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Recent Blog Posts

Can Police Force Phone Unlock with a Thumbprint Scan?

 Posted on July 19, 2024 in Criminal Defense

WI defense lawyerAccording to a recent federal ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the police can force a suspect to unlock his phone using a thumbprint scan. Although the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution protects people from incriminating themselves, this ruling means that the protections in the amendment do not extend to a locked cell phone. This is quite a significant ruling, particularly because it covers the forced use of biometrics, an area of the law that has not been settled until now. This ruling can have far-reaching impacts on the legal processes for defendants. If you think you might be suspected of a crime, speak with a skilled Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and protect your interests.

When Can You Be Forced to Unlock Your Phone?

The appeals court based its decision on two previous rulings by the Supreme Court that had similar implications. In one case, Doe v. United States in 1988, a defendant was forced by the government to sign a document that provided his consent to disclosing his bank records as they related to accounts that the government was already aware of. In this case, the court believed that the act of signing the document was not an act of incrimination, especially because the bank could have ultimately been forced to produce the records. The second case, United States v. Hubbell in 2000, involved a subpoena that forced a suspect to make records available and answer questions about them. This time, the Supreme Court ruled against the government.

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New Law: Repeat Offender Penalties for Multiple Counts

 Posted on July 12, 2024 in Criminal Defense

WI defense lawyerThose who commit criminal offenses will usually be held accountable, even if it takes a while. The American criminal justice system revolves around the premise that punishment for a crime will deter further crime. In theory, when that lesson is learned, the person turns away from committing more criminal acts, and society benefits. Criminal defense attorneys seeking justice for their clients also factor into this equation. The end goal for all is less criminal behavior, increased safety, and a happier society.

Since the societal goal is to prevent criminal offenders from reoffending, making penalties for a first offense equal to those for a third offense is not the direction we want to take. If you are charged in Wisconsin with a criminal sexual offense, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can decipher the new laws and explain your options. This new law could affect how your Jefferson County attorney approaches your defense.

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Should Cash Bail Constitutional Amendments Be Invalidated?

 Posted on July 08, 2024 in Criminal Defense

WI defense lawyerCriminal justice groups in Wisconsin argue that voter-approved cash bail constitutional amendments have procedural flaws that should invalidate the amendments. The case concerns whether the ballot questions sent to the legislature were sent to the correct election officials and whether deadlines were properly met. If these allegations are true, the amendments could be removed from the state constitution and possibly placed on a future ballot.

The First Amendment allows judges who are determining bail to consider past convictions for violent crimes when the new charges are also for a violent crime. The Second Amendment allows judges who are considering bail when releasing a defendant before trial to consider any risk to public safety, including prior criminal history. Those facing a bail hearing in the state with a prior conviction or criminal history may find their bail denied entirely or set so high it becomes unattainable.

While it is always advisable to have a Jefferson County criminal defense attorney at bail hearings, it is even more important now. These constitutional amendments make it considerably more difficult for those with a prior criminal history to obtain bail before trial. With the new challenges to the amendments, having one’s rights protected by a skilled attorney during bail issues is particularly relevant.

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Can I Reduce My Hit-and-Run Charge?

 Posted on June 26, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Walworth traffic violations attorneyIf you are facing a hit-and-run charge in Wisconsin, you might be wondering if there are ways to reduce the severity of your case. While every situation is unique, there are several strategies that may help mitigate the consequences of a hit-and-run charge. A Wisconsin lawyer can help with your options and provide insights into the legal process.

What Are the Hit-and-Run Laws in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Statute 346.67 outlines the duties of a driver involved in an accident. The law requires drivers to:

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible
  • Provide their name, address, and vehicle registration to other involved parties
  • Show their driver's license if requested
  • Offer reasonable help to any injured person

Not meeting these requirements can lead to hit-and-run charges, with severity dependent on the situation.

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False Criminal Abuse Allegations in Wisconsin

 Posted on June 20, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Milwaukee County criminal defense lawyerBeing wrongly accused of criminal misconduct, like physical assault or sexual abuse, can be a terrifying ordeal that can turn your life upside down. False allegations can result in arrest, criminal charges, incarceration, reputation damage, job loss, and more. If you are facing fabricated abuse accusations, you must act quickly to protect your rights and start building your defense. A Wisconsin lawyer can help you with strategies to combat false criminal abuse allegations.

Potential Defenses Against False Abuse Accusations

There are several defenses you can raise against false criminal abuse allegations in Wisconsin, depending on the facts of your case:

  • You have an alibi proving you could not have committed the alleged offense
  • There is insufficient evidence to support the accusations
  • Witness testimony, video footage, or other evidence contradicts the allegations

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I Just Got a Traffic Violation on My Boat: Now What?

 Posted on June 14, 2024 in DUI/OWI

Jefferson County traffic violation lawyerEnjoying a day out on the water can be a fantastic experience, but remember that boating comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Just like driving a car, operating a boat irresponsibly can lead to traffic violations and serious consequences. When you receive a boating traffic violation, a Wisconsin lawyer can help you understand your rights and the steps you should take next.

What to Know About Boating Traffic Violations

In Wisconsin, law enforcement officers are responsible for maintaining the safety of all boaters on the state’s waterways. They may issue citations for various infractions, such as:

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Possible Defenses for an OWI Charge

 Posted on June 07, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Dodge County criminal defense lawyerFacing an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) charge in Wisconsin can be a stressful experience, but remember that you have rights and there are potential defenses available. A Wisconsin lawyer can help protect your rights and explore every possible avenue to achieve the best outcome for your case.

Challenge the Traffic Stop

When building a defense, one of the first things to consider is whether the initial traffic stop was lawful. Police officers must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to pull you over. The court could deem any evidence gathered during the stop inadmissible if the police officers lacked a valid reason. Your attorney will closely examine the circumstances surrounding the stop to determine if the police violated your rights.

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Probation Violations in Wisconsin

 Posted on May 27, 2024 in Criminal Defense

WI defense lawyerWhen someone is convicted of a criminal offense, it is likely they will be sentenced to serve some amount of time in prison. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, you might be given the option of being released on probation, which offers you a way to serve a sentence without imprisonment. This is a privilege that is only a possibility for specific types of charges and an excellent opportunity to prove that you can be trusted to follow rules and be a respectful member of society.

If you are given a probation period instead of a prison sentence, you will also be given a set of rules to follow. There are limitations to where you can go and what you can do, and if you can abide by those rules, you can avoid jail time. However, if you violate the rules of your probation, you face serious consequences. Speak with a qualified Wisconsin criminal defense attorney who can advise you on how to proceed as you carry out a probation term.

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Aggravated Battery Charges in Wisconsin

 Posted on May 21, 2024 in Criminal Defense

WI defense lawyerPhysical altercations can be perceived in many different ways, depending on the circumstances. The differences matter, especially in the state of Wisconsin, where various conditions might turn a battery charge into one of aggravated battery, resulting in harsher penalties. This article will explain what is involved in an aggravated battery charge. If you are facing these types of charges, speak with a skilled Walworth County, WI criminal defense attorney so you can weigh your options and form a plan for moving forward.  

Penalties for Battery

There are various categories of battery that carry different penalties in Wisconsin courts.

  • Simple battery: You can be charged with this crime if the persecution can demonstrate that you injured someone intentionally. It is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor.

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Restrictions on Carrying Guns in Wisconsin

 Posted on May 10, 2024 in Gun Violations

WI defense lawyerAmericans have a constitutional right to bear arms, but the Second Amendment does not specify a lot of the details beyond the fact that they can own weapons. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, with some people being deemed medically unable to safely maintain or possess guns. Depending on where you are, there might be restrictions regarding the number of guns you can buy and own, the types of guns, and even how you are legally permitted to carry them as you go about your day. Some people might be required to make sure their weapon is visible to their surroundings, while others might have a concealed carry license. And still, there are some places where concealed carry is prohibited, regardless of the type of permit you have.

With so many restrictions around the legal use of a weapon, it is possible to mistakenly act in violation of the law. Even if you have the best of intentions and respect for the law, an inadvertent violation could land you in a lot of trouble and you can get charged with a criminal offense. If you are facing weapons charges, speak with a qualified Jefferson County, WI defense attorney who has experience protecting Second Amendment rights.

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