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Bucher Law Group, LLC
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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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WI injury lawyerGetting into a car accident can at the least, majorly disrupt your day. You are not going to get where you were going anytime soon, even if you had an important meeting or appointment. At the worst, a car accident can disrupt your entire life if you face criminal charges as a result. It might be tempting to get out of there rather than stick around and identify yourself when you have caused an accident, but doing so will only make things worse. Your safest bet is to comply with Wisconsin law regarding what you can and cannot do immediately after a car accident. Then, you need to call a lawyer as soon as possible.

If I Have Caused a Car Accident, What Do I Need to Do Next?

Right after an accident, you might be experiencing a flood of emotions, ranging from panic to guilt, especially if someone got hurt. It is important to remain calm and comply with the legal steps you are required to take. After a car accident, Wisconsin law requires you to:

  • Stay there - The most important thing is that you do not leave the scene. You must remain where you are until the police say otherwise. Fleeing the scene, with or without your vehicle can lead to hit-and-run charges. If the other driver is behaving aggressively or threatening you, you can get back in your car and lock the doors or duck into a nearby business and let the police know where you are. Otherwise, stay in clear view of the accident scene.
  • Identify yourself - You must provide your name, address, and registration to anyone else who was involved in the collision. If another driver or one of their passengers requests to see your driver’s license, you have to show it.
  • Find the owner - If you accidentally hit an unattended vehicle, which often happens in crowded parking lots, or another piece of property like a fence or mailbox, you need to take reasonable steps to locate the owner. Leaving a note with your contact information will generally suffice.
  • Help injured people - You do not need to jump in and become a first-aid expert, but you do need to call an ambulance if one is needed. The requirement is that you provide “reasonable assistance.”
  • Police report - You must report the accident to the police.

Call a Wisconsin Traffic Law Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime after causing a car accident, Bucher Law Group, LLC has the skills you need to minimize the impact of the situation. Our experienced Jefferson County traffic law lawyers can begin providing assistance immediately after the accident. Call 262-303-4916 for a free consultation.

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WI defense lawyerSimply put, statutory rape is any sexual activity between an adult 18 years old or older and a minor who is younger than 19 years old. The idea behind this sex offense is that minors are not capable of consenting to sexual activity, so adults should avoid engaging in it with them even if the minor does in fact give consent. That means that in order to get a conviction, the prosecution need not prove any type of force or coercion. Under Wisconsin state law, several distinct crimes fall under the umbrella of statutory rape. A conviction could leave you on the sex offenders’ list, so if you are facing any of these charges, it is very important that you do not wait to find an attorney.

What Offenses Are Considered Types of Statutory Rape?

In Wisconsin, statutory rape is the name given to several different offenses based on the respective ages of the offender and the minor involved. It might be called “Sexual Assault of a Child” or “Sexual Assault of a Minor,” even if there was no real assault involved and the minor agreed to the act. Categories of statutory rape in Wisconsin include:

  • Sexual Assault of a Child in the First Degree - This might be referred to as “child molestation” in more informal settings. It is a Class B Felony that occurs when an adult has sexual contact with a minor who is under 13 years old. It is the most serious offense that falls under the umbrella of statutory rape.
  • Sexual Assault of a Child in the Second Degree - This is a Class C Felony defined as sexual contact between an adult and a minor who is under 16 years old, but at least 13. Elements of coercion are typically assumed in these cases.
  • Misdemeanor Sexual Assault of a Minor in the First Degree - This is the only form of statutory rape that is not a felony - but it is still serious, and you could still become a sex offender. This offense is when an adult has sexual contact with a minor who was at least 16 years old.

What if I Was Close to the Victim’s Age?

In Wisconsin, there is no “Romeo and Juliet” defense. If you are 18 years old, you could be prosecuted for having sexual contact with anyone who is 17 years old or younger. The only exception is if you are legally married to the alleged victim - spouses need not fear prosecution for having consensual sex.

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