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Waukesha, WI criminal defense attorney

If you have ever had the experience of being a defendant in the criminal justice system, you know that there is a lot of uncertainty involved in the process of being arrested and charged with a crime. Every criminal case is unique because every situation is different, but they do typically follow a similar pattern. Once you are charged with a crime, your attorney will begin to work out a defense strategy for you, which may include a plea bargain or it may include proceeding to trial. Once your case has come to a decision, the judge will then determine the sentence for your crime. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, you could be at risk for a harsher sentence.

Aggravating Factors in Wisconsin

Once you have reached the sentencing stage of your case, the judge will review your case in its entirety and determine if aggravating factors are present that would warrant additional penalties. Various aggravating factors could apply to any crime in Wisconsin, but there are also aggravating factors that are specific to a certain offense only. For example, if the defendant attempted to conceal his or her identity while committing the act, this could be applied to most crimes. However, something like knowing you are HIV positive would only be an aggravating factor if you were being tried for a sex crime.

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Waukesha County criminal defense attorney OWI

Nobody ever plans to get pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving, but it happens more often than you may think. There were nearly 29,000 people arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in Wisconsin in 2015, according to the Department of Transportation (DoT). If you are arrested for OWI, chances are you will also be convicted as the DoT also stated that the drivers in 93 percent of the OWI cases that were charged were found guilty. If you are convicted of even a first-time OWI offense in Wisconsin, you could have your driver’s license suspended or revoked for six to nine months, making your life more difficult. Fortunately, you may be able to apply for an occupational license, which would alleviate some of the hardship.

Obtaining an Occupational License

The first question that is often on a person’s mind after being charged with OWI is, “Am I still able to drive?” The answer to that question usually depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. In Wisconsin, an occupational license can be requested to allow you to drive to and from work or school. To be eligible for an occupational license, you must have had a valid license prior to its suspension or revocation. You will not be eligible for an occupational license if you have two or more revocation or suspension cases from separate incidents in a one-year period or if you have not served all mandatory waiting periods before applying for the occupational license.

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Oconomowoc criminal defense attorney OWI with injury or death

One of the leading causes of death in the nation continues to be motor vehicle accidents. According to the latest data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 36,500 people who died in traffic accidents in the United States in 2018. Of those individuals, more than 10,500, or 29 percent, were killed because of an alcohol-related traffic accident. In Wisconsin, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance is illegal and can lead to serious consequences. However, if the injury or death of another person were to result from an OWI charge, you could face even more serious penalties.

Punishments for Injury or Death With OWI

Wisconsin is the last state to punish first-time OWI offenders with a criminal charge, rather than simply a moving violation. Currently, a first-time OWI in Wisconsin can land you a fine of $150 to $300 and a six- to nine-month driver’s license revocation. However, if you cause bodily harm or injury to another person while you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated, even during a first-time offense, you could face $300 to $2,000 in fines, up to one year in prison, and up to a two-year driver’s license revocation. If you have had prior OWI convictions and/or chemical test refusals, you will face stricter penalties. This can be charged as a Class H felony, which carries a possible six-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines.

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Waukesha, WI criminal defense attorney weapons charges

When our government was created, the Founding Fathers’ intention was to limit the amount of power that any one person or group of people could have, which is why there are certain things that the federal government does not regulate, such as licensing drivers or certain aspects of gun ownership. While there are federal gun laws that citizens of all states must abide by, each state is also responsible for creating and enforcing its own firearm regulations. The state of Wisconsin tends to be more of a firearm-friendly state and has somewhat less strict laws than other states. However, violating firearm possession laws can lead to serious consequences if you find yourself facing criminal charges.

Open Carry Laws and Limitations

All states are different when it comes to carrying firearms in public. Some states may require you to obtain a permit simply just to purchase and/or carry your firearm. Like other states, Wisconsin is an open carry state, meaning anyone who is over the age of 18 and is legally permitted to possess a firearm can carry one in public as long as it is not concealed. There are limitations to that rule, however. You are prohibited from openly carrying a firearm in the following places in Wisconsin:

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Oconomowoc criminal defense attorney OWI with a minor passenger

The state of Wisconsin is one of the few states that still treat the first-time charge for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) as a moving violation rather than a crime. However, circumstances significantly change if a person has a minor who is under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time the OWI is committed. In the past couple of years, Wisconsin lawmakers have made changes to some of the state’s drunk driving laws, with updated penalties for minor passengers being one of them. In many cases, offenders could see their criminal penalties as much as double if they were driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle.

First and Second OWI With No Prior Offense

For a typical first or second OWI charge with no prior OWI charges in the preceding 10 years, an offender typically would face up to a $300 fine, up to a nine-month license suspension, and no jail time. However, if a minor was in the vehicle when the offense was committed, he or she could face between $350 and $1,100 in fines, a 12-18-month license suspension, and up to six months in jail.

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