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Bucher Law Group, LLC
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WI ticket lawyerNot being able to drive can make your life very difficult. If you drive yourself to work or your children to school every day, a suspended license could create serious problems. Even grocery shopping can become a significant hassle when you must rely on someone else to drive you. If you need your driving privileges, it is important for you to know about Wisconsin’s Habitual Traffic Offender Law. The gist of it is that too many traffic offenses will cause the state to revoke your driver’s license for a five-year period. If you tend to get a lot of traffic tickets, it may be worth reviewing your driving record to determine whether you are getting close to habitual offender status and take action if needed.

When Is a Driver Considered a Habitual Traffic Offender?

There are three ways for a driver to be declared a habitual offender for the purposes of this law. You could be considered a Habitual Traffic Offender if, within a five-year period, you get:

  • Twelve moving violations - This includes speeding, running lights, and failure to yield among others. Non-moving violations, like parking tickets and not realizing you had a tail light out, are not counted.
  • Four major violations - This refers to offenses that go beyond the level of a traffic ticket. Driving intoxicated, eluding an officer, reckless driving, and making a false statement to the DMV are all major violations.
  • Combination - Twelve or more moving or major violations combined will also lead to a revocation. For example, if you had 10 moving violations and two major violations, that counts.

Can I Get an Occupational License as a Habitual Offender?

For the first two years of your suspension, no. This means that there will be a two-year period where you have no driving privileges, not even for necessary reasons. You would need to find alternate transportation - which can be quite pricey if public transportation is not convenient in your area.

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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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