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Drunk driving penalties increased in Wisconsin at New Year

 Posted on January 27, 2017 in DUI/OWI

Drunk driving charges are unquestionably serious and carry serious penalties. The beginning of the New Year brought increased penalties for drunk driving in Wisconsin. Increased penalties for repeat drunk driving went into effect in Wisconsin with the New Year. Wisconsin is the only state, however, that treats a first drunk driving offense as a civil violation which the new law did not change. Under the new law, a fourth drunk driving offense will be considered a felony offense and can be punished by up to 6 years in prison.

In addition, the new law increases the maximum sentence for a fifth and sixth drunk driving offense from 3 years to 5 years; increases the maximum sentence for a seventh, eighth or ninth drunk driving offense from 5 years to 7 years and 6 months; and increases the maximum sentence for a tenth or additional drunk driving offense from 7 years and 6 months in prison to a decade behind bars.

Some advocates for harsher drunk driving laws in Wisconsin want to see further penalties associated with ignition interlock devices. Drunk driving accusations and charges can have a meaningful and negative impact on the life of the party facing them. There are a variety of potentially harsh penalties and negative consequences associated with drunk driving charges. As is always true of drunk driving charges or other criminal charges, the accused individual has the right to a criminal defense.

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Three Wisconsin men receive commutation for drug charges

 Posted on January 27, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Facing drug charges can be a difficult time for a defendant. However, enduring the consequences of a drug crime conviction can be life-altering. On top of the penalties associated with the crime, such as prison time and fines, the accused endures personal and professional hardships while they are in prison and once they are released. Therefore, even if an individual in Wisconsin is convicted of a drug crime and is serving time, it is important to note that there are criminal defense options even after a conviction.

In the week prior to his departure from office, former President Obama issued more than 500 sentence commutations. Of those, five were issued to people convicted of drug crimes in the Western District of Wisconsin. Three of the men were charged with cocaine distribution, and for these drug distribution charges the men were originally sentenced to 20 or more years.

All three men had their sentences reduced to 11, 13 and a half and 12 years. None of these men were immediately released and all of their sentences would expire on January 17, 2019. Once released, all of the men would have to enroll in a residential drug treatment program.

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Wisconsin imposes higher drunk driving penalties

 Posted on January 25, 2017 in DUI/OWI

The New Year has brought a new crackdown on drunk driving in Wisconsin. Beginning Jan. 1, repeat drunk driving offenders face stronger penalties which include more jail time.

Under the new law, a fourth DUI offense is classified as a felony which may be punished by up to six years' imprisonment regardless of when the offense is committed. Previously, a fourth offense was a felony only when it was committed within five years of the third offense.

Criminal sentences for the fifth and sixth offenses are also raised from three to five years. Convictions for the seventh, eighth and ninth offenses will be increased from five years to seven years and six months. A tenth or subsequent offense may be punished by imprisonment for up to a decade. This an increase from seven years and six months.

The new law closes some loopholes in the state law. Wisconsin still will continue to be the only state that does not classify the first drunk driving offense as a crime and treat it as civil violation. Offenders can lose their vehicle operator's license for a first offense but cannot be incarcerated. They can also have occupational licenses allowing travel to specified destinations at certain times.

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Suppressing evidence collected during a field sobriety test

 Posted on January 18, 2017 in DUI/OWI

For most motorists in Wisconsin, being stopped by a police officer is both a serious and unnerving event. While traffic violations are considered minor, most drivers hate receiving a citation. The same goes for a drunk driving charge. Being accused of drunk driving is more than just a traffic offense. This criminal charge could carry with it serious penalties, as well as personal and professional consequences. Motorists facing a DUI charge will usually need to consider the criminal defense options available to them.

One defense option is to suppress the evidence used against them. When a police officer believes that a driver is under the influence, that officer will seek to gather further evidence to have probable cause to arrest the driver for drunk driving. This is often accomplished through field sobriety tests.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test, which is endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, consists of three tests. The first is the horizontal gaze nystagmus. This refers to the involuntary jerking of the eye when it looks to the side. However, this jerking is exaggerated when an individual is impaired by alcohol. The second test is the walk and turn. This tests a driver's ability to complete tasks with divided attention. The final test is the one-leg stand, which tests the suspect's sway, using arms to balance, hopping and placing a foot down while completing this test.

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Who is the drug diversion program in Wisconsin available to?

 Posted on January 13, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Being accused of a drug crime can be very detrimental for residents in Wisconsin. Whether an individuals has a clean record or not, it is likely that even the allegations of a drug crime with tarnish a person's personal and professional reputation. Thus, it is important to consider not only defense opportunities but also alternatives to jail and prison sentences.

Who is the drug diversion program in Wisconsin available to? The Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program or TAD is a collaborative effort to provide non-violent offenders with multidisciplinary assessments, substance abuse treatment, monitoring, drug testing, supportive and educational services and case management.

In addition to helping offenders reduce their sentences or avoid incarceration, the TAD program has impacted the state of Wisconsin in several ways. First, it has enhanced substance abuse treatment, case management and monitoring of offenders in the state. It has encouraged collaboration between the courts, law enforcement, the department of corrections, treatment providers and community service providers. Lastly, it has created the ability to identify and screen offenders earlier, allowing for increased opportunities to participate in diversion programs.

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3 facts you need to know about a first offense OWI

 Posted on January 10, 2017 in DUI/OWI

You were driving home after a particularly fun night home when you went out of your lane slightly. In this instance, an officer saw you swerve back into your lane and pulled you over. He asked you to take a breath test, and now you've been arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI).

What is this OWI going to do to you? How will it affect your future? Here are three things to know if you have been arrested for a first offense OWI.

There are administrative penalties

One of the first things you're going to realize after a OWI arrest is that there are administrative penalties in addition to criminal penalties such as fines, probation and the loss of your driving privileges The most serious administrative penalty is losing your license for a year on a first offense if you refused the breath test. Sometimes, you can have the suspension limited, particularly if you need to drive to get to work or school. When it's time to reinstate your license, remember that you have to obtain insurance, and it may increase in price because you received an OWI.

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Helping you assert a strong defense against a drug charge

 Posted on January 06, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Being accused of a drug crime is not something to take lightly. Such an accusation could tarnish an individual's reputation, making it difficult to maintain personal and professional relations in his or her community. Therefore, it is crucial that defendants take steps to protect their rights by developing a strong criminal defense.

At Bucher Law Group, LLC, our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping criminal defendants in the Delafield area invoke their rights and initiate a defense against criminal allegations. Facing drug charges often means harsh penalties such as prison time and hefty fines; therefore, our law firm is prepared to aggressively defend our clients.

Whether you were charged with possession, intent to distribute or drug trafficking, our skilled staff ensures our clients fully understand the charges against them, the applicable laws, the potential consequences and the possible defense routes available. In order to meet the goals of the client and develop a successful defense strategy, it is important that our clients are well informed and on top of their case.

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Will Wisconsin ever alter its stance toward marijuana?

 Posted on December 16, 2016 in Criminal Defense

This past election saw marijuana legalization efforts continue to make significant inroads across the U.S. Indeed, voters in Massachusetts, Nevada, California and Maine opted to legalize the drug for recreational purposes, while voters in North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida opted to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

Given that well over half of the states now permit marijuana to be used for either purpose, questions have naturally arisen as to whether Wisconsin will ever follow suit.

While there is one legally recognized exception for patients with seizure disorders, allowing them to possess the non-hallucinogenic chemical cannabidiol, the state has otherwise adopted a rather draconian stance toward marijuana.

Indeed, state law currently classifies it as a schedule I drug, much like the federal government, meaning it is viewed as having a high probability of addiction or abuse, and no recognized medical purpose.

What makes this classification significant is that since schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous, convictions for crimes associated with their manufacture, sale or possession carry the most severe penalties.

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Why misdemeanor battery charges must be taken seriously

 Posted on December 09, 2016 in Criminal Defense

It's a scenario that plays out all too often at bars, nightclubs and parties, one person is somehow offended at the actions of another, words are exchanged and the situation rapidly devolves into a physical altercation, leaving one, or both, parties with minor injuries.

While people might be tempted to dismiss these incidents as simply "boys being boys" or blame it on excessive alcohol consumption, the reality is that the law in Wisconsin takes a dim view of this conduct and expressly dictates that those who engage in it may be charged with misdemeanor battery.

What is misdemeanor battery?

State law defines misdemeanor battery as any action undertaken with the intent to cause bodily harm to another person or absent the consent of the person who suffered the bodily harm. As for bodily harm, this is defined as including any "physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition."

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The basics of a disorderly conduct charge

 Posted on November 30, 2016 in Criminal Defense

In general, all states have laws on the books that address public peace and safety. These statutes, typically known as disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace laws are in place to regulate behavior that a reasonable person would consider to be disruptive or excessively offensive.

Many people who have been charged with disorderly conduct think that it is unfair. Very often, it depends on whether or not you have annoyed a police office. Since disturbing the peace can be difficult to prove and the laws tend to be vague, you should seek the advice of legal counsel with experience in Wisconsin criminal defense procedures.

What is considered disorderly conduct?

In nearly every state, disorderly conduct is described as any conduct that disturbs the peace or endangers the morals, health, or safety of a community. This includes the use of vulgar or obscene language in a public place, loitering, inciting a riot, and even harassing passengers on public transportation.

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