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Bucher Law Group, LLC

WI defense lawyerTreating minors as adults in criminal court is often a controversial subject. Some feel that older teenagers who commit adult crimes should be tried as adults. Others feel that juveniles lack the maturity to comprehend the consequences of their lawbreaking and belong in a judicial program designed to address their needs. No matter where you stand on the topic, if your minor child has been arrested in Wisconsin, there is a very real risk that they could be charged - and sentenced - as an adult.

While juvenile offenders who stay in juvenile court enjoy a number of benefits even if they are convicted, those whose cases are sent to adult court risk facing much harsher penalties for the same crime. If your child is in legal trouble, you will need to take steps immediately to protect their future possibilities. Securing strong legal representation is a critical measure.

What if My 17-Year-Old Gets Arrested?

Wisconsin has a harsh and unyielding rule about offenders who are 17 years old - they are charged as adults. Your 17-year-old is probably still in high school. It may seem absurd to you that their case is being handled as if they were a full-grown adult, but this is the rule in Wisconsin and nine other states.

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WI defense lawyerSome traffic tickets are quite minor affairs. Perhaps your headlight went out and you got a “fix-it” ticket, or you were simply speeding just slightly. These situations can often be resolved without the assistance of an attorney, especially if you have no or very few previous moving violations. Some traffic offenses, however, are much more serious. Certain vehicular crimes can lead to the loss of your driving privileges or even jail time. If you have been charged with one of these offenses, it is important that you take it very seriously and immediately contact a qualified traffic offenses defense lawyer. Much more than a fine or some points on your license could be at stake.

When Should I Call a Lawyer After Being Charged With a Traffic Offense?

A traffic ticket probably will not have much of an impact on your life in the long run. Things like speeding or not wearing a seatbelt are considered violations rather than true crimes. However, a misdemeanor or felony charge for something that happened in traffic can have a devastating impact on your life. You may want to consult a defense attorney if you are charged with:

  • Reckless driving - A reckless driving charge can apply to a wide variety of dangerous actions behind the wheel, but quite often is charged when a driver’s speed is so excessive that a traffic ticket does not adequately account for the danger he created.
  • DUI - Even a first DUI can lead to jail time in Wisconsin. The penalties and likelihood of actually serving time behind bars increase exponentially with each successive DUI. You will not pay a fine and move on like you could with a ticket.
  • Repeated tickets - If you get handed your twelfth traffic citation for minor violations within a five-year period, you are at risk of being declared a Habitual Traffic Offender. This can lead to your driver’s license being suspended for five years. Not being able to drive could have a serious impact on your life, especially if you need to commute to work or school or live in an area with poor public transportation. You will need a strong legal defense.
  • Repeated offenses - If you have traffic offenses more serious than a violation on your record and get charged with another, you will need to tread very carefully. After a fourth major traffic offense such as reckless driving, you could be deemed a Habitual Traffic Offender and face a loss of driving privileges.

If you are facing one of these serious traffic offense issues, you will need to handle the situation carefully. Serious consequences can result if you do not appropriately address the charge.

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WI criminal lawyerFelonies are more serious crimes that can result in a prison sentence of more than one year. Drug crimes are the most common reason that non-violent offenders are incarcerated across the country. However, not all drug crimes are felonies. Simple possession of certain narcotics, especially as a first offense, may be charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. However, it is possible to be charged with and convicted of a drug felony even if you have no prior criminal record. If you are facing felony drug charges, an attorney may sometimes be able to make a strong argument for having your charges reduced to misdemeanors.

Which Drug Offenses Are Misdemeanors?

Misdemeanor drug offenses usually involve the possession of a small amount of an illegal narcotic for personal use rather than any kind of sales or manufacturing operation. Drug-related misdemeanors include:

  • Paraphernalia - If you are caught with a device used to consume drugs, such as a marijuana pipe or a needle used for heroin injection, you could be charged with a misdemeanor even if you did not have any of the narcotic on you at the time.
  • Simple possession - If you only had a small quantity of most illegal drugs, such as cocaine, psilocybin, or methamphetamine, you will likely face misdemeanor charges for your first offense. This offense is punishable by up to one year in jail or a $5,000 fine, so it is not to be taken lightly.
  • Cannabis - If the substance in question is cannabis, the situation is somewhat less serious. Possessing a small amount of cannabis for your own consumption is a misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000.

Which Drug Offenses Are Felonies?

Drug felonies are very serious charges that can affect the rest of your life. Being a felon can seriously limit the opportunities you will have going forward. Drug-related felonies in Wisconsin include:

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Racine County Child Pornography Defense LawyerSmartphones have changed almost every aspect of our lives. Taking a quick picture and sending it to a friend or romantic partner is easier than ever. However, when the picture is sexually explicit and the subject of the picture is underage, the person who took the picture may face criminal charges. So-called “sexting” may seem like harmless fun to teens, however, sexting can lead to charges for sexual exploitation of a child or child pornography.

Teenagers Can Face Criminal Charges for Nude Photographs

In Wisconsin, it is against the law to create, possess, or distribute sexually explicit pictures of anyone under 18 years old. Many people misunderstand the law about sharing nude photographs. They assume that it is only illegal if one party is an adult, and the other party is a child. However, Wisconsin’s laws prohibiting sexual exploitation of a child apply to both adults and minors. It is illegal for someone 18 years old or older to take or send nude pictures of an underage person. But it is also illegal for an underage person to take a nude selfie of himself or herself and send it to another person. Parents who allow children to take or distribute nude photographs may also face criminal charges.

Some states have “Romeo and Juliet” exemptions to the law that reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for consensual sexual activity between teenagers who are close in age. However, Wisconsin does not have this type of exemption. Teens who send nude selfies of each other can face charges under sexual exploitation of a child and child pornography.

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Jefferson County Criminal Defense AttorneyWisconsin law requires individuals involved in a serious car accident to stop and exchange contact information. However, some drivers flee the scene. Whether due to the shock of experiencing a traumatic car crash or in an effort to avoid criminal charges, leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Individuals charged with committing a hit and run can face fines up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. However, if great bodily harm resulted from the crash, the offender may face felony charges and up to 15 years’ imprisonment. The consequences of a hit and run can be life-altering, so securing strong legal representation is crucial.

Defending Against Hit and Run Charges in Waukesha County

The first step in defending yourself against hit and run charges is hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will evaluate the circumstances of the alleged offense and get details about how and when the accident occurred. Evidence including traffic cameras, dash cameras, forensic evidence at the crash scene, and vehicle damage can help the attorney piece together what happened. Witness statements can also be useful evidence; however, eyewitness accounts are not always reliable. Your attorney will ensure that any evidence is obtained and preserved properly.

Next, the attorney will evaluate the prosecution’s case against you. He or she will identify inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s claims. To convict someone of hit and run, the prosecution must prove the charges “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Casting doubt on the defendant’s guilt may help the defendant avoid conviction.

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