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Waukesha Criminal Defense Law Blog

Yes, you can still get an OWI when not driving

You might enjoy hanging out with your friends at the bar in the Waukesha area and having a few drinks. But you might not realize that you can still get an OWI/DUI charge without driving. You do not need to drive your vehicle haphazardly on the roads to do so. If you drink alcohol and sit inside of your vehicle with the keys in the ignition or in your lap, you could find yourself face-to-face with a law enforcement officer. 

According to the laws regarding intoxicated driving, you must not operate a vehicle while under the influence of a substance, in this case, alcohol. You might think that you can use the fact that the vehicle was not turned on when law enforcement detained you. Here is why that defense may not hold up in court. 

When children face adult charges

Everyone makes mistakes as a child, but when those mistakes bring harm to others, they may come with significant penalties. If your child faces an offense as a juvenile, you may assume the case will go to a juvenile court. However, that is not always to be.

There are certain instances where a minor may face adult charges. It is important to understand what constitutes such determinations and what it may entail.

Should I plead the fifth?

If you ever find yourself apprehended by the police for a crime in Wisconsin, you may wonder if you should speak up or plead the fifth. One of your Miranda rights states you have the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. You may not realize it, but you do not have to say anything to law enforcement except to give them your name, birth date and other information they can use to identify you. During a criminal trial, you can plead the fifth. The jury and the prosecution cannot use that protection to determine your guilt. 

The prosecution can use your words to incriminate you 

The difference between an OWI and DUI

If you face drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, they may be for operating while intoxicated or driving under the influence. Though these terms look similar, they are two very different charges in the eyes of the law. Therefore, they carry very different charges and penalties.

Whether you face an OWI or DUI, you should know a few things. Read on to learn the difference between these charges and how they can affect you in the state of Wisconsin.

Should you know about ignition interlock law in Wisconsin?

Not everybody needs to know about the ignition interlock law. However, if you are ever charged with OWI in Wisconsin, you may become more familiar with this device than you ever anticipated. You may think that if you are a first offender, you will not have to use an IID, but that is not necessarily true, as any criminal defense attorney will tell you.

Depending on your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, the court may order you to have an IID installed on your vehicle. Therefore, if you drink and drive, perhaps you should learn more about the ignition interlock law in this state.

Can your vehicle be searched by a drug dog?

Many law enforcement agencies use drug dogs to find evidence of controlled substances. If law enforcement stops you on the road, can the police search your vehicle with a drug dog? The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the matter in Rodriguez v. United States.   

In this case, the petitioner, Rodriguez, was stopped by a Nebraska K-9 officer in a routine traffic stop. Rodriguez was driving on the shoulder, which is a violation of Nebraska law. The officer completed the stop and issued a warning for the offense. The officer then asked Rodriguez for permission to allow the dog to walk around the vehicle. When Rodriguez refused, the officer detained him until another officer arrived. The dog then walked around the car and signaled the presence of drugs. The officers arrested Rodriguez.

Is the crime of battery a misdemeanor or felony?

Most people think of assault and battery as the same crime, but the two ideas are different. Assault is a threat which creates apprehension of harm, while battery is the actual physical act that does harm someone. Under Wisconsin law, battery is an intentional act of causing injury to another person. Whether battery is considered a felony or misdemeanor act depends on the severity of the act.

Domestic violence reports have serious consequences

Laws passed in 2014 have changed the consequences for domestic violence, even when no arrest is made. "Domestic violence is defined as intentional infliction of physical pain, injury or illness or an act that may cause another person to fear imminent danger of those things." Under the Wisconsin statute 968.075, a law enforcement officer shall arrest and take a person into custody if: "The officer has a reasonable basis for believing that continued domestic abuse against the alleged victim is likely."

When can a Miranda rights waiver be found unconstitutional?

When the police investigate crimes, they often depend on information provided by suspects and witnesses to begin to form their conclusions about how the crime progressed and exactly who was involved when. This process has its flaws, though, and one of them is that during the early investigative stages, it is easy for witnesses to find themselves under intense scrutiny as police begin searching for a suspect. Even worse, it is not uncommon for such witnesses to find themselves under suspicion because of small inconsistencies that result from being asked the same or very similar questions repetitively.

4 factors that may influence eyewitness testimony

Police, prosecutors and juries often rely on eyewitness testimony to determine what really happened at the scene of a crime. While this may seem like a concrete way to get a conviction, eyewitness testimony isn't rock solid and can be affected by several factors. When you are the accused in a court case, it's vital that the eyewitness testimony given is accurate and true. If you are facing a long sentence or conviction of a serious crime, the eyewitnesses should be as competent as possible.

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