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Waukesha Criminal Defense Law Blog

University students may face suspension for drug crimes on campus

Although one’s college years may seem the perfect time for experimenting with drugs, many young people are unaware that their seemingly harmless actions may affect the rest of their lives. If caught using or distributing drugs on campus, Wisconsin students may face criminal charges and penalties as well as severe repercussions from university administration.

While each university has the ability to set their own campus policy in regards to drug use, many universities have similar penalties. At University of Wisconsin, students who are found selling drugs on campus grounds may be suspended for up to two years, depending on the specific details of the case. In some situations, students may be able to decrease their suspension period by agreeing to participate in drug counseling.

Are all DUI offenders required to use ignition interlock devices?

Not all convicted DUI offenders are required to use ignition interlock devices in the state of Wisconsin. However, a revised law that took effect in July 2010 strengthened the operating while intoxicated laws, and increased the mandatory usage of interlock devices.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, ignition interlock devices are mandated with the following DUI offenses:

  • First offense: An IID must be used for a minimum of 12 months if the driver’s blood alcohol content level is 0.15 percent or higher. An IID may also be ordered if the driver refuses to submit to a breath or field sobriety test.
  • Second offense: An IID is mandated for a period of 12 to 18 months.
  • Third, fourth and fifth offenses: An IID is mandated for a minimum period of 12 months and a maximum period of three years.

Previously, all court-ordered IID restriction periods started from the time the judge made their ruling. They now begin after an offender obtains an operator’s license from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

How can a juvenile offender have their criminal records sealed?

In the state of Wisconsin, juvenile offenders who meet certain criteria may be eligible to have their criminal case sealed, or expunged from their record. This means that the courts seal all electronic and paper documentation pertaining to your criminal case. Once your case is sealed, you are no longer required to report it on employment, university or housing applications.

In order to be eligible for an expungement, you must be at least 17 years old and have successfully complied with the specific conditions of your dispositional order, according to Wisconsin legislation. If you were younger than 25 years old when the incident occurred, and received a sentence of 6 years or less, your case may qualify for expungement. Once your sentence is completed, you will be able to file with the courts for record sealing. The court will then determine if society will be harmed by granting your expungement and whether or not sealing your records will benefit your situation.

Former football player caught in domestic violence uproar

Prominent sports figures in America should be aware that their actions are under constant scrutiny, ultimately reflecting on their reputation and their ability to withstand super stardom. Wisconsin residents, as well as the general public are often quick to overlook the fact that sports stars are also people who have issues and may make mistakes. One bad decision can lead to severe consequences, even for people in the spotlight.

A former Baltimore Ravens running back lost his position on the NFL team due to an incident where he was filmed battering his fiancée at the time, now wife. A hotel elevator camera caught footage of the assault, which has since been released to the public. Although the football player was initially suspended for two games, the NFL Commissioner later changed the institution’s domestic violence policies. First time domestic violence offenders now face a six game suspension, while second offenders may be banned from the game for life.

Is eyewitness testimony reliable in a criminal case?

Since 1989, at least 317 people have been exonerated in the U.S. as a result of post-trial DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project. The majority of these innocent prisoners were wrongfully convicted due to eyewitness misidentifications and false testimonies. While some studies argue that the human memory is to blame for wrongful accounts of a criminal event, others believe that the eyewitness identification process may lead witnesses to name an innocent person as the criminal.

Research by Loftus and Ketcham shows that many people believe that the human memory is infallible and that a person who witnesses a crime will have detailed information stored away in their long-term memory. However, evidence shows that a person’s long-term memory is susceptible to suggestion. People can add details to their memories or adjust their idea of what happened during a situation to fit a preconceived notion. Specific bits of information can be literally erased from the mind as well. This leaves a person’s account of what happened during a crime extremely unreliable in most cases. 

Lack of probable cause leads to dismissed rape case

When it comes to allegations of rape, it is often a case of one person’s word against the other person’s account of what happened. Certain factors, including the reliability of the parties involved and the credibility of the story, may affect the final outcome of the case. Some rape cases may be extremely hard to judge because of the severe emotional trauma involved and the often absent witnesses from the case. Other cases may be easier to solve.

A woman who claimed to have been drugged and raped by a former Detroit Tigers pitcher was unsuccessful at proving her story to the judge during a probable cause hearing. He dismissed the charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct due to the woman’s inability to provide a reliable account of what happened the night of the incident. 

Juveniles who have been charged with drug crimes

A juvenile who is facing charges involving drugs may find dealing with the situation quite overwhelming. Not only can a drug crime conviction make it hard for a teenager to obtain school funding, but it may lead to fines, community service and even jail time. If a car or home is implicated in a felony drug crime of distribution or manufacture, the court may choose to seize that property as well. Under Wisconsin law, parents of convicted drug offenders may be responsible for paying a maximum amount of $10,000 for any damages that were caused by the child. Here at Craig Kuhary, Attorney at Law, we see the impact that a drug charge can have on a juvenile and his or her family.

There are several different types of juvenile drug crimes, depending on the severity and nature of the misconduct. These include:

Smoke shop owner sentenced to prison for selling synthetic drugs

Synthetic drugs have taken many states in the U.S. by storm. When taken, these chemically laced substances mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana. Often referred to as bath salts or spice, various forms of synthetic drugs are legal in some states and sold over-the-counter in convenience stores and tobacco shops. In 2011, Wisconsin enacted a law making the two major forms of synthetic drugs, synthetic cannabinoids and substituted cathinones, illegal in the state.

A Duluth smoke shop owner was allegedly unaware of Minnesota’s ban on the sale of synthetic drugs when he was arrested and charged with 51 counts stemming from the sale of the illegal substances. The man claimed that statements made by the DEA had led him to believe the substances were still legal in the state. Law enforcement claims that the man was given multiple warnings to stop selling synthetic substances because he was in violation of the law.

Are breath tests accurate in determining intoxication?

People who have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol may have taken a breath test. This handheld device is used to determine whether the driver is intoxicated by measuring the amount of alcohol present in their breath; however, studies show that these tests may not always give accurate results.

Credible studies conducted by LaBianca, Simpson, Thompson et.al compared the BAC results that are indirectly obtained from a Breathalyzer test machine to the BAC results acquired through a blood test. They found a 50 percent margin of error in the Breathalyzer device’s ability to convert the alcohol content found in a breath sample to the actual amount of alcohol present in the blood. A 0.1 percent BAC reading given on a Breathalyzer device may translate to an actual BAC level of anywhere between 0.05 and 0.15 percent. Since the legal BAC limit in Wisconsin is 0.08 percent, some drivers may be wrongfully arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Wisconsin governor passes three domestic violence laws earlier this year

People who are involved in a domestic relationship may have a verbal fight once and awhile. In fact, it is fairly common for couples to bicker with one another. However, when the altercation turns physical, someone may be arrested on domestic violence charges. Earlier this year, the Governor of Wisconsin approved three bills that will ultimately strengthen laws involving domestic violence, according to a report published in Twincities.com.

According to the National Institute of Justice, Wisconsin has a mandatory arrest statute for people who are suspected of committing a domestic violence crime; however, it is up to the discretion of the responding officer to make that determination. One bill that was signed into law requires law enforcement to submit a report if they fail to arrest anyone after responding to a domestic violence incident.

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