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Waukesha County Criminal Defense AttorneyIn 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Forensic Sciences reported the average time it took the state’s crime lab to process DNA evidence analysis was 94 days. Although this was a slight decrease from the prior year, it was still significantly longer than the 76 days it took in 2017. These types of delays can cause the wheels of justice to turn very slowly for a defendant, but how does it affect a defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial?

DNA Testing

Whenever police collect evidence that needs to be tested, that evidence is sent to one of the three state crimes labs. According to the lab’s Administrator for the Division of Forensic Sciences, almost all of the evidence their department receives are for felony charges. The process usually involves a “first-come-first-serve basis,” although there are situations where evidence may be able to get pushed to the front of the line, such as when there is a public safety threat or there is a jury trial scheduled.

Until the evidence for a case has been processed by the lab, the criminal justice process cannot proceed. Although a defendant can be charged with a crime, there can be no trial until the evidence testing results have been returned. This means that a pending charge can hang over a defendant’s head for months on end with no timely resolution.

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Waukesha County criminal defense lawyerEvery state in the country has an implied consent law. Basically, this law means that by accepting the privilege drive a vehicle, a licensed driver automatically consents to chemical or blood testing if a police officer has probable cause to believe that driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Wisconsin’s implied consent law goes a step further. The state’s implied consent law contains a provision that stipulates that an incapacitated driver is “presumed not to have withdrawn” their consent of testing, even if they are not conscious.

This provision meant that police could conduct blood testing on a driver who was totally unconscious and unaware of what the police were doing. However, this will no longer be the case as the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled that that provision is unconstitutional and violates the incapacitated driver’s Fourth Amendment protecting against unconstitutional search and seizure.

The Case

The unanimous decision was made by the justices in the case of State v. Prado. In December 2014, the defendant was severely injured in a car crash that killed the other driver. At the hospital, a police officer read the defendant, who was unconscious and intubated, the informing the accused script contained in the state’s implied consent law. Since she was unconscious, she did not answer the officer, however, because he thought he was within his rights under the law, he had a nurse obtain a blood sample without obtaining a warrant to do so first.

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wisconsin domestic violence defense lawyerOne of the most debilitating, malignant, yet elusive social issues that plagues the United States today is domestic abuse. This form of violence occurs more often than anyone would care to admit; the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reported that around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men reported experiencing physical violence, sexual violence and/or stalking in their lifetimes. Laws surrounding these crimes are now typically punished harshly and when possible, to the fullest extent of the law. In some cases, the officers may have no choice but to arrest the alleged suspect, due to the mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence situations.

How Domestic Arrests are Determined

Wisconsin law outlines a variety of situations in which arrests must be made after a domestic violence call has been made. If the police are called to the scene, they are required to make an arrest if they determine that a person is committing or has committed domestic abuse consistent with a crime against a family or household member, and one of the following is true:

  • The officer has reason to believe that such domestic abuse is likely to continue.

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Waukesha County criminal defense attorney for battery charges

Crimes of violence are taken rather seriously in the state of Wisconsin. Even crimes like battery, which is sometimes less serious than other violent crimes, are charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Being convicted of battery can be a serious crime, especially when it is charged as a felony. Not all battery crimes are charged as felonies. In general, battery is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with a potential sentence of up to nine months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. In many cases, battery crimes are charged as various felonies, which can vary in severity. 

“Bodily Harm” Versus “Great Bodily Harm”

One of the easiest ways your battery charge can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony is by the amount of damage that is inflicted upon the victim and the perpetrator’s intent. Wisconsin law states that a misdemeanor battery crime is characterized by a person causing “bodily harm.” However, if a person is found to have inflicted “substantial bodily harm,” the charge is elevated to a Class I felony with a potential sentence of up to 3.5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Likewise, a person can be charged with a Class H or Class E felony if they caused “great bodily harm” and they intended to cause some sort of harm. Class H felonies come with up to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, while Class E felonies come with up to 15 years in prison with up to $50,000 in fines.

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Oconomowoc criminal defense attorney community supervision

The attitude surrounding marijuana and its use in the United States has changed drastically in the past 50 years. In just the past four months, four different states have passed laws decriminalizing cannabis, allowing for the use and possession of marijuana without fear of penalty. Many lawmakers from a couple of other states -- including Wisconsin -- are also hopeful that they can pass similar laws in the coming months. However, for the time being, marijuana is still illegal to possess, sell or grow in Wisconsin. While the severity of possession charges has lessened in some Wisconsin cities recently, the sale of marijuana still remains highly illegal and can result in serious consequences.

Cannabis Possession and Consequences for Selling

In the state of Wisconsin, laws relating to marijuana are relatively strict. Many states across the country have at least legalized the medicinal use of marijuana, but marijuana still remains fully illegal in Wisconsin. Only cannabidiol (CBD) is legal for medicinal use with a doctor’s recommendation.

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