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WI defense lawyerIf you have been charged with any type of sex offense, your situation is incredibly serious. Having a sex offense on your record will impact almost every area of your life. Being on the sex offender registry closes a lot of doors. Opportunities that otherwise would have been available to you can disappear. Your reputation can be destroyed very quickly. You are also likely facing prison time - judges typically do not go easy on those being sentenced for sex crimes. Even after any judicial consequences are over with, being a sex offender can permanently alter the course of your life. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to find an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are steps a lawyer can take to help you.

How Can Becoming a Sex Offender Affect My Life?

There are a lot of legal requirements that sex offenders have to abide by. There are also a lot of collateral consequences from a social perspective. Some ways that becoming a sex offender may affect you include:

  • Housing - Unless you can buy a house, it can be extremely difficult for a sex offender to find housing. Most landlords and property management companies will not even consider an application from a sex offender. The housing available to sex offenders is generally not desirable. You may also be required to live a certain distance from schools, playgrounds, and other areas where children tend to congregate.
  • Career - If you work in any type of career that involves professional licensing - like teaching, nursing, or social work - you are likely going to lose your license. You are likely to be fired from your current job. Finding a desirable job can be very difficult for sex offenders.
  • Publicity - The sex offender registry is public. Your name, address, photo, offense, and more will always be available to anyone who cares to check it - and a lot of people do keep an eye out to see whether any sex offenders are living near them. Do not expect a warm welcome when you move to a new location.
  • Social relationships - Most people who have had to register as sex offenders have experienced the loss of personal and social relationships. Not many people are willing to stand by a friend or even romantic partner who gets convicted of a serious sex offense. It can be difficult to form new social relationships, as many people do not want to be associated with a sex offender.

These are just a few of the problems people on the sex offender registry face. It is important to work with a skilled lawyer when you are facing this type of accusation.

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WI defense lawyerWhen operating a car or any motor vehicle, you are in control of what can be a very dangerous object. While basic traffic violations are unlikely to harm others, driving recklessly can have deadly consequences for yourself and other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists on the road. If you strike and kill another person with a vehicle in Wisconsin, you can be charged with vehicular homicide.

Types of Vehicular Homicide and Penalties in Wisconsin

There are two different types of vehicular homicide charges in Wisconsin:

  • Homicide by Negligent Operation – A driver is charged with Homicide by Negligent Operation when they cause the death of an individual by their criminally negligent operation or handling of a vehicle. Criminal negligence means that a person should know that their action creates a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm to another individual. Homicide by Negligent Operation is a class G felony and can carry a penalty if convicted of up to 10 years in prison and a maximum of $25,000 in fines.
  • Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle – This charge is used when a driver kills another person while driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Intoxicated means a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or has a detectable amount of a controlled substance in their blood. The penalties for Homicide by Intoxicated Operation are even more severe. It is usually a class D felony, and a driver convicted of this charge can face up to 25 years in prison and a maximum of $100,000 in fines. If the driver has one or more prior DWI convictions or license suspensions, they could be charged with a Class C felony and face up to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Both charges result in the driver’s license being revoked for at least one year. If you were intoxicated, you must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle. . The penalties for convictions on either count can depend on the specific circumstances of the case, so it is essential that you hire a criminal defense attorney who knows Wisconsin DUI and criminal laws and can fight for your future.

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WI DUI lawyerWisconsin has what are called implied consent laws. By getting a driver’s license in our state, you implicitly agree to cooperate with chemical testing following a DUI test. This rule does not apply to field sobriety testing, however. Drivers are free to refuse to perform field sobriety testing, however, doing so may not protect you from getting arrested for DUI anyway. It is important to understand how refusing field sobriety testing and refusing chemical testing could impact your case and your driver’s license. If you were arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is important to find an experienced attorney who handles this type of case.

What Happens if I Refuse to Perform Field Sobriety Tests?

You should know that you are not legally obligated to perform field sobriety tests. In some cases, refusing field sobriety testing can actually help your case. Field sobriety tests are essentially an effort by police to gather evidence against you. By performing the tests, you could inadvertently incriminate yourself should you appear intoxicated during them.

However, you should be aware that you could still get arrested on suspicion of DUI. The police officers could use other types of evidence to establish probable cause to take you into custody. Things like the smell of alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, or bad driving could give the police probable cause. However, without field sobriety tests suggesting intoxication, the state will have less evidence to go on.

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WI defense lawyerWe all know that driving while intoxicated is illegal. However, DUI is not the only traffic offense for which you could be arrested or even sentenced to additional jail time. Wisconsin takes the rules of the road fairly seriously. Even getting too many regular traffic tickets can ultimately lead to criminal charges or a revoked license. If your traffic stop led to more than just a ticket you can pay and forget about, you should strongly consider working with an attorney. These more serious traffic offenses can leave you with a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life or even result in jail time.

Which Traffic Offenses Are Treated as Crimes?

Mild speeding or failing to stop completely at a stop sign is likely to get you ticketed and released. The ticket becomes part of your driving record, but you are unlikely to end up in jail or get stuck with a criminal record - unless you keep doing it repeatedly. However, these traffic offenses are considered criminal offenses:

  • Hit-and-run - After a car accident - however minor - you are legally obligated to stop and exchange information at the least. In all but very minor accidents, you are also legally required to remain on the scene and wait for the police to take a report. Fleeing the scene after an accident can lead to hit-and-run charges.
  • Suspended license - If you knew your license was suspended and drove anyway, you can be criminally charged. Revoked licenses are usually revoked because the state had safety concerns about a driver.
  • Unauthorized borrowing - Even if you were not actually trying to steal a vehicle, it is still a criminal offense to drive a car without getting permission from its owner. You can be charged with this crime even if the car belonged to your family or household member.
  • Not pulling over - If a police officer is trying to pull you over and you do not stop, or clearly establish a plan to pull over at a safer point, you could be charged with fleeing or eluding.
  • Reckless driving - This catch-all charge encompasses any type of driving that reflects complete carelessness when it comes to safety, like excessive speeding or weaving in and out of traffic dangerously.

If you have been charged with any of these offenses, you should take it very seriously. Depending on the circumstances and the specific crime you are charged with, you could be at risk of being sent to jail.

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WI defense lawyerEveryone knows that driving drunk is illegal. However, there is some confusion about the legality of driving with alcoholic beverages in the car. Some of Wisconsin’s laws regarding open containers in vehicles are not so easy to interpret. Quite a few people end up getting a citation for an open container violation without even realizing that they were doing something wrong. While an open container citation is much less serious than an OWI, it can still be problematic to have on your record. A traffic attorney may be able to help if you have received this citation. In some cases, it may be better to contest the citation with a lawyer’s help than to simply pay the fine and move on.

What Does “Open Container” Mean?

The definition of an open container in Wisconsin is broader than you may realize. A container of alcohol is open if the seal is broken or the contents have been partially removed. Therefore, you cannot re-cork a wine bottle or replace the cap on a bottle of liquor and consider it closed. Alcohol in a flask is an open container as well.

Can Passengers Drink if the Driver is Not Drinking?

No. Passengers are not permitted to have an open container of alcohol in a personal vehicle either. Both the driver and the passenger can be cited for an open container violation, even if the driver had no idea that the passenger had brought alcohol into their car. Because this offense carries no jail time, it is considered a strict liability offense - meaning that if there was an open container and it was in your vehicle, you can be held responsible for it.

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