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STANGL LAW OFFFICES, S.C.
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STANGL LAW OFFFICES, S.C.
PATRICK STANGL

6441 Enterprise Lane Ste 109
Madison WI 53719
(608) 831-9200

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Alt. Phone: (608) 442-7008
Fax: (608) 831-9150


STANGL LAW OFFFICES, S.C.

Please Call : 608-831-9200

Attorney Patrick J. Stangl has been a practicing as a criminal defense lawyer since 1990. A major focus of his practice is the defense of drunk driving [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] charges. The term OWI is an acronym for "Operating [a Motor Vehicle] While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant and represents a term of art used in Wisconsin for "drunk driving" [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC]. The terms are really synonymous and also apply to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a "controlled substance." He has successfully defended numerous Wisconsin OWI cases and all types of criminal cases in both State and Federal Courts.

Attorney Stangl’s philosophy in drunk driving [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] defense is that unless the State is offering a plea agreement that is significantly better than going to trial and losing there is no really good reason to plead guilty and not proceed to trial. In drunk driving cases [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] unlike many other charges in State Court, more often than not there is very little incentive to pleading guilty and as a result he prepares every drunk driving case for trial. This is very different from the vast majority of other lawyers who simply assume they can not win your case and plead you guilty.

The term OWI is an acronym for "Operating [a Motor Vehicle] While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant and represents a term of art used in Wisconsin for "drunk driving" [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC]. The terms are really synonymous and also apply to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a "controlled substance." He has successfully defended numerous Wisconsin OWI cases and all types of criminal cases in both State and Federal Courts.
  
Attorney Stangl’s philosophy in drunk driving [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] defense is that unless the State is offering a plea agreement that is significantly better than going to trial and losing there is no really good reason to plead guilty and not proceed to trial. In drunk driving cases [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] unlike many other charges in State Court, more often than not there is very little incentive to pleading guilty and as a result he prepares every drunk driving case for trial. This is very different from the vast majority of other lawyers who simply assume they can not win your case and plead you guilty. If you are facing criminal or traffic charges in Wisconsin call 1-800-353-2120 to schedule a free consultation or click on the "Contact Us" menu and send our firm an e-mail message about your situation.

Some examples of Wisconsin and Federal Criminal Defense Cases Stangl Law Offices, S.C. has successfully handled on behalf of its clients include: Homicide, Drunk Driving, OWI, DWI, DUI, BAC, PAC, Domestic Violence, Felonies, Misdemeanors, Violent Crimes, Sexual Offenses, Rape, Drug Offenses (trafficking, possession, distribution, manufacturing), Conspiracies, Theft, Prostitution, Weapons Charges, Domestic Abuse, Fraud, Computer Crimes, Child Abuse, Solicitation, Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court Representation.

OWI Winner's Circle

State of Wisconsin v. L.S., Case Nos. 08-TR-5575, 5576, 4887
OWI/PAC 1st - Dismissed

Village of Poynette v. T.H., Citation Nos. J507880-2, J507892-0
OWI-PAC 1st, .19 blood test - Amended to Reckless Driving

Town of Cottage Grove v. R.G., Citation No. G815546-4
OWI-Refusal – Dismissed

County of Dane v. S.M., Dane County Case No. 07-TR-4616
OWI- Refusal
Motion to Dismiss Based on Unconstitutional Stop - Granted, Evidence Suppressed
All Charges Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. D.A., Dane County Case No. 08-CT-2306, 08-TR-14426, 08-FO-2420
OWI-PAC 4th, .15 blood test, Reckless Driving, OAR,
Motion to Suppress Evidence Based on Unconstitutional Stop-Granted-All Charges Dismissed.

Town of Cottage Grove v. C.W. , Citation Nos. G815022-5, G815023-6
OWI-PAC – Found Not Guilty After Trial

State v. D.A., Dane County Case No. 08-CT-2306
Motion to Suppress Evidence Based on an Unconstitutional Stop - Granted

Town of Rome v. C.D., Adams County Case No. 08-TR-1716, 1717
OWI/PAC 1st Dismissed.

State of Wisconsin v. D.F., Juneau County Case Nos. 07-CM-391, 07-TR-3201
Motion to Suppress Blood Test Granted .298 Test Result

State of Wisconsin v. P. G., Sawyer County Case No. 07-CT-32
OWI 2nd – Amended to Negligent Operation of Motor Vehicle, PAC Dismissed

County of Dane v. S.M., Dane County Case No. 07-TR-4616
OWI- Refusal
Motion to Dismiss Based on Unconstitutional Stop - Granted, Evidence Suppressed
All Charges Dismissed

City of Brodhead v. A.L.J., Citation No. H401851-2
OWI 1st – Amended to Inattentive Driving

County of Rusk v. L.A.K., Case Nos. 07-TR-360, 361
OWI-PAC 1st - Dismissed

Village of Eagle v. D.J., Waukesha County Case No. 07-CV-701
OWI 1st/Refusal – Refusal Dismissed at Municipal Court Trial;
OWI 1st – Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. G.L., Rusk County Case No. 07-CM-37
OWI 4th – Motion to Dismiss Based on Unconstitutional Stop- Granted – Case Dismissed

County of Rusk v. D.S., Rusk County Case No. 06-TR-749
OWI 1st - Amended to Reckless Driving; Refusal Citation- Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. N.S., Barron County Case Nos. 06-TR-1372, 1373
OWI Injury - Never Charged

State of Wisconsin v. M.J., Columbia County Case No. 06-TR-2217R
OWI 1st/Refusal - Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. J.L., Rusk County Case No. 06-CM-1111
OWI-PAC 2nd - Amended to Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle

State of Wisconsin v. C.D., Burnett County Case No. 06-CT-115
OWI 3rd – Accident - Amended to Inattentive Driving

State of Wisconsin v. K.R., Polk County Case 06-CF-287
OWI/Injury Causing Death-5 years Imposed and Stayed Sentence; 1 Year County Jail,
5 Years Probation

Washburn County v. R.M., Washburn County Case No. 06-CM-66
OWI - Amended to Reckless Driving

City of Ladysmith v. M.C., Case No. 2006-1761
OWI-PAC 1st – Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. G.D., Grant County Case No. 05-CT-211
Motion to Suppress Evidence Based on Unconstitutional Stop - Granted

Town of Cottage Grove v. M.L., Citation Nos. E420926-2, E420927-3
PAC charge – Dismissed; OWI - Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. R.C., Rusk County Case Nos. 05-TR-332, 05-TR-333
OWI-PAC 1st /Accident - Motion to Suppress Granted- OWI-PAC - Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. A.S., Columbia County Case No. 05-CT-07
OWI 4th - Amended to OWI 2nd

State of Wisconsin v. D.F., Juneau County Case No. 05-CT-75
OWI 2nd - Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. R.B., Juneau Case No. 05-CT-137
Criminal OWI Causing Injury - Amended to Forfeiture Violation

State of Wisconsin v. J.C.S., Chippewa County Case No. 05-CT-320
OWI 2nd - PAC (.13) - Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. R.H., Dane County Case 05-CT-2457
OWI 2nd - Dismissed

County of Kenosha v. R.G., Kenosha County Case Nos. 05-TR-9587, 9588
OWI/PAC 1st – Motion to Dismiss Granted – Case Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. L.F., Sawyer County Case No. 04-CT-02
OWI - PAC 2nd - Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. L.F., Sawyer County Case No. 04-CM-451
Bail Jumping - Dismissed

Village of Cameron v. S.A., Barron County Case No. 04-CV-190
OWI 1st - Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. R.G., Jefferson County Case No. 04-CF-196
OWI 5th (felony) - Amended to OWI 4th (misdemeanor)

State of Wisconsin v. C.G., Dane County Case No. 04-CT-860
OWI-PAC 3rd - Evidence Suppressed - Case Dismissed

State of Wisconsin v. J.M., Sawyer County Case No. 04-CT-107
Felony Drunk Driving - Amended to OWI 2nd

Village of Almena v. K.C., Barron County Case Nos. 04-TR-3695, 3696
OWI 1st - Amended to Reckless Driving

Village of Siren v. J.A., Burnett County Case Nos. 04-TR-461, 462
OWI 1st - Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. B.C.L., Dane County Case No. 04-CF-2697
Felony Drunk Driving - Amended to Misdemeanor Penalties

State of Wisconsin v. R.M., Sauk County Case No. 04-CT-604
PAC .18/OWI – Dismissed

City of Fitchburg v. S.E., Dane County Case No. 03-CV-3012
OWI - Jury Trial - Found Not Guilty

Dane County v. S.D., Dane County Case Nos. 03-TR-15544, 15545
Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. AM., Dane County Case No. 03-CT-3153
OWI-PAC 2nd/Accident - PAC Dismissed, OWI Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. E.M., Dane County Case No. 02-TR-13320
OWI 1st - Amended to Reckless Driving

State of Wisconsin v. S.N., Eau Claire County Case No. 02-CT-494
OWI 4th-OAR-.35 Alcohol Concentration - Dismissed

County of Sawyer v. D.G., Sawyer County Case No. 02-TR-707
OWI 1st - Dismissed

City of Middleton v. S.G., Citation No. D426767-5
OWI - Amended to Reckless Driving

City of Middleton v. J.G., Citation No. D645549-2
OWI - Amended to Reckless Driving

City of Middleton v. M.K.S., Case No. 01-TR-4798
OWI 1st - Amended to Reckless Driving

City of Middleton v. S.F., Dane County Case No. 01-CV-747
Acquitted after Trial - .18 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

City of Watertown v. J.J., Citation No. A246383-4
OWI 1st - .18 - Amended to Reckless Driving - Forfeiture

State of Wisconsin v. W.H., Washburn County Case No. 01-CT-66
OWI 3rd - Amended to OWI 2nd

State of Wisconsin v. N.H., Washburn County Case No. 01-CT-68
OWI Causing Injury/Mandatory Jail Time - Amended to OWI 1st - Forfeiture

State of Wisconsin v. M.O., Dane County Case No. 01-CT-2571
OWI 2nd - Amended to Reckless Driving- Forfeiture

State of Wisconsin v. M.W., Pepin County Case No. 01-TR-291
OWI 1st - Amended to reckless driving - Forfeiture

City of Middleton v. M.R., Citation No. A755179-5
OWI 1st – Client never charged

State of Wisconsin v. R.I., Sawyer County Case No. 01-CT-013
OWI 3rd - Amended to Reckless Driving - .15 - Accident

State of Wisconsin v. J.H., Marquette County Case No. 01-CT-94
OWI 2nd - Refusal - Acquitted after Jury Trial

State of Wisconsin v. B.K., Dane County Case No. 00-CT-2749
OWI 4th - Amended to OWI 2nd - .17 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

State of Wisconsin v. M.P., Columbia County Case No. 99-CT-71
OWI 4th - Dismissed in Entirety - .18 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

State of Wisconsin v. K.B., Columbia County Case No. 99-CT-l09
OWI 2nd - Mandatory Jail - Amended to Reckless Driving - Forfeiture

State of Wisconsin v. R.L., Columbia County Case No. 99-CT-94
OWI 2nd - Mandatory Jail - Not charged

City of Oregon v. S.C.,
Acquitted after Trial - .13 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

State of Wisconsin v. B.W., Columbia County Case Nos. 98-CM-55, 98-CT-76, 98-CT-13
OWI 2nd - Amended to Reckless Driving - Refusal- (Not charged) OAR Dismissed.
 

Please Call : 608-831-9200

Attorney

Attorney Patrick J. Stangl has been a practicing criminal defense lawyer since 1991. He maintains a solo practice devoted to defending people accused of crimes. His practice is statewide and he practices in State and Federal trial and appellate courts. He has successfully defended cases ranging in complexity from drug conspiracies and murder charges to domestic abuse. A major focus of his practice is the defense of drunk driving [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] charges.

The term OWI is an acronym for "Operating [a Motor Vehicle] While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant and represents a term of art used in Wisconsin for "drunk driving" [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC]. The terms are really synonymous and also apply to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a "controlled substance." He has successfully defended numerous Wisconsin OWI cases and all types of criminal cases in both State and Federal Courts.

Attorney Stangl’s philosophy in drunk driving [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] defense is that unless the State is offering a plea agreement that is significantly better than going to trial and losing there is no really good reason to plead guilty and not proceed to trial. In drunk driving cases [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] unlike many other charges in State Court, more often than not there is very little incentive to pleading guilty and as a result he prepares every drunk driving case for trial. This is very different from the vast majority of other lawyers who simply assume they can not win your case and plead you guilty. If you are facing criminal or traffic charges in Wisconsin call 1-800-353-2120 to schedule a free consultation or click on the "Contact Us" menu and send our firm an e-mail message about your situation.

Some examples of Wisconsin and Federal Criminal Defense Cases Stangl Law Offices, S.C. has successfully handled on behalf of its clients include: Homicide, Drunk Driving, OWI, DWI, DUI, BAC, PAC, Domestic Violence, Felonies, Misdemeanors, Violent Crimes, Sexual Offenses, Rape, Drug Offenses (trafficking, possession, distribution, manufacturing), Conspiracies, Theft, Prostitution, Weapons Charges, Domestic Abuse, Fraud, Computer Crimes, Child Abuse, Solicitation, Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court Representation.

OWI

Q: What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the highways?

A: The following is a list of symptoms in descending order of probability that a person observed is driving while intoxicated. The list is based upon research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Turning with a wide radius, straddling center of lane marker, “appearing to be drunk”, almost striking object or vehicle, weaving, driving on other than designated highway, swerving, speed more than 10 mph below limit, stopping without cause in traffic lane, following too closely, drifting, tires on center or lane marker, braking erratically, driving into opposing or crossing traffic, signaling inconsistent with driving actions, slow response to traffic signals, stopping inappropriately (other than in lane), turning abruptly or illegally, accelerating or decelerating rapidly, headlights off. Speeding, incidentally, is not a symptom of DUI; because of quicker judgment and reflexes, it may indicate sobriety.

Q: If I’m stopped by a police officer and he asks me if I’ve been drinking, what should I say?

A: You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions-Don’t; A polite “I would like to speak with an attorney before I answer any questions” is an appropriate reply although you are not entitled to counsel during a roadside stop unless you are in custody and questioned. On the other hand, saying that you had one or two beers is not incriminating: it is not sufficient to cause intoxication–and it may explain the odor of alcohol on the breath.

Q: Do I have a right to an attorney when I’m stopped by an officer and asked to take a field sobriety test?

A: The law varies on this issue from state to state. In Wisconsin, there is no right to an attorney until you have submitted to (or refused) blood, breath, or urine testing once you are in custody and subject to questioning.

You are not legally required to submit to Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and it is not in your best interest to do so. Your license can not be revoked nor can you be cited for a refusal if you politely refuse to do FSTs.

Q: What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?

A: The traditional symptoms of intoxication taught at the police academy are:

Flushed face; red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes; odor of alcohol on breath; slurred speech; fumbling with wallet trying to get license; failure to comprehend the officer’s questions; staggering when exiting vehicle; swaying/instability on feet; leaning on car for support; combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude; soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing; stumbling while walking; disorientation as to time and place; inability to follow directions.

Q: What should I do if I’m asked to take field sobriety tests?

A: There are a wide range of field sobriety tests (FSTs), including heel-to-toe, finger-to-nose, one-leg stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus, alphabet recital, modified position of attention (Rhomberg), fingers-to-thumb, hand pat, etc. Most officers will use a set battery of three to five such tests.

Unlike the chemical test, where refusal to submit may have serious consequences, you are not legally required to take any FSTs. The reality is that officers have usually made up their minds to arrest when they give the FSTs; the tests are simply additional evidence which the suspect inevitably “fails”. Politely refuse to do any and all FSTs whether at the roadside or some other place like the police station. In Wisconsin, the police want you to submit to FSTs for two (2) reasons. First, by submitting to the tests you are giving the officers facts to support a legal basis for arrest. This legal standard is probable cause. Secondly, the FSTs are used as evidence to prove the OWI charge. A chemical test result is not necessary to prove the elements of the OWI offense. That is why politely refusing all FSTs and not blowing into a hand held breath testing device in the field called a preliminary breath test or PBT is your best initial defense.

Q: Why did the officer make me follow a penlight with my eyes to the left and right?

A: This is the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test, a relatively recent development in OWI investigation. The officer attempts to estimate the angle at which the eye begins to jerk (“nystagmus” is medical jargon for a distinctive eye movement or oscillation); if this occurs sooner than 45 degrees, it theoretically indicates blood-alcohol concentration over .05%. The smoothness of the eye’s tracking the penlight (or finger or pencil) is also a factor, as is the type of jerking when the eye is as far to the side as it can go.

This field sobriety test has proven to be subject to a number of different problems, not the least of which is the non-medically trained officer’s ability to recognize nystagmus and estimate the angle of onset. Because of this, the fact that the test is not accepted by the medical community, it is not admissible as evidence in many states; it continues, however, to be widely used by law enforcement. It is admissible in Wisconsin and is subject to what weight the fact finder either the court or jury, is willing to give it subject to cross examination.

Q: Should I agree to take a chemical test? What happens if I don’t?

A: The consequences of refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test varies according to the state. In Wisconsin, there are three adverse consequences:

Your driver’s license will be revoked for at least one year and up to two years depending on whether you have any prior convictions. A refusal violation, at this time, is a civil proceeding and is not a crime. Thus you can not be sent to jail for a refusal. However, a refusal can be counted as a prior conviction for purposes of charging you with a subsequent enhanced offense. For example, if you had a refusal violation in 1995 and are cited for an OWI or PAC violation in 2004 it will be charged as a second offense which is a crime.

Finally, the fact of refusal may be introduced into evidence at trial on the OWI charge as “consciousness of guilt”. Of course, the defense is free to offer other reasons for the refusal. Thus, the decision is one of weighing the likelihood of a high blood-alcohol reading against the consequences for refusing.

Q: Do I have a choice of chemical tests? Which should I choose?

A: In Wisconsin, you do not have a choice of a blood, breath or urine test. Rather, the arresting agency determines what their primary test will be, as a practical matter either blood or breath. While the law allows for urine tests, due to their unreliability, they are not used in Wisconsin. Since you don’t have a choice of tests the question becomes the chance of registering a high BAC-Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration against the consequences for refusing. If you submit to the primary test offered by the arresting agency you have the absolute right to the alternative test free of charge. The officer can not interfere with your right to that alternative test or it can lead to suppression of the test results.

Q: The officer never gave me a “Miranda” warning: Can I get my case dismissed?

A: No. The officer is supposed to give a 5th Amendment warning once you are in custody and questioned, often, however, they do not. The only consequence is that the prosecution cannot use any of your answers to questions asked by the police after the arrest in its case in chief at trial.

Of much greater consequence is the failure to advise you of the standard “implied consent” law - that is, your legal obligation to take a chemical test and the results if you refuse. In Wisconsin this information is contained on a pink sheet which is called “The Informing the Accused.” This can effect the suspension and revocation of your license.

Q: Why am I being charged with TWO crimes?

A: In Wisconsin the traditional offense is “operating under the influence of an intoxicant (OWI). In recent years, however, 49 states have also enacted second, so-called “per se” offense: driving with an excessive blood alcohol concentration (either .08%–as in Wisconsin–or .10% in some other states). In Wisconsin BOTH offenses are charged unless a person refuses the chemical test however forcible blood draws are permissible under certain circumstances in Wisconsin and can still result in a PAC charge even if you initially refuse. The defendant can even be convicted of both but can be punished for only one.

Q: The officer took my license and served me with a notice of intent to revoke after the breath test: How can he do that if I’m presumed innocent?

A: Agreed, it is blatantly unfair. But the law in most states (including Wisconsin) having a “per se” statute (see question #10) provides for immediate suspension and confiscation of the license if the breath test result is above the legal limit (or, in the case of a blood test once the result shows a prohibited concentration.) Warning: Be aware of the 10-day deadline for requesting a hearing on the suspension. Once a prohibited concentration is registered you should receive a yellow sheet of paper which needs to be filled out to request an administrative hearing. We may be able to get your license reinstated pending the resolution of the charges.

Q: Can I represent myself? What can a lawyer do for me?

A: You can represent yourself–although it is not a good idea. “Drunk driving is a very complex area of the law with increasingly harsh consequences. There is a minefield of complicated procedural, evidentiary, constitutional, sentencing, and administrative license issues.

What can a lawyer do? Nothing (or worse) if he is not qualified in this highly specialized field–no more than a family doctor could help with brain surgery. A qualified attorney, like Attorney Stangl, can review the case for defects, suppress evidence, compel discovery of such things as calibration and maintenance records for the breath machine, have blood samples independently analyzed, negotiate for a lesser charge or reduced sentence, obtain expert witnesses for trial, contest the administrative license suspension, win trials and refusal hearings.

Q: How can I find a qualified drunk driving lawyer?

A: The best way to find a good DUI/DWI lawyer is by reputation. There are attorneys who have state and national reputations; these, of course, are expensive.

An excellent indication of quality and experience is membership in the National College for DUI Defense. Completion of that organization’s interactive three-day seminar presented at Harvard Law School every year is another clear sign of expertise

When you meet with the attorney, make sure of three things:

He has extensive experience in OWI and criminal litigation;

He has a reputation for going to trial in appropriate cases and winning, rather than just “pleading out” his clients; and

The financial terms of representation are clear.

Q: What will it cost to get a lawyer?

A: This varies, of course, by the reputation and experience of the lawyer and the geographic location. As with doctors, generally, the more skilled the attorney and the larger the city, the higher the fee. A related factor is the amount of time a lawyer devotes to his cases: the better lawyers take few clients, spending more hours on each.

The range of fees is significant. An OWI specialist with a statewide reputation for winning may charge five to ten thousand dollars or more depending on the facts. In addition, the fee may vary by such other factors as:

Is the offense a misdemeanor or felony?

If prior convictions are alleged, the procedures for attacking them may add to the cost.

The fee may or may not include trial or appeals.

Administrative license suspension procedures may also be extra.

The lawyer may charge a comprehensive fixed flat fee, or he may ask for the retainer in advance–to be applied against hourly charges.

Costs such as expert witness fees, independent blood analysis, service of subpoenas, etc. may be extra.

See-FAQ-Question #9, on Criminal Cases for general information on our fee structure.

Q: What is the punishment for drunk driving?

A: This varies according to the laws of the state and the customs of the local jurisdiction. In Wisconsin, a conviction for a first offense is a civil violation and involves a forfeiture, revocation, mandatory AODA Assessment and perhaps attendance at a Victim Impact Panel.

For a second offense the penalties upon conviction range from a minimum mandatory penalty of five (5) days and up to six (6) months in jail. A fine range from a minimum of $350.00 to $1,100.00 plus costs and administrative surcharge; mandatory AODA Assessment. Ignition interlock devices can also be ordered.

The greater the number of prior convictions the greater the jail and/or prison term that can be imposed, as well as fines and harsher penalties.

In Wisconsin, for purposes of evaluating prior convictions a ten year window is used but this window will not extend before January 1, 1989 for second offenses. However, for purposes of evaluating prior convictions for a third or greater offense the prosecution can go back lifetime.

If convicted of an OWI offense in Wisconsin that conviction now remains on your driving record abstract for life.

Q: What is a sentence enhancement?

A: Most states including Wisconsin increase the punishment in drunk driving cases if certain facts exist. The most common of these is an earlier conviction for the same or similar offense–usually within ten years for a second offense or lifetime for a third or greater offense. Other commonly encountered enhancements (which must usually be alleged in the complaint) include:

A child under the age of 16 was in the car at the time.

The blood-alcohol concentration was over. 20%.

The defendant refused to submit to a chemical test.

There was property damage or bodily injury.

In Wisconsin, the existence of significant personal injury or bodily harm caused by drunk driving elevates the offense to a serious felony. A death in Wisconsin while intoxicated can result in vehicular homicide charges.

Q: What is a “rising BAC defense”?

A: It is unlawful to have an excessive blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of DRIVING–not at the time of being TESTED. Since it takes between 30 minutes and 3 hours for alcohol to be absorbed into the system, an individual’s BAC may continue to rise for some time after he is stopped and arrested.

Commonly, it is an hour or more after the stop when the blood, breath, or urine test is given to the suspect. Assume that the result is .10%. If the suspect has continued to absorb alcohol since he was stopped, his BAC at the time he was driving may have been only .07%. In other words, the test shows a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit–BUT his actual BAC AT THE TIME OF DRIVING which is what must be proved was BELOW the legal limit.

Q: What is “mouth alcohol” or “residual mouth alcohol”?

A: “Mouth alcohol” refers to the existence of any alcohol in the mouth or esophagus. If this is present during a breath test, then the results will be falsely high. This is because the breath machine assumes that the breath from the lungs; for complex physiological reasons, its internal computer multiplies the amount of alcohol by 2100. This is known as a “portion ratio.” Thus, even a tiny amount of alcohol breathed directly into the machine from the mouth or throat rather than the lungs can have a significant impact.

Mouth alcohol can be caused in many ways. Belching, burping, hiccupping, or vomiting within 20 minutes before taking the test can bring vapor from the alcoholic beverages still in the stomach up into the mouth and throat. Taking a breath freshener can send a machine’s reading way up (such products as Bianca and Listerine have alcohol in them); cough syrups and other products also contain alcohol. Dental bridges and dental caps can trap alcohol. Blood from the mouth from an injury is yet another source of inaccurate breath test results: breathed into the mouthpiece, any alcohol in the blood will be multiplied 2100 times. A chronic “reflux” condition from gastric distress or hiatal hernia can cause elevated BAC readings.

Q: What defenses are there in an OWI case?

A: Potential defenses in any given drunk driving case are almost limitless due to the complexities of the offense. Roughly speaking, however, the majority can be broken down into the following areas:

Driving. Intoxication is not enough: the prosecution must also prove that the defendant was driving. This may be difficult if, as in the case of some accidents, there are no witnesses to his being the driver of the vehicle.

Probable cause. Evidence will be suppressed if the officer did not have legal cause to (a) stop, (b) detain, and (c) arrest. Sobriety roadblocks present particularly complex issues.

Miranda. Incriminating statements may be suppressed if warnings were not given at the appropriate time.

Implied consent warnings. If the officer did not properly advise you of the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test, or gave it incorrectly, in some states (including Wisconsin) this may invalidate a DMV license suspension based upon a refusal to provide a breath/blood sample.

“Under the influence”. The officer’s observations and opinions as to intoxication can be questioned–the circumstances under which the field sobriety tests were given, for example, or the subjective (and predisposed) nature of what the officer considers as “failing”. Also, witnesses can offer their opinion that you appeared to be sober.

Blood-alcohol concentration. There exists a wide range of potential problems with blood, breath, or urine testing. For example, a non-specific analysis: most breath machines will register many chemical compounds found on the human breath as alcohol. Breath machines assume a 2100-to-1 ratio in converting alcohol in the breath into alcohol in the blood; in fact, this ratio varies widely from person to person (and with a person from one moment to another). Radio frequency interference can result in inaccurate readings. These and other defects in analysis can be brought out in cross-examination of the state’s expert witnesses and/or the defense can hire its own forensic chemist.

Testing during the absorptive phase. The blood, breath, or urine tests can be unreliable if done while you are still actively absorbing alcohol (it takes 30 minutes to three hours to complete absorption; this can be delayed if food is present in the stomach). Thus, drinking “one for the road” can cause inaccurate test results.

Retrograde extrapolation. This refers to the requirement that the BAC be “related back” in time from the test to the actual driving (see question #17). Again, a number of complex physiological problems are involved here.

Regulation of blood-alcohol testing. The prosecution must prove that the blood, breath, or urine test complied with state requirements as for calibration, maintenance, etc.

License suspension hearings. A number of issues can be raised in the context of an administrative hearing before the state’s department of motor vehicles.

Appeals

Criminal Appeals

Experience, Ingenuity, Results
  
Direct Appeal           
(State)


Every person convicted of a crime in Wisconsin has an absolute right to have the conviction reviewed by a higher court.  In Wisconsin, this is the Court of Appeals and potentially the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  The term “appeal” is a broad term which encompasses not only a direct appeal, as of right, to the Court of Appeals but also commonly includes other post-conviction remedies.  These remedies can include motions in the trial court following conviction including a motion for a new trial, a post-conviction motion alleging various errors in the trial itself as well as a post-conviction motion alleging the ineffective assistance of counsel.  The procedure governing a direct appeal of a criminal conviction or sentence is set forth in Rule 809.30 Wis. Stats.  A direct appeal is initiated by the filing of a document entitled a Notice of Intent to Pursue Post-Conviction Relief which must be filed in the trial court within twenty (20) days of the sentencing hearing.  An individual’s trial attorney is obligated to file a Notice of Intent to Pursue Post-Conviction Relief to initiate the appellate process if requested by the client.  After the filing of this document, Rule 809.30 sets forth procedural deadlines for the ordering of transcripts, the appointment of counsel (if appropriate), and the compilation and review of the trial court record. 
 
 If the sole basis for appeal includes all issues previously raised during the trial court proceedings and decided by the trial court then the defendant can directly appeal to the Court of Appeals, thus the term “direct appeal.”  If issues intended to be raised upon appeal are not set forth clearly in the record the issue must first be raised in the trial court by the filing of a post-conviction motion.  Any claim that trial counsel was ineffective must be raised with precise detail in a post-conviction motion or the issue is forever waived or lost
 
Direct Appeal
(Federal)
 
The appellate procedure for initiating an appeal from a federal conviction is much different than the procedure followed in Wisconsin Courts.  A direct appeal in a federal case is the primary method of challenging a conviction and sentence imposed in federal court.  In federal court, absent unusual circumstances, a post-conviction motion is not filed in the trial court as part of a direct appeal.  Instead, the appeal is based upon any legal challenges or errors which already exist in the trial court record; that is the proceedings from the initiation of the prosecution through the sentencing hearing.  If a challenge is made to a conviction based on newly discovered evidence or an allegation of the ineffective assistance of trial counsel a motion to vacate the judgment pursuant to §28 U.S.C. 2255 is the appropriate vehicle to raise those issues.
 
In order to initiate a federal direct appeal the defendant must file a notice of appeal in the district court (trial court) within ten (10) days of the entry of the judgment of conviction excluding weekends and legal holidays.  Although this deadline can be extended based upon good cause or a showing of excusable neglect a request for an extension is not guaranteed.  A request for an extension from the ten (10) day deadline should be rarely, if ever, needed since trial counsel is obligated, upon the request of the defendant, to file the notice of appeal.  Secondly, federal judges are very diligent with respect to advising a client of the ten (10) day requirement at the sentencing hearing. 
 
The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure provide the rules and framework for the filings of briefs, motions for extension of time, and other important matters.  A federal appeal is a complicated matter.  All legal issues must be raised and legal arguments developed in the appellant’s opening brief.  Any arguments improperly raised and/or not fully developed will be denied as a matter of course.  After the defendant-appellant files his opening brief the government files its responsive brief, normally within thirty (30) days.  The defendant-appellant then has the opportunity to file a reply brief addressing the arguments raised in the government’s responsive brief.  Oral argument is usually granted in federal appeals and decisions, depending on the complexity and importance of the case, can be issued, in the form of a written opinion, anywhere from one to several months and up to a year or more later.  Attorney Patrick Stangl has extensive experience in federal appellate practice.  See “Results Page.” 
 
Knight Petition
(State Court Petition for Habeas Corpus)        
 
In the event an appellate attorney is hired or appointed to represent a defendant in a direct appeal in the State of Wisconsin and that attorney renders the ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal or for example, abandons the client’s interests by failing to comply with the procedural requirements and time limits for initiating an appeal a claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel can be raised.  In State v. Knight, 168 Wis.2d 509 (date?) the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the appropriate method for raising a claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel is the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus.  The remedy sought in a writ of habeas corpus (Knight Petition) is to reinstate the defendant’s right to appeal.  §809.51 Wis. Stats sets forth the requirements for a petition which must identify the issues, provide the case’s complete factual background and set forth with specificity the reasons why the Court of Appeals should grant the requested relief. 
 
There is no time limit for filing a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Court of Appeals but the best practice is to pursue this remedy in as timely a fashion as possible.  Unnecessary delays attributed to the defendant through a legal theory known as “laches” can be a defense raised by the State to bar the habeas corpus relief sought.
 
Federal Habeas Corpus
(28 U.S.C. §2254)
 
28 U.S.C. §2254 sets forth a procedure known as federal habeas corpus which allows a person convicted in state court and currently in custody to raise a challenge to that custody on the grounds that the sentence or underlying conviction was imposed in violation of the federal Constitution.  The reality is that most federal habeas petitions are filed by state prisoners pro se, that is, without the assistance of an attorney.  However habeas corpus relief is ordered with a mind field of very restrictive procedures and requirements which if not strictly followed will likely lead to the denial of the petition even in those cases where the conviction or sentences clearly violate the federal Constitution.  For example, the claims raised in a federal habeas corpus petition can only be based upon the federal Constitution and those issues must have been properly raised in the state courts including through the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.  Also the issues must not have been waived or given up or somehow forfeited in the state court proceedings.  The petition must be filed in the correct federal court and the petitioner must be in “custody” under a state conviction at the time the petition is filed.  While all procedural requirements are important, none is more important than the actual time limit for filing a federal habeas petition.  The petition must be filed within one year after the direct appeal from the state conviction becomes final.  If the petition is filed from a direct appeal and the appeal proceeded through a decision by the Supreme Court, meaning either the Supreme Court actually accepted the case or denied review, the one year time period for filing starts to run ninety (90) days after the state supreme court’s decision.  There is an exception to the one year time limit in the event a collateral attack is raised against the conviction or a Knight petition is filed in state court prior to the one year deadline expiring.  The one year deadline for filing the federal habeas petition is stopped or “tolled” for the period of time the collateral motion or Knight petition remains pending in the state court.  Once that motion and if any, an appeal from that motion is finalized, the deadline starts to run from the point back to the filing state motion.
 
Given the procedural pitfalls and strict time limits involved in seeking federal habeas relief, it is critical to obtain the assistance of counsel with federal appellate experience, like Stangl Law Offices, S.C., as soon as possible after the direct appeal is finalized. 
 
Collateral Attack
(§974.06 Wis. Stats.)
 
§974.06 Wis. Stats. provides an avenue for attacking a conviction and/or sentence after the time for filing a direct appeal has lapsed.  This is known as a “collateral attack.”  A motion under §974.06 is limited to constitutional claims under the United States and Wisconsin Constitutions as well as jurisdictional grounds.  In order to bring a §974.06 motion the person must be “in custody under sentence of a court” which includes people on probation, parole and/or extended supervision.  There is no deadline for filing the motion.  This avenue of relief is available even if there was already a direct appeal in the case, however a person who has already raised constitutional claims on direct appeal generally will be prevented from raising them again in a §974.06 motion.  Both §974.06 and the case of Escalona-Naranjo prevent a person from raising claims in a subsequent appeal that could have been raised in his or her direct appeal unless the person provides a “sufficient reason” for failure to raise the claim initially.          
 
Revocation Proceedings               

 

If a defendant is sentenced to a term of probation, extended supervision or is paroled under the old law he or she is required by his probabion/parole agent to follow certain rules imposed as conditions of supervision.  The probation/parole agent works for the Department of Corrections and has the authority to begin revocation proceedings of the supervision and return the person to jail or prison if the agent alleges that one or more rules of supervision have been broken. 
 
The agent has the authority or discretion to hold the supervised individual in custody while investigating whether in fact rules of supervision were indeed violated.  As part of this investigation the agent will always try to obtain a statement from the person on supervision.  Oftentimes, as a condition of their supervision an individual is required to give a statement when allegations and violations of conditions of supervision have been broken.  This statement can not be used later against the client if criminal proceedings are initiated as a result of the violations.  After the investigation is completed the agent will either start revocation proceedings or offer the person on supervision an “alternative to revocation” or simply return the person to continuing supervision.  If the agent starts revocation proceedings a revocation hearing is then set before an administrative law judge. If the individual is offered an “alternative to revocation,” the alternative usually includes some type of treatment or other program which must be satisfactorily completed in order to avoid revocation.  If the matter proceeds to a revocation hearing a person is entitled to be represented by counsel.  Even if a person has admitted to the allegations, revocation can only be ordered if reasonable alternatives to revocation exist.  The administrative law judge must apply what has become known as the plotkin factors.  See State ex rel Plotkin v. H & SS, 63 Wis.2d, 535, 544 (1974).  Revocation can only be ordered if (i) confinement is necessary to protect the public from further criminal activity by the offender; or (ii) the offender is in need of correctional treatment which can most effectively be provided if he is confined or (iii) it would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the violation if probation were not revoked.” 
 
Stangl Law Offices, S.C. has successfully defended revocation proceedings on behalf of its clients.  In representing clients who are the subject of revocation proceedings we have successfully defended revocation proceedings at hearings in front of administrative law judges, have worked out possible Alternatives to Revocation prior to the hearing, and represented individuals on appeal to the Administrator of the Division of Hearings and Appeals.   Contact Stangl Law Offices, S.C. at any stage of the revocation process.
 
Sentence Modification             

 

After a defendant has gone through the direct appeal process an additional method of attempting to challenge the sentence is to move the Court for sentence modification based on “new factors” which were not known to the Court at the time of the original sentencing.  A new factor is a factor of circumstance which is highly relevant to the sentence imposed which either did not exist at the time of sentencing or was overlooked by the parties.  Further modification involves a two step process.  State v. Franklin, 148 Wis.2d 1, 8 (1989).  First, the defendant must show the existence of a new factor thought to justify the motion to modify sentence.  Id.  If the defendant has demonstrated the existence of a new factor, the trial court must then decide whether the new factor warrants sentence modification.  Additionally, the information or development must “frustrate the purpose of the original sentencing.”  See State v. Johnson, 158 Wis.2, 58, 466 (Ct. App. 1990).  The burden is upon the defendant to establish the existence of a new factor by clear and convincing evidence.  A motion to modify a sentence based on new factors is not governed by a time limitation and may be made at any time.  However, it is always best to bring a motion for sentence modification as soon as practicable.     
 
Results

         
The decision to appeal a criminal conviction, what procedure to utilize and the determination of the viability of successful issues on appeal is a very important decision.  Attorney Patrick Stangl has extensive experience in appellate practice and procedure.  He has represented numerous clients in all facets of the appellate process including direct appeals in both State and Federal Courts, the filing of post-conviction motions for a new trial, and motions alleging the ineffective assistance of both trial and appellate counsel.  He has argued many cases in  the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and has argued in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  His appellate experience includes a body of published opinions in State and Federal courts. 
 
Recently, he represented the defendant in the seminal case of  United States v. Garcia, 434 F.3d 1994 (7th Cir. 2007).  The Garcia case involved the warrantless attachment of a GPS tracking device on a motor vehicle which has garnered nationwide attention.  It has become one of the leading cases cited by defense attorneys, legal scholars, and commentators regarding GPS surveillance. 
 
In 1983 in the case of Knotts v. United States, 460 U.S. 276 (1983) the United States Supreme Court ruled that drivers on public streets do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, a necessary predicate to Fourth Amendment protection and that police could place radio “beepers” on cars without a warrant.  However, the use of the electronic beeper device in the vehicle in Knotts was used to supplement law enforcement agents’ own observations as they followed Knotts through traffic but ultimately lost him.  Attorney Stangl argued that placing a GPS on a vehicle without establishing probable cause and obtaining a warrant violates reasonable expectations of privacy giving the sophisticated nature of the GPS tracking device.  Renowned Jurist Richard Posner authored the opinion in Garcia and disagreed, finding that law enforcement had an ample reason to suspect Garcia of crimes but conceded that the technology one day could be used for massive police surveillance.  Given the pervasive scope of GPS technology and the nationwide importance of the privacy issues involved Attorney Stangl drafted and filed a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court seeking review of the Seventh Circuit’s Decision but review was denied. 
 
The highest courts in three states, Washington, Oregon, and recently New York, have held that under their state constitutions police officers must have probable cause and a warrant before placing a GPS device on a motor vehicle. 
 
On May 7, 2009 the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision, upheld the use of a GPS device without a warrant concluding, as in Garcia, that no search or seizure occurs when the police use a GPS device to track a vehicle when it is visible to the general public.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court will undoubtedly weigh in on this critical issue of privacy and the Fourth Amendment at some point.  The issue of GPS surveillance and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures continues to arouse great attention, not only in legal circles but among privacy advocates and commentators.  Attorney Stangl has been contacted by several law professors, reporters, and defense attorneys from across the nation to discuss the import of the Garcia decision.  Articles regarding the case have appeared in numerous newspapers across the nation including USA Today, the Chicago Sun Times, The Seattle Times and many other publications and blogs.  The issue of GPS surveillance will undoubtedly continue to attract great attention as issues of privacy and governmental over-reaching into the lives of private citizens seems to be becoming the rule rather than the exception. 
 
Attorney Stangl has numerous other important decisions and successful results in the appellate courts including the reversal of convictions and appeals resulting in his clients’ being re-sentenced and receiving lesser punishment.  Recently, he established the ineffective assistance of two different appellate attorneys resulting in the Court of Appeals granting a Writ of Habeas Corpus which resulted in the reinstatement of his client’s appellate rights which had lapsed six (6) years earlier due to the attorneys’ ineffectiveness. 
 
Disclaimer:  Information obtained from this website is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice.  You should consult an attorney directly for advice that is specifically tailored to the factual and procedural posture of your specific legal situation.  Feel free to contact Stangl Law Offices, S.C. to further discuss your specific situation.  Contacting us does not, in and of itself, create an attorney-client relationship.
 
Appellate Decisions and Results
 
United States of America v. Quintero,
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Appeal Nos. 08-4033 and 09-1048
Published Opinion Regarding Court’s Authority to Amend Criminal Judgment
 
State of Wisconsin ex rel. W.C. J. v. Matthew Frank,
Secretary of Department of Corrections (L.C. 2001-CF-2565)
Appeal No. 2007-AP-1477-W
Writ of Habeas Corpus Granted
Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel Established
 
United States of America v. Scott,
7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 07-1698
District Court Reversed.
Sentence Vacated and Remanded to Trial Court for Resentencing
 
United States v. Stafford, 136 F.3d 1109 (7th Cir. 1998)
Federal Convictions For Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property Reversed
 
 Published Opinions – Federal Cases
 
United States of America v. Jose L. Quintero,
Appeal Nos. 08-4033 and 09-1048
 
United States v. Garcia, 474 F.3d 1994 (7th Cir. 2007)
 
United States v. Parra, 402 F.3d 752 (7th Cir. 2005)
 
United States v. Crowley, 285 F.3d 553 (7th Cir. 2002)
 
United States v. Stafford, 136 F.3d 1109 (7th Cir. 1998)
 
Published Opinions – State Cases
 
State v. Hammill, 2006 WI App. 128, 29 Wis.2d 654 (2006)
 
State v. Moffett, 2000 WI 130 (2000)
 
State v. Fearing, 2000 WI App. 229, 239 Wis.2d 105 (2000)
 
State v. Moffett, 2000 WI App. 67, 233 Wis.2d 268 (2000)
 
State v. Gant, 201 Wis.2d 206 (Ct. App. 1996)
 
State v. Long, 190 Wis.2d 386 (Ct. App. 1994)

Criminal Defense

Q: If I am innocent, why do I need a lawyer?

A: More often than you think, innocent people do get accused of committing crimes. Also, people who may have committed one crime often get accused (sometimes wrongfully) of committing additional and more serious crimes. As the accused, you have a constitutional right to counsel. You are always better off having a lawyer learn about the accusation, discuss it with you, and develop a strategy for responding to the charge.

Q: What should I do if I am arrested?

A: First, be polite and cooperative. Arguing, struggling or fighting will never make the situation better. Rarely, if ever, is a person able to convince an officer to stop an arrest. Remain silent! Finally, call a lawyer as soon as possible.

Q: Why is remaining silent critical?

A: Never answer any questions and remain silent even if it means going to jail. Call a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. When the police, or some other investigating agency, are investigating you or if they believe you may be involved in the commission of a crime they will always attempt to talk to you. The reason they want to talk to you is not, as many police represent, “to get your side of the story” but rather they are hoping that you will incriminate yourself. Incriminating statements are statements either verbal or written, which tend to show you may have committed or been involved in the commission of a crime.

Most people are aware, at least in some sense, perhaps due to the popularity of various police and lawyer TV shows of their Miranda rights. Those rights, which the Supreme Court laid out in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966) are protective rights which apply when two conditions are met; (1) a person is in custody and (2) that person is subject to interrogation.

Most police and investigating officers are well versed in Miranda and will want to talk to you while you are not in custody. That is, they will come to your home or business and want to talk to you under circumstances where a reasonable person would feel free to leave the setting, thus the legal standard for arrest and/or custody is not met. Most people who are the subject of a criminal investigation incriminate themselves by making verbal and/or written statements while they are not in custody. There is no requirement that Miranda be read when a person is not in custody. Therefore, it is critical to invoke your right to remain silent under all circumstances and if the police ask you any questions you should simply state that “I am not answering any questions, I invoke my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and I will not answer any questions without a lawyer present.” Most investigative officers will become upset or threatening after you tell them you are not answering any questions. This is the best initial step you can take to defend yourself even if it means being arrested and taken to jail.

Q: What is a misdemeanor?

A: In Wisconsin, a misdemeanor is a crime with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $10,000.00 fine. There can be different classes of misdemeanors but never can the maximum penalty exceed one year in jail. Generally a conviction for a misdemeanor does not include a restriction on the right to possess firearms however there is an important exception. By virtue of 1996 amendments made to the Gun Control Act of 1968 persons convicted of domestic violence offenses are prohibited under Federal Law from possessing firearms. Section (g) (9) prohibits anyone “who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from legally possessing a firearm.

Furthermore, it is unlawful for any person to possess a firearm “who is subject to court order that (a) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate; (b) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and (c) (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.”

Q: What is a felony?

A: A felony is a crime which carries with it a potential sentence of at least one year and one day in prison. In Wisconsin, other serious consequences flow from a felony conviction including prohibiting a convicted felon from possessing a firearm. A convicted felon also loses the right to vote, can never hold public office, and must submit a sample of their DNA to the DNA Database in Wisconsin.

If a person is convicted of a sexual assault or sexual offense that person will be required to register as a sex offender. If a person is convicted of a serious child sex offense that person cannot engage in any occupation or participate in a volunteer position that requires that person to work or interact primarily and directly with children under the age of sixteen.

Q: What happens if I am arrested and taken to the county jail?

A: You will be fingerprinted and photographed. You will either be released on personal recognizance or you will have to wait for a bail commissioner to set bail. Provide basic personal information only and do not make any statements verbal or written, about the allegations. Remain silent.

Q: What is bail?

A: Bail is cash money or other property that is deposited with the court to ensure that the person accused will return to court when he or she is required to do so. If the defendant returns to court as required, the bail will be returned at the end of the case, even if the defendant is ultimately convicted. Sometimes cash bail is used to satisfy court costs or fines. However, if the defendant does not come to court when required or violates his or her bail conditions, the bail will be forfeited to the court and will not be returned.

Q: How much will it cost to hire a lawyer?

A: The cost of defending against criminal charges will vary depending upon the nature and severity of the charges, the facts of the case, and other factors including our reputation. We usually have a two set fee structure for representation in criminal cases. The first fee is a non-refundable retainer which covers all representation at the trial level unless the case proceeds to a jury or court trial. If the case proceeds to a jury or court trial then an additional non-refundable retainer fee is due three (3) weeks prior to the first scheduled jury trial date. If those fees are not tendered the firm will withdraw from further representation. The reason we have a two set fee structure is to allow us to thoroughly investigate, research, and develop defense strategies prior to the determination of whether proceeding to a jury trial is in our client’s best interest or not. That is a joint decision made with the client. Nonetheless, an individual has an absolute right to a jury trial regardless of our assessment of the likelihood of success on the merits.

We provide a free initial consultation so that we can fully assess your case and discuss fee arrangements. Do not be reluctant to ask specific questions about potential representation, there are no dumb questions and if hired our job and goal is to ethically, aggressively and thoroughly defend your case. Our goal is to win. We promise that you will be provided with straightforward advice about the best manner in which to proceed including potential likelihood of success on the merits, evidentiary and dispositive issues and chances of success at trial or on appeal.

Q: Do you handle all kinds of criminal cases?

A: At Stangl Law Offices, S.C. we have successfully defended numerous state and federal felony cases ranging from first degree intentional homicide, drug trafficking and drug conspiracies, fraud and other “white collar” crimes, drunk driving, as well as criminal domestic and misdemeanor cases.

We have also successfully represented clients in both federal and state appellate courts having convictions reversed and have argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


Madison WI Criminal Defense Attorney

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