does happen from time to time. Ultimately, there's nothing you can do to pass or fail this test. Just blow if you haven't been drinking, your test results should reflect that. If you aren't intoxicated, but the breath test shows that you are, you might be able to challenge the accuracy of test results in court at a later time.

Being falsely accused of drunk driving is not the end of the world. You will have the right to defend yourself against the charges in court; and, if you're innocent of the charges, the prosecution should not be able to convict you of a crime you didn't commit.

What are the most common gun crimes?

Wisconsin is home to numerous weapons laws that every resident and visitor of the state must adhere to. For example, did you know that those who have been convicted of a felony may not possess a firearm? These and other restrictions could apply to you and your use of a firearm -- and you might not even know it. Therefore, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various weapons crimes in Wisconsin so you can be sure to follow the law and avoid getting into legal trouble unnecessarily.

Here are some of the most common gun crimes the criminal court sees on a regular basis:

How do police officers determine drugged driving?

There are tests that police use in the field to determine if a driver is operating his or her vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol. The king of these tests is the Breathalyzer testm which provides a way to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver's blood. Police can also use gaze tests, smell your breath and have you perform other field sobriety tests to gauge how intoxicated you are.

When it comes to drugged driving, however, police don't have such a clear way to determine if you have drugs in your system. For example, marijuana can be found in your bloodstream and urine for as many as four or five weeks following the use of the drug, but police can't use such tests to determine if you're high on marijuana right now. As for cocaine, it will stay in your system for one or two days. Again, you might have evidence of these drugs in your system but not be intoxicated at all.

Drunk driving scenarios

Wisconsin drunk driving lawyers are not miracle workers, but they can assist you in navigating your criminal charges. In some cases, when your criminal defense counsel can identify holes in the prosecution's case, they may be able to get your charges dropped or dismissed. In other cases, your lawyer might be able to reach a plea deal in order to get your punishments reduced.

The criminal, career, social and financial consequences of an operating while intoxicated (OWI) conviction are serious. Nevertheless, 3.1 percent of Wisconsin drivers still admit to driving after having too much to drink. As a warning to all drivers, let's look at a few possible scenarios that drunk driving defendants commonly face:

  • First-time offenders with OWI charges: A first-time OWI charge is usually a non-criminal offense, which doesn't result in jail time. Those convicted of this crime will usually face a large fine, a nine-month maximum license suspension, a 12-month maximum ignition interlock device (IID), an alcohol assessment exam, and at least six points on their drivers' licenses. Additional penalties unrelated to the criminal aspects of this conviction could include an increase in insurance premiums and professional consequences. Incidentally, if your OWI charge was also connected to injuries, you might have to spend 30 days in jail.
  • Second offense OWI charges: These charges are much more serious. A conviction could result in up to $2,000 in fines, six months in jail, eight months of license revocation and a required IID.
  • Fourth and subsequent OWI charges: These charges are the severest and could be treated as felonies and result in lengthened jail time if a conviction occurs.

Was your breathalyzer test properly administered?

If you recently received DUI charges, it can feel as though you have no way to fight them. The truth is that there is usually something a very creative person can find to build some sort of defense. While there is no guarantee that the defense succeeds in preventing a conviction, it is always better to build some sort of defense against any kind of criminal charge.

Without a legal defense of some kind, the prosecutor handling your case has nothing to prevent them from throwing the book at you and using you as an example to other alleged offenders. Even if the officer who arrested you administered a breathalyzer test and it indicated that you were over the limit, you may still have more options than you think you do.

Surgeons want you to take fewer opioids

A conglomerate of University of Michigan surgeons want you to take fewer opioids after your surgery. The surgeons believe that any opportunity to prevent someone from coming to contact with an opioid is an opportunity to prevent a potential addiction.

Approximately 64,000 people died from opioid abuse in 2016, prompting the White House to classify the widespread opioid problem as a "public health emergency." As a potential remedy to this emergency, surgeons believe they can improve the problem by not giving patients as many opioid pills after their surgeries -- as this is when most people get introduced to the drug as a painkiller that leads to numerous addictions.

The very real dangers of fentanyl

Nobody knew about fentanyl until fairly recently, but now this extremely potent synthetic opioid -- which is 10 times stronger than heroin -- can be found on the news nearly every day in the United States. This drug has been responsible for numerous overdose deaths every year in Wisconsin. The death beloved pop star Prince was even blamed on this potent narcotic.

Fentanyl was created by doctors as a strong painkiller. Its effects aren't that different from heroin, however, so it eventually found its way into the hands of black market dealers who find the drug easy to transport and distribute due to its potent nature. You don't need very much fentanyl to give the same level of effect that you receive from heroin, so heroin is also getting spiked with fentanyl to save drug dealers money and churn more profit.

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