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Waukesha Criminal Defense Law Blog

What is domestic violence in Wisconsin?

Battery is a classification of criminal charge that involves some sort of physical harm or threat of physical harm to an alleged victim. Within that realm, such actions that happen between family members or those living together can result in domestic violence charges. Wisconsin residents may think they know what constitutes domestic battery but they may not be correct. For example, actual physical harm does not need to result for law enforcement to get involved.

The Wisconsin State Legislature outlines some of the things that constitute domestic violence against a spouse, ex-spouse or partner in the same home. These include: 

What are Wisconsin’s computer sex crime charges?

The online world has brought about many opportunities for society. Along with these opportunities have also come new forms of crime and related laws governing them. In Wisconsin, Internet crimes can target different groups or types of activities. One area of cyber crime involves sex crimes against children. It can be important to understand how the state of Wisconsin classifies different online sex crimes.

According to the Wisconsin State Legislature, people who are accused of possession of child pornography can face Class I or Class D felony charges depending upon their ages at the time. Class I charges would be levied against anyone under the age of 18 and Class D charges against those 18 and over. These charges involve the alleged knowledge that sexual explicit material involves a minor or minors. 

Understanding prescription drug crimes

Drug crimes in Wisconsin do not always have to involve illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana or methamphetamines. Inappropriate actions related to prescription medications can also result in criminal charges against those involved. This can happen in the most innocent of cases at times such as when a person is in pain and has a friend with some leftover pain medication. If the latter person sells even so much as one pain pill to the in-need friend, drug charges can ensue.

Some of the drugs commonly involved in cases that lead to criminal actions include the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the sleeping pill Ambien. Pain medications like Vicodin, Codein, Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are also frequently related to such situations and the distribution of these in unauthorized ways can be classified as a form of narcotics trafficking.

What are Wisconsin’s penalties for underage drunk driving?

The laws in Wisconsin governing drinking and driving are strict and convictions carry with them the potential for very serious consequences. Penalties for underage drunk driving can also be harsh and include fines, driver’s license suspension and more. It can be important for people under the age of 21 to learn what these laws are before they are in challenging situations related to driving while intoxicated or in possession of alcohol.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the state has what is called an Absolute Sobriety law which means a minor can be arrested for drunk driving for having any amount of alcohol in the blood at all. This is in contrast to drivers age 21 or older who can only be arrested if their BAC level is greater than 0.08 percent. These arrests carry with them fines of $200, three month license suspensions and four license demerit points. If passengers under the age of 16 are in vehicles at the time, the penalties can double.

What are field sobriety tests?

Most Wisconsin residents have heard references to field sobriety tests before and know that they are somehow related to the drunk driving arrest process. But, many people do not really know what these tests entail nor how possible the chance for them to be inaccurate it. Understanding this is important for all drivers as a means of being prepared ahead of time should they ever be faced with participating in such testing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines details of the three individual tests that together create what is known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test for persons suspected of operating under the influence of alcohol. These are as follows:

What is an occupational license?

Drivers who are convicted of impaired driving offenses in Wisconsin can be subject to many different penalties. Charges can include underage drunk driving, an OUI offense, driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and more. In addition to jail time and fines, drivers may lose their driving privileges for some period of time. If this happens, drivers may be eligible to receive what is referred to as an occupational license.

An occupational driver’s license is one that allows people to drive themselves to and from work or other specified locations within strict parameters after a license suspension or revocation. According to the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles, details relating to occupational licenses include:

What are Wisconsin’s laws relating to minors and consensual sex?

Every state in the nation has its own laws that govern criminal charges from drunk driving to homicide and more. Sex crimes are also governed on a state-by-state basis. Persons who live in Wisconsin should pay special attention to this state’s specific laws, especially when concerning minors as there are some distinct differences in Wisconsin when compared to other states.

One of the important facts to know is that in Wisconsin, a person is considered a legal adult upon reaching 17 years of age. Because of this, a 17-year-old accused of a sex crime will be tried as an adult, rather than as a juvenile. Generally speaking, penalties for adults convicted of crimes are harsher than those provided for juveniles. 

What are the penalties for drunk driving in Wisconsin?

Drivers who are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Wisconsin should understand the state’s laws and associated penalties if convicted. Being armed with the right information can help people in the face of challenging times to navigate the often confusing world of lodging a successful defense against OWI, DWI or DUI charges.

The most serious charge possible for an impaired driving offense is a felony conviction. This is reserved for two situations—a fourth DUI conviction with the third one being less than five years prior to the current charge or a fifth DUI conviction during a lifetime. Persons convicted of felony DUI offenses can face up to three years in jail and drivers’ license revocations that last as long as three years. There may be some ability to receive what are called occupational licenses, which allow people to operate vehicles when driving to or from either work or school. Use of ignition interlock devices would typically accompany these licenses. Fines can reach $10,000 for felony DUI convictions.

Wisconsin sex offender registry program basics

People in Wisconsin who face sex crime allegations such as rape or other sexual assault charges should understand some of the basic information about the state’s laws. This includes an overview on the state’s sex offender registry program. Managed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, the program requires the some, but not all, people convicted of sex crimes in Wisconsin to have their personal data collected and monitored by the state and communicated to various law enforcement organizations, neighborhood groups and more.

Defendants who meet certain requirements, based on age or the nature of offenses for which they were convicted, must participate in the sex offender registry program upon commencing parole, probation or other supervised time per the order of a court. The Wisconsin Division of Community Corrections manages this with the goal of decreasing the risk of any future offenses being committed. 

Understanding Wisconsin’s sex crime laws

People accused of sex crimes in Wisconsin can be subject to severe and long-lasting consequences if convicted on such charges. For this reason, having an understanding of the basic laws governing these forms of criminal charges and their associated penalties can be important.

The Wisconsin state legislature website outlines the basics of four types of sexual assault charges, how they each differ and what the jail or financial sentences may be for each. Details include:

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