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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1220724925-min.jpgSeveral years ago, a California woman made national news when she was able to collect $150,000 in back child support almost 50 years after her ex-husband fled the country in order to avoid paying his court-ordered obligation. Since there is no statute of limitations on back child support, the case sent a message to deadbeat parents everywhere that eventually, the delinquency can catch up to them. If you are having trouble collecting child support, a Waukesha County family lawyer can help.

Time to Pay Up

According to the woman in the California case, when the couple broke up in the early 1970s, her ex-husband fled to Canada in order to get out of paying child support for their then 3-year-old daughter. He had been ordered to pay $160 a month until the child reached 21. The woman raised their daughter on her own, never receiving any financial help from the child’s father.

Fifty years later, the woman decided it was time to see if she could track down the father. She discovered he was back in the U.S. and living in Oregon. She took the original support order and headed to an attorney’s office. Decades ago, the amount owed to the woman totaled approximately $35,000, but with 10 percent accrued interest, the amount owed to her was close to $170,000. The woman’s attorney was able to negotiate a settlement for $150,000, which the court approved, and the woman finally received her long-overdue child support.

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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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Waukesha family law attorneysFrom the physical and mental health of both parents to the wishes of the children, family law judges look at a number of factors before making custody and visitation decisions. They may also consider a parent’s use of drugs or alcohol because frequent use of these substances can impact a parent’s ability to take care of a child. If you are trying to gain custody of your children, but have a history of substance abuse, you should enlist the help of a Wisconsin family lawyer.

How a Judge May Respond to Parental Substance Abuse

Judges do not take alcohol or drug abuse in custody battles lightly. Parents who abuse these substances often neglect to give their children what they need. They may also put their kids’ lives in danger. For example, if a parent is heavily drunk and forgets to turn off the stovetop, it can increase the risk of a fire in the house. Judges want to prevent these sorts of incidents from occurring, so they are weary about awarding custody to parents with substance abuse issues.

If a judge hears an allegation that a parent is abusing drugs or alcohol, he or she will fully investigate that claim. A judge will typically have the accused parent take a drug test. If illegal drugs are found in the parent’s system, the court may award custody to the other parent.

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Waukesha County family lawyerA Wisconsin divorce becomes even more stressful when there are children involved, especially if you and your spouse strongly disagree about what is best for them. The idea of losing custody of your children is devastating to even think about. Although navigating through a custody battle may not always be easy, you can take steps to increase your chances of a positive outcome.

Tips For Securing Custody of Your Children

In order to achieve the best possible result in your custody case, you must prove to the court that you are responsible and a good role model to your kids. Here are a few tips to help you maintain custody.

  • Make your children a top priority. Wisconsin courts prioritize a child’s best interests when making custody decisions. You should do everything you can to demonstrate your commitment as a parent. Always arrive on time for visits and be there to support your children.

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