2015 Wisconsin Legislative Updates – 2 Issues Important to Know

2015 Legislative Updates

The Wisconsin Legislature, during its final session of 2015, was extremely busy. It is virtually impossible to summarize all of the legislative enactments dealt with during that session. However, there were 2 issues that I believe are important to you, our client.

The first topic concerns Wisconsin Act 45, which deals with monitoring another individual by utilizing a GPS, an act that was commonly practiced by many individuals, and especially by many parties involved in contentious divorce cases, but which now constitutes a criminal act. Sec. 940.315 Wis. Stats. has been created to prohibit an individual from placing a GPS device, or a device equipped with global positioning technology, on a vehicle owned or leased by another person without that person's consent. While this is certainly an act that most parties would not consider, this act was certainly not uncommon in many cases - particularly divorce actions - where one party believed the other party was committing adultery and wanted to utilize information to prove any such action. Effective July 3, 2015, this action is now deemed a Class A Misdemeanor under Wisconsin statute. In addition, it is also a misdemeanor to obtain information regarding another person's movement or location as generated by a GPS device. There are exceptions but, for the most part, it is now a criminal act to place a GPS device on another person's vehicle without that person's knowledge or consent. Surprisingly, the Act restricts the action to a vehicle, which does exempt the use at other locations.

This firm does not recommend the utilization of a GPS device without the other person's consent at any time.

Further, a concept previously referred to as "up skirting" has now been criminalized. "Up Skirting" involves taking a photograph or image with whatever device under the clothing of another individual. Generally, this would involve utilizing a cell phone to take a photograph under a skirt or similar attire of a female. Usually, such images are downloaded to the internet, and it had been very difficult for prosecutors to deal with and generally resulted in charges of Disorderly Conduct. Wisconsin Act 80 and Sec. 942.08(3) Wis. Stats. has been created to make it a Class I felony to knowingly install or utilize any device, instrument, mechanism or contrivance to intentionally broadcast or record under the outer clothing of an individual, that individual's genitals, pubic area, breast or buttocks, including genitals, pubic area, breasts or buttocks that are covered by undergarments, or to intentionally view, broadcast or record a body part of an individual that is not otherwise visible, without that individual's consent. This is a very broad statute and encompasses not only "up skirting" that actually depicts areas of an individual's body parts, but now includes body parts covered by undergarments. If the images are posted to the internet and disseminated to other individuals, it would also likely result in computer crime prosecution and, possibly, child pornography. While this is not a common occurrence, this act is certainly something Bucher Law Group, LLC has dealt with in numerous cases, especially with adolescent males in high school who engage in this conduct against adolescent females in the high school setting. Unfortunately, these images are often publicized on social media, which cause significant problems for this individual in the school setting and the criminal justice system. It is now a Class I felony and could result in designation as a sex offender and be required to register as a sex offender, unless the conviction or delinquency adjudication is expunged.

Bucher Law Group, LLC is happy to assist you with any legal issue that brings or a family member into the criminal justice system. We are skilled in these areas of the law and able to assist in virtually every area of law.