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K&L Blog

Legislators Consider Tougher Penalties as Police Increase Holiday OWI Patrols

A bill that would increase penalties for repeat OWI offenses is receiving major support from Wisconsin lawmakers. The bill was passed unanimously in the state Senate in November, and police organizations have also voiced their support for the measure.

In early December, state lawmakers held a public hearing on the bill, which calls for permanently taking away a driver's license if the driver is convicted of OWI four or more times, or if the driver is convicted of OWI twice along with two "qualifying convictions." The qualifying convictions include certain felonies, such as homicide involving a vehicle.

Wisconsin Counties Plan to Sue Drug Makers for Opioid Epidemic

Opioid abuse has been declared a public health crisis in Wisconsin, and the reality is that anyone can develop a problem with opioids. Addiction affects people from all walks of life, and courts are gradually coming to realize that they can't simply incarcerate the problem away.

In fact, efforts are underway not only to provide more rehabilitation and resources to people struggling with addiction; multiple counties in Wisconsin are planning to sue pharmaceutical companies for their role in causing the epidemic.

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Police Coerced Driver to Consent to Blood Test

If you don't know whether you should submit to a blood-alcohol test in Wisconsin, you are not alone.

An important thing to understand is that under Wisconsin law your driver's license could be revoked if you refuse a breath or blood test. Still, as a recent OWI case illustrates, multiple factors must be considered to determine the legality of forensic alcohol testing.

U.S. Attorney General Aims to Crack Down on Marijuana

There continues to be a lot of confusion about marijuana laws on the local, state and federal levels.

For example, Wisconsin has a patchwork of marijuana laws, with some cities having decriminalized possession of small amounts, but possession of any amount remains illegal on the state level.

Marijuana Law Reform: Wisconsin Lawmakers Urged to 'Get with the Times'

Since the governor signed a bill in April, use of cannabis oil to treat seizures is now legal in Wisconsin. However, possessing other forms of marijuana remains illegal at the state level, and people arrested for marijuana possession can face serious consequences, including jail time, fines and a criminal record.

If you have been charged with any kind of drug offense in Wisconsin, the first thing you should do is begin mounting your best defense.

Ignition Interlock Devices Are on the Rise in Wisconsin

Ignition interlock devices -- otherwise known as IIDs -- are increasingly part of the penalties for drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin and nationwide. In addition to preventing you from operating your vehicle if alcohol is detected on your breath, installation of an IID adds a significant cost to an OWI conviction.

In Wisconsin, if you are convicted of OWI for the first time with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, the law requires you to install an IID in your vehicle. IIDs are also required for any subsequent offenses.

3 Proposed Bills Would Increase Penalties for Drunk Driving in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin legislature is considering three bills that would increase penalties for people convicted of drunk driving.

A quick breakdown of the proposed legislation:

  • One bill would establish a five-year minimum prison sentence for individuals convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Currently, there is no minimum sentence for this offense.
  • The second bill would raise the minimum prison sentence for fifth and sixth OWI convictions from six months to 18 months.
  • And the third bill would prohibit all drivers convicted of OWI from driving any vehicle -- not just their own -- without an ignition interlock device.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Push for Legalization of Medical Marijuana

"We're not criminals. We no longer want to live in the shadows of society."

Those are the words of a Gulf War veteran who recently spoke at a Capitol news conference in Madison. He was referring to his use of marijuana to treat his back pain and PTSD. He said that, compared with the many drugs prescribed to him over the years, cannabis has been the most effective in treating his symptoms.

Many Unsure about Wisconsin's Patchwork of Marijuana Laws

Many people are under the impression that possessing a small amount of marijuana is no longer a crime in Wisconsin. But in reality, it's easy to run afoul of Wisconsin's marijuana laws, and what you don't know can hurt you.

Is possession of marijuana legal in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules on OWI Stop in Private Parking Garage

The area around a person's home, in legal terms, is called the curtilage. This area is constitutionally protected from warrantless search and seizure. For example, a police officer would generally need a warrant to enter and search your yard, your private garage or another area around your home where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

The question of what constitutes curtilage is a recurring issue in criminal law, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled on the matter in a Waukesha OWI case.

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