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How Does The “Pursuit Law” Work?

2022-01-05T00:31:12+00:00November 8th, 2021|

Police chases are a staple of evening TV. The police officer is chasing a person, and the person runs through a house. Typically on TV, the police officer just barges through the door, and flying tackles the person to the ground. But is that how it works in the real world? Or put differently, if you're suspected of having committed a crime, is it legal for a police officer to follow you into your home? The answer, as with many things in law, is a very firm "well, that depends." There was a case in California where a man named Lange was playing loud

What’s Wisconsin’s SafeRide Program?

2022-01-05T00:27:40+00:00November 1st, 2021|

The best OWI defense is to never have gotten behind the wheel in the first place. And the safest way to get home from a bar, if you've been drinking, is getting a ride from a cab or a friend. Sometimes that's not obvious in the moment, of course. Sometimes you don't have a friend available. And given the cost of cab fares, sometimes it's not affordable - especially at the end of the night when you realize you're out of money and miles away from home. This results in many people driving home who shouldn't be getting behind the wheel in the first place.

Wisconsin Appeals “Implied Consent” Decision

2022-01-05T00:18:33+00:00October 25th, 2021|

We hear about people appealing their cases all the time, but one thing that doesn't get considered sometimes is that the state can also make appeals. That just recently happened in the state of Wisconsin. Let's give a quick review of the issue. In 2017, William Forrett was pulled over by a police officer and arrested for OWI. This was his sixth OWI offense, but two decades previous he had refused to submit to a no-warrant blood draw after being pulled over for suspicion of operating while intoxicated. He was therefore sentenced - for his sixth offense - as if it was his seventh OWI

Why Can’t I Just Represent Myself?

2022-01-05T00:13:10+00:00October 18th, 2021|

The short answer is "you can". There's technically nothing, legally, that prevents you from doing so. There's even a term for it - "pro se defense". And I know that it's tempting. I mean, you're a smart person. You've probably watched television, and have some idea how the legal system works. It doesn't look that hard, and, well....you've seen what lawyers charge. I understand. The thing that's worth noting is that when a lawyer gets in trouble, the first thing they almost always do is consult with a lawyer. Another lawyer, not themselves. In fact, Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said "a lawyer who

What Does “Legal Precedent” Mean?

2022-01-05T00:06:14+00:00October 11th, 2021|

In law there's a concept called "stare decisis" ("starry de-cy-sis"), more commonly known as "legal precedent". To put this in very simplified terms, "legal precedent" is the relatively obvious idea that once a legal principle has been decided one way, it should be decided that way in the future. And the more it's been decided that one way, the harder it should be to change. This is generally good for people charged with crimes, because it means the rules of the game are known ahead of time. A defense attorney can know how similar cases were decided, how appeals from similar cases were handled, and

How Do Appeals Work?

2022-01-05T00:03:48+00:00October 4th, 2021|

Anybody who's ever watched evening TV has heard of the legal concept of "appeals". And I write a lot on this blog about decisions that come from appeals courts. But how does that all work? The short answer is that an appeal is what happens when one side of a case believes that something related to a trial was done incorrectly, or a pretrial ruling was decided incorrectly, in such a way that the outcome of the trial was unjust or improper. This can include almost anything from the initial actions of the police officers to the judge's instructions to the jury, but it's that

What Is Implied Consent?

2022-01-05T00:02:39+00:00September 27th, 2021|

"Consent" is a big deal in our justice system. In fact, if you're reporting a crime, one of the first questions they ask you is that if you gave the person permission (consent) to do whatever it was they did. And there's also a concept called "implied consent". "Implied consent" means that you're considered to have agreed to something, even though you haven't explicitly agreed. For example, if you're in a car accident and you're unconscious, doctors don't have to wake you up, get you to where you can talk, and then ask permission to stop the massive bleeding caused by the accident. Legally

What’s “Civil Asset Forfeiture”?

2022-01-04T23:50:40+00:00September 20th, 2021|

We all learned in school that people have rights. Among other things, we learned that you can’t be deprived of your property except by a legal process that involves a court. You get the ability to make a defense, and a judge or a jury decides. And all of that is true, most of the time. But imagine this scenario. A Wisconsin kid gets arrested on drug charges. In a panic, he calls his mom and tells her that she needs to post bail for him. And the mother does everything correctly. She calls the jail. She asks what the procedure is for her to

Should Prostitution Be Legalized?

2022-01-04T23:48:44+00:00September 13th, 2021|

It’s been called the “world’s oldest profession” - prostitution. As far back as society has records, we’ve had people who were willing to exchange sex for money. It was even a legal and accepted part of certain religious ceremonies several thousand years ago. Of course our modern society tends to frown on prostitution for a variety of reasons. But are those reasons good? Or should we legalize it? There are numerous arguments opposing legalization of prostitution. Let’s look at a few common ones and the reasons those arguments don’t hold water. “It’s immoral.” Even if we assume that it’s immoral by modern ethical codes (which

Chalking Tires & Search Warrants

2022-01-04T23:42:32+00:00September 6th, 2021|

We’ve all parked on public streets. And if you’ve done it frequently, you’re probably familiar with the police practice of marking tires with chalk to determine whether or not your vehicle has been parked too long. Is that practice legal? That was tested recently in the case of Alison Taylor, a Saginaw, MI resident with over a dozen parking tickets. She took her case all the way to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and asked that very question. In what may be a landmark decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says “no”. The reasoning for this is a bit technical, but let me

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