Phones answered 24/7 414-383-6700

Criminal Law

Home/Criminal Law

Can You Use a Mental Illness Defense in Wisconsin?

By Criminal Defense Attorney Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin law allows people to use the “insanity” defense in criminal trials – but when is that an acceptable way to defend someone in court, and what could happen if you’re found to be unable to stand trial for allegedly committing a crime? Here’s what you need to know.

Is Mental Illness a Good Criminal Defense in Wisconsin?

Under Wisconsin law, it’s acceptable for a defendant in a criminal case to say that, at the time of the alleged crime, he or she was suffering from a mental disease or defect that made it hard to distinguish right from wrong. If that happens in a criminal case, the person using the insanity defense will have to be psychologically evaluated – and a qualified evaluator will have to make a determination about that person’s mental fitness.

Does Being Found Not Guilty Due to Insanity Mean You Walk Away?

If you use the insanity defense in your case, the court will most likely address whether you’re guilty or not guilty of the crime at trial before considering your mental state. Then, after the court determines whether you’re guilty or not guilty, it will determine whether you were not guilty by reason of insanity. Even if the court finds that you’re not guilty by reason of insanity, you aren’t likely to go straight home with no consequences. You’ll probably be sent to a mental healthcare facility until the healthcare professionals there – including a psychiatrist, psychologist or other qualified professional – determine that you’re not a serious threat to public safety.

What Should You Do if You’re Not Guilty of a Crime by Reason of Insanity?

If you have been accused of a crime but you’re not guilty by reason of insanity, we may be able to help you. Call our office today at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation now – we’re here to answer your questions and give you case-specific legal advice.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T22:29:22-05:00June 15th, 2021|Criminal Law|0 Comments

Will You Go to Prison for a Misdemeanor in Wisconsin?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you’re aware that there are differences between a felony and a misdemeanor – but you’re not exactly sure what they are. You may even be wondering whether you’ll go to prison for committing a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, so this guide explains.

Do You Go to Prison for Committing a Misdemeanor in Wisconsin?

You won’t go to prison for committing a misdemeanor in Wisconsin. In fact, you won’t go anywhere at all unless the court finds you guilty – and even then, the judge in your case may not sentence you to any time behind bars.

The state of Wisconsin classifies its misdemeanors and assigns maximum penalties that judges can apply for convictions. The most serious misdemeanors have the most serious penalties, which are:

  • Class A misdemeanors, which can send you to jail (not prison) for up to 9 months. You may also have to pay fines of up to $10,000.
  • Class B misdemeanors, which can put you behind bars (again, not prison, but jail) for up to 90 days. You may also be ordered to pay fines of up to $1,000.
  • Class C misdemeanors, with a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

If you’re convicted, the judge decides your sentence – but the maximum penalty for the worst misdemeanor is 9 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. You could go to jail for a few months, the full 9 months, or a few days; it all depends on the circumstances of your conviction.

Related: When is theft a felony in Wisconsin?

What’s the Difference Between Jail and Prison?

Some people use the terms jail and prison interchangeably, but that’s not correct. Jails are typically operated by county governments, and they fall under the county sheriff’s jurisdiction. People who go to jail have either been sentenced to serve time there or are waiting to go to court for a trial.

Prisons are reserved for people who have been convicted of felony crimes. Sometimes states own prisons, and sometimes private companies own them. People who are in prison are there for a longer stay than people who are in jail.

Do You Need Criminal Defense After Being Accused of Committing a Misdemeanor?

If the state has accused you of committing a misdemeanor crime, you may want to talk to an attorney. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your consultation. During your consultation, you can ask us your questions and get the facts you need – and if we work together, we’ll build a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T22:26:29-05:00June 13th, 2021|Criminal Law|0 Comments

What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court in Wisconsin?

By Defense Lawyer Carlos Gamino

Sometimes judges decide to let people pay money to get out of jail – as long as that person promises to show up for his or her court date. The money a person pays is like collateral; if the person doesn’t show up to court, the state keeps the money… and then issues a warrant for the person’s arrest. That means that when you bail yourself out of jail, you have two choices: You can show up for court and get your money back (minus the state’s fees), or you can fail to appear, lose your money, and get re-arrested anyway.

What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court in Wisconsin?

Failure to appear will get you into serious trouble. The state will send the police to pick you up, stick you in jail, and keep you there until your court date. And because the police will be nice enough to give you a ride to court, the judge knows you’ll be there at the appointed date and time.

This type of arrest warrant is called a capias. It’s essentially a document that tells the police to pick you up. In fact, any officer who finds you is required to arrest you.

Related: What to do if a capias is issued for you

The police can arrest you from anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at your child’s school, at work, or even at your own wedding – when the police find out where you are (and they may be actively looking for you rather than waiting to bump into you on the street), they’re going to come get you. If a judge has issued a capias for you, it may be best to turn yourself in. If that’s what you’re considering, you should consult with an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney to learn about your options.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer Because You Missed Court?

You can – and should – call an attorney if you’ve missed court. (And no, we won’t turn you in.) That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re up against, and your attorney can determine the best course of action for you. Additionally, your attorney can defend you in court from that point forward, whether you’re facing consequences from failing to appear or being tried for the crime that put you in jail in the first place.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T21:54:15-05:00June 7th, 2021|Criminal Law|0 Comments

Can You Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people accused of disorderly conduct, you know that you have a chance to fight your charges in court – but can you really beat a disorderly conduct charge in Wisconsin? Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Wisconsin?

Some people successfully beat disorderly conduct charges in Wisconsin. However, you can’t simply stroll into court and say, “I’m not guilty – let me off the hook.” If you want to beat a disorderly conduct charge, you have to give yourself a fighting chance by getting case-specific legal advice. For most people, the best solution is to work with a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney throughout the process.

Related: Juvenile disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

Is Self-Defense a Defense to Disorderly Conduct Charges?

In some cases, self-defense is a valid defense to disorderly conduct charges. For example, if someone attacks you and you neutralize – or try to neutralize – the threat, you may be able to show the court that you were only defending yourself and that you don’t deserve to be charged with disorderly conduct. (We bring this up because in a fight, the police often charge both parties with disorderly conduct – even the one who was simply defending him- or herself.

Related: What if you’re charged with disorderly conduct for fighting?

What’s the Penalty if You Lose a Disorderly Conduct Case?

If the state ends up charging you with a Class B misdemeanor for disorderly conduct, you’re looking at up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000. The judge in your case doesn’t have to sentence you to the maximum, but you do need to know that it’s possible you’ll spend up to three months in jail and pay hefty fines.

Will Disorderly Conduct Stay On Your Criminal Record Forever?

If you’re convicted of disorderly conduct, it will go on your criminal record. You may later qualify to clear your record (in rare cases), but your conviction will show up on criminal background checks until then. There is no guarantee that you’ll be eligible to clear your record. However, if the state drops its charges against you or you’re found not guilty, you may be able to have your arrest record cleared so that it doesn’t show up on a background check.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Beating Disorderly Conduct Charges in Wisconsin?

There’s never any way to predict how a judge will rule, but we can give you the legal advice and representation you need to get the best possible outcome in your case. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now – we’ll be happy to answer your questions and start building a strategy to help you.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-03-20T13:39:53-05:00June 1st, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Can You Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Wisconsin?

What is Computer Hacking, and is It a Crime?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

We’ve all seen movies and TV shows where hackers crack the code into a top-secret system, copy vital information, or change data – and if you’re like most people, you probably know that’s a crime. But how serious is it, and will you go to prison if you’re caught hacking into a computer system for any reason? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Computer Hacking?

Computer hacking is a term that describes accessing another person’s computer and data without permission. You can be charged with hacking if you willfully, knowingly and without authorization:

  • Modify data, computer programs or supporting documentation
  • Destroy data, computer programs or supporting documentation
  • Access computer programs or supporting documentation
  • Take possession of data, computer programs or supporting documentation
  • Copy data, computer programs or supporting documentation
  • Disclose restricted access codes or other restricted access information to unauthorized persons
  • Cause an interruption in service by submitting a message, or multiple messages, to a computer, computer program, computer system, or computer network that exceeds the processing capacity of the computer, computer program, computer system, or computer network

Is it Illegal to Look at Someone Else’s Computer Files Without Their Permission?

It’s illegal to view another person’s password-protected files, including email. That means even if you share a computer, you can’t log into someone else’s email account and start reading.

What is the Punishment for Computer Hacking?

Computer hacking is usually a Class A misdemeanor, and that means you could spend up to 9 months in jail. The court could also sentence you to pay a fine of up to $10,000. However, in some cases, computer hacking is a felony. It becomes a:

  • Class I felony if you do it to defraud or obtain property
  • Class F felony if it results in damage valued at more than $2,500
  • Class F felony if it causes an interruption or impairment of government operations or public communication, of transportation, or of a supply of water, gas or another public service
  • Class F felony if it creates a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm to another person

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Computer Hacking Charges?

If you’ve been accused of a computer crime – including computer hacking – we may be able to help you. Call 414-383-6700 for a free consultation; you can ask us your questions and we can start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-03-20T13:42:07-05:00May 31st, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What is Computer Hacking, and is It a Crime?

What Is Obstructing an Officer?

By Carlos Gamino

In Wisconsin, there’s a specific law that protects police officers from people getting in their way – and if you violate that law, a court could sentence you to time in prison. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does Obstructing an Officer Mean?

Resisting arrest or obstructing an officer are very serious charges in Wisconsin. The both fall under the same law, which says a person who “knowingly resists or obstructs an officer while such officer is doing any act in an official capacity and with lawful authority” can be charged with – and convicted of – a crime.

In fact, the court can convict you if you resisted or obstructed an officer who was doing something in an official capacity, and with lawful authority, provided that you knew that – and that you knew your conduct would resist or obstruct the officer.

You’re not going to get into trouble if you accidentally step in front of a cop who’s chasing a suspect on foot, or for being confused and saying that the bank robber you saw was 6 feet tall when she was 6 feet, 2 inches tall. However, you will get into trouble if you do either of those things on purpose, knowing that what you’re doing will prevent the officer from doing his or her job.

Resisting vs. Obstructing

Resisting means to oppose an officer by force or the threat of force. That resistance must be directed to that officer personally.

Obstructing means to make an officer’s job more difficult, or to prevent him or her from performing official duties. That can include knowingly giving false information or placing physical evidence with the intent to mislead the officer.

What Are the Penalties for Obstructing or Resisting Arrest?

If you’re charged with obstructing or resisting an officer, you’re most likely looking at a Class A misdemeanor. However, if the police officer is injured, you’re dealing with felony charges; if you’re convicted, you’ll most likely go to prison.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Resisting Arrest or Obstruction Charges?

If you’ve been accused of resisting arrest or obstructing an officer, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation. We’ll listen to your side of the story, ask you some questions, and answer your questions – and then we can get to work on developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-03-20T13:14:33-05:00May 23rd, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What Is Obstructing an Officer?

Disorderly Conduct in Milwaukee: The Basics

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like most people, you’ve heard of disorderly conduct – but what is it, and what happens if you’re convicted of disorderly conduct in court? Will you go to jail? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct is an umbrella term that covers quite a few types of crimes. In fact, the state of Wisconsin can convict you of disorderly conduct if the court believes that you:

  • Engaged in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct
  • Your conduct tended to cause or provoke a disturbance.

The state defines disorderly conduct this way: “Whoever, in a public or private place, engages in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance.”

Related: Examples of disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

Can You Go to Jail for Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin?

You can go to jail for disorderly conduct in Wisconsin. In addition to your initial arrest, when police bring you to the station for booking, you can be convicted of a Class B misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

How Do You Beat a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Wisconsin?

There’s no guarantee that you’ll beat a disorderly conduct charge in Wisconsin, but you can get the best possible outcome if you get legal advice related to your situation. You can fight these types of charges and, in some cases, defeat them – but you do need to know the law and how it applies to your situation. You can’t walk into court completely unprepared.

Related: All about disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

Will Disorderly Conduct Go on Your Criminal Record?

A criminal conviction will go on your criminal record. You may later qualify to clear your criminal record, but there’s no guarantee that a court will approve an expungement in your case – and that means in most cases, disorderly conduct will stay on your criminal record.

Do You Need to Talk to a Disorderly Conduct Attorney in Wisconsin?

If you’ve been accused of disorderly conduct, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a free consultation – we’ll answer your questions and help you start moving forward.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T21:59:35-05:00May 17th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Disorderly Conduct in Milwaukee: The Basics

Can Cops Lie?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

It might surprise you to learn that police can lie under some circumstances – including when you ask, “Are you a cop?” Despite the popular myth, police officers are allowed to say they’re not police. In fact, they’re allowed to tell other types of lies, as well.

When Can Cops Lie About Being Cops?

Police are permitted to lie about their law enforcement status. If they couldn’t, the undercover law enforcement system would fall apart. It’s legal for a police officer to say, “No, I’m not a cop” if you ask.

However, undercover police do have to identify themselves as law enforcement when they’re exercising their police powers, such as arresting someone.

What Other Lies Are Cops Allowed to Tell?

Police can stretch the truth, exaggerate, or outright lie to get a confession. In fact, it happens every day. The police could say to you, “Look, we have your best friend in the next room and she’s telling us everything, so you might as well admit that you committed this crime now,” even if it’s not true. Ultimately, the police want you to admit something so they can prove their case. They can also say things like, “If you tell us what really happened, the judge will go easy on you – judges like it when people cooperate,” or “You can tell me; it’s just between us, and we’re off the record.”

The point is that police can lie to you to try to catch you in the act of committing a crime or to get you to admit that you committed a crime.

What if You Lie to Police?

You shouldn’t lie to the police because they can charge you with another crime: obstruction. The best way to avoid lying to police is to keep quiet – you shouldn’t be talking to police without consulting a lawyer, anyway.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

If police lied to you, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 for your free consultation now. We’ll answer your questions and give you case-specific legal advice.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T22:03:08-05:00May 16th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Can Cops Lie?

What Does Probation Revocation Mean?

By Carlos Gamino

When a person is convicted of a crime and sentenced to supervision in Wisconsin, that person is legally obligated to stick to the conditions of his or her supervision. For example, you may not be allowed to leave the state, go to the bar and drink, or have contact with certain people. Maybe you have to attend anger management classes or therapy, or you might have to perform certain other tasks. If you violate those rules, you’re in danger of having your probation revoked.

What Does Probation Revocation Mean?

If your probation is revoked, it means you go back to court and the judge has the option of sending you to jail. Although your probation agent is supposed to consider alternatives to revoking your probation, that doesn’t always happen – and in some cases, probation agents feel that sending you to jail is the best choice. If your probation agent wants to send you to jail for violating the terms of your supervision, he or she must show the court one of the following is true:

  • Confinement is necessary to protect the public from you committing further criminal activity
  • You need correctional treatment that’s most effectively provided if you’re confined
  • If your probation was not revoked, it would unduly depreciate the seriousness of your probation violation

Related: What happens when you’re on probation?

Do You Need a Lawyer if Your Probation Agent is Trying to Revoke Your Probation?

For most people, the best thing to do in a situation like this is to work with a probation revocation attorney. Your lawyer can go to court with you and explain the situation – and that may be absolutely necessary in your case. That’s because sometimes, judges impose harsh sentences for probation violations; they often want to make an example out of offenders. Your attorney can show the judge your side of the story and argue on your behalf.

If you need to talk to an attorney about possible probation revocation, call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a free case review. We’ll talk about your situation and give you the legal advice you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T22:04:45-05:00May 10th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What Does Probation Revocation Mean?

What Happens if You Leave the Scene of an Accident?

By Carlos Gamino

In Wisconsin, it can be a crime to leave the scene of an accident – and it can be so serious that you end up in prison over it. So what really happens when you leave the scene of an accident?

Will You Get in Trouble if You Leave the Scene of an Accident?

If you operate a motor vehicle and are involved in a crash, you’re legally obligated to stay put. That means stopping your car immediately (as soon as it’s reasonably safe) and not going anywhere else. With that said, you don’t have to come to a dead stop in the middle of a busy expressway. However, you do have to pull off to the side, where it’s safer, right away.

You can be charged with hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident – and that’s a serious crime.

Hit and Run Charges in Wisconsin

If you are involved in a car accident, you’re legally required to stop and exchange information (including your name, address and your car’s vehicle registration number) with the other party. If the other party requests it, you’re supposed to show your driver’s license, as well. If anyone is injured, you also have to provide “reasonable assistance,” which can include taking that person to get medical help or making arrangements for an ambulance.

The state can convict you of hit and run if you:

  • Knew you were in an accident
  • The accident resulted in damage to a vehicle or injury or death to a person
  • You did not immediately (or almost immediately) stop your vehicle and stay at the scene

What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident depend on the outcome of the accident. For example, if nobody was hurt, the penalty can be a 6-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. However, if someone dies and you flee the scene of an accident, you’re looking at a Class D felony – and that’s significant time in prison.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

If you’ve been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, we may be able to help you. Call us to schedule a free consultation – we’re available at 414-383-6700. We’ll ask you some questions about your situation and answer your questions, as well, and if we can work together, we’ll start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-05-17T22:06:58-05:00May 2nd, 2021|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What Happens if You Leave the Scene of an Accident?