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Bucher Law Group, LLC
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WI defense lawyerAlmost any crime that ultimately causes a death falls under the umbrella of homicide. However, Wisconsin has long recognized that there are different degrees or types of unlawful killings. Some forms are considered much more serious than others and result in much harsher sentencing. Which specific homicide offense you are charged with depends on a number of factors, including the specific facts of your case, whether you were committing another crime, and whether the killing was intentional.

If you have been charged with any type of homicide, you could be looking at a very long term of imprisonment. It is critical that you trust your defense to an experienced, knowledgeable, criminal defense attorney.

Homicide Offenses in Wisconsin Explained

Wisconsin state law recognizes numerous different types and degrees of homicide offenses. They include:

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WI defense lawyerReckless driving can be taken quite seriously in Wisconsin. Those who are used to driving to and from work or school every day can easily forget how dangerous their vehicles can be when not operated with care. While more minor, less risky, traffic offenses like speeding just a little or making a “rolling stop” will typically lead to just a ticket, more serious, reckless, behaviors could get you arrested. In Wisconsin, a first conviction for reckless driving without aggravating circumstances will most likely lead to fines, but a repeat conviction is a misdemeanor that carries jail time. If you are facing a reckless driving charge, an attorney may be able to help.

What Kinds of Actions Behind the Wheel are Considered Reckless Driving?

In its most basic form, Wisconsin’s reckless driving statute simply defines reckless driving as endangering a person or property by negligently operating a vehicle. For the purposes of the reckless driving law, your driving could be deemed negligent if you knew or really should have known that what you were doing was substantially dangerous. There is no specific list of driving behaviors that meet the definition, but the following actions are generally considered to meet the definition:

  • Excessive speeding - Going just a few miles per hour over the limit in good conditions will generally not count. However, if you are going way over the speed limit or driving much too fast for the weather conditions to the point where it is likely that you would cause an accident, speeding may amount to reckless driving.
  • Street racing - Street racing creates a substantial risk of injury to participants, passengers, spectators, and anyone who happens to get too close to the “racecourse.” Because drivers who are racing really should know how unsafe this is, racing commonly results in a reckless driving charge.
  • Road rage - Road rage incidents can result in a reckless driving charge. Aggressively cutting in front of someone, trying to run another driver off the road, refusing to merge cooperatively, or purposely blocking the flow of traffic can all be considered forms of reckless driving.
  • Ignoring signs - Blowing through an intersection without stopping despite seeing a stop sign or red light can be considered reckless, even if you leaned on your horn to warn others what you are about to do. Brake failure is just about the only excuse for this.

The types of driving behaviors that can lead to a reckless driving charge are not limited to those listed above. The statute is intentionally left vague enough to encompass a wide range of actions that create substantial danger. As these cases are largely evaluated on a case-by-case basis, an attorney may be able to argue that what you did was not genuinely reckless.

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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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