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Misdemeanor Truancy in Wisconsin

By Carlos Gamino

Everybody – well, almost everybody – has skipped school at some point. Usually it’s harmless, but the state of Wisconsin has truancy laws on the books that say parents or guardians can be charged with and found guilty of a misdemeanor when a child is truant from school.

What is Truancy?

Truancy is “the action of staying away from school without good reason.” While we’re sure every teen who skips school is pretty sure they have a good reason, the state sees it differently. In Wisconsin, school attendance is required – and if a student is “absent without an acceptable excuse for part or all of 5 or more days on which school is held during a school semester,” he or she is considered a habitual truant.

If your child is habitually truant from school under this definition, his or her school must send you a notification, arrange a conference, develop an “Attendance Improvement Plan” and monitor your child’s attendance for another 30 days.

But there can be criminal consequences, too. The parents of a habitually truant child could be hauled into court – and depending on the student’s age and the circumstances related to his or her absences, the court can levy fines of up to $500 and send the parents to jail for up to 30 days. That’s just for a first offense! The court can also require the student to receive counseling and perform community service, as well as to attend after-school, weekend or summer school sessions to make up for the school sessions he or she missed.

What if You’re Threatened With Jail for Your Child’s Truancy?

Many parents choose to call an attorney when they’re faced with the threat of criminal penalties for a child’s truancy. If your child has been in trouble for skipping school and you’re concerned about what it means for you, give us a call at 414-383-6700 today. We’ll answer your questions during a free consultation.

Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T14:03:53-05:00July 19th, 2022|Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Misdemeanor Truancy in Wisconsin

Will You Go to Juvenile Detention for Theft in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, juveniles – people who are under the age of 18 (or, in some cases, under the age of 17) – are expected to follow the same laws that adults follow. Therefore, minors can be charged with crimes. They can also be sentenced to punishments for breaking the laws. But will you go to juvenile detention for theft in Wisconsin? This guide explains.

Will You Go to Juvenile Detention for Theft in Wisconsin?

The consequences of a theft conviction in Wisconsin depend on the value of what was stolen, as well as the offender’s age and criminal history. If you are convicted of theft, you may face any or all of the following penalties:

  • Jail time or detention
  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Restitution (compensating the victim for their loss)
  • Community service

You may also have to complete a theft prevention or intervention program. A judge may order you to participate in this type of program if you’re a first-time offender. If you are a juvenile, you may be sentenced according to the Wisconsin Juvenile Code. This means that you may not go to jail, but you may be placed in a juvenile detention center. The length of your stay will depend on the seriousness of your offense and your criminal history. If you are convicted of theft as an adult, you may be sent to prison. The length of your sentence will depend on the value of what was stolen and your criminal history.

Related: What you need to know about JIPS

What is Juvenile Detention in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin’s juvenile detention system houses youth who are awaiting trial or have been sentenced to a term of incarceration. The purpose of juvenile detention is to provide a safe and secure environment for these young people while they await the resolution of their legal case.

In Wisconsin, there are two types of juvenile detention centers: county detention centers and state detention facilities. County detention centers are operated by the county sheriff’s office, while state detention facilities are overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Both types of juvenile detention centers have strict rules and regulations that must be followed in order to maintain a safe and secure environment for the young people in their care. With that said, staying in a juvenile detention center is no picnic. It’s a lot like jail.

Related: What is juvenile delinquency?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Theft and Juvenile Detention?

Minors who have been charged with crimes in the state of Wisconsin have the right to legal representation. If your child has been charged with theft, we may be able to help. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a consultation with an experienced professional who can get you the answers you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T14:08:03-05:00July 7th, 2022|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Will You Go to Juvenile Detention for Theft in Wisconsin?

High Schoolers and Disorderly Conduct Over Summer Break

By Carlos Gamino

Many high schoolers get into trouble over summer break, and often, it’s nothing too serious. But what about disorderly conduct charges? how serious are they, and will your child end up going to jail? This guide explains.

What is Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin?

During summer break, many kids find themselves with a little more free time than they’re used to – and sometimes that leads to disorderly conduct charges.

Disorderly conduct is a catch-all statute that covers a wide range of activities, including public intoxication, fighting, making unreasonable noise and disrupting public gatherings. In general, disorderly conduct occurs when someone intentionally behaves in a way that is likely to cause public disorder or alarm.

Related: Examples of disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

Can Minors Be Charged With Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, a minor can be charged with disorderly conduct if they engage in any type of behavior that disturbs the peace or causes public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm. For minors, this often includes things like fighting, making loud noises or disrupting school. If convicted, a minor can face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Additionally, the court can order the minor to perform community service or attend counseling.

Related: The basics of disorderly conduct laws in Wisconsin

Can a Minor Fight Disorderly Conduct Charges in Court?

Yes, a minor can fight disorderly conduct charges in court. The process may be different than for an adult, but it is still possible to contest the charges and potentially have them dismissed. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Disorderly Conduct Charges for a Minor Over Summer Break?

If your child has been charged with disorderly conduct over summer break (or at any other time), we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney who can answer your questions and create a strategy that gets your child the best possible outcome in their case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T14:09:07-05:00July 5th, 2022|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on High Schoolers and Disorderly Conduct Over Summer Break

Can Police Question Your Child if You’re Not Present?

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, police are allowed to question minors. In some cases, police have to get parental consent first; in others, the police may simply arrest or question a child without their parents knowledge. Regardless of the situation, children – like adults – are entitled to legal representation. If your child is in trouble, you have the right to contact an attorney who can represent them.

Can Police Question Your Child if You’re Not Present?

In some cases, it’s legal for the police to question a child without that child’s parents or legal guardians present. However, those circumstances are limited, and if the police do not follow the proper protocol, they can find themselves in trouble.

Related: Juvenile delinquency in Wisconsin

What Rights Do Children Have for Police Questioning?

Just like adults, children have the right to legal representation, as well as the right to avoid incriminating themselves. Additionally, children have the right to remain silent and to have parents or an attorney present when they’re being questioned by the police. If you have a minor child, you should let them know that they can, and should, request that their parents be notified immediately when the police attempt to question them. You should also let your minor child know that they may request an attorney before answering any questions.

Related: The most common juvenile crimes (and what to do if your child is in trouble)

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Juvenile Offense?

If your child has been accused of a crime, we may be able to help. Call our office now at 414-383-6700 or get in touch with us online to schedule a free juvenile criminal defense consultation. Whether or not the police have questioned your child, they have rights – and we may be able to help preserve them.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T20:51:38-05:00May 12th, 2022|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Can Police Question Your Child if You’re Not Present?

What Happens When Senior Pranks Lead to Criminal Charges?

By Carlos Gamino

The end of the school year is right around the corner, and that means many high school seniors are currently planning the pranks they’ll pull before they leave public school for good. Unfortunately, though, many senior pranks end up being actual crimes – even something as seemingly silly and lighthearted as pulling the fire alarm can lead to criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know about senior pranks leading to criminal charges, as well as how you can help your child (or yourself) in the event that this happens.

Can Senior Pranks Lead to Criminal Charges?

Some senior pranks are actually crimes, ranging from property destruction to disorderly conduct. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, a person who pulls a senior prank could end up paying fines or even spending time in jail.

Related: Disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

But Aren’t Most Senior Pranks Harmless?

The most common senior pranks are generally harmless, such as hiding notes in library books, skipping class to gather on the football field, hiring a mariachi band to follow the principal around for a day or wrapping a teacher’s desk in plastic wrap – but some, such as those that involve actual destruction of property or require emergency services to show up at the school, are criminal offenses in the state of Wisconsin.

Related: Can you beat a disorderly conduct charge?

Penalties for Some Senior Pranks

Minors who are 17 or older are typically charged as adults – and that means they face adult penalties that can stick with them for the rest of their lives. The penalties can vary, as well. For example, pulling the fire alarm when there’s no fire can result in a conviction for a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Criminal damage to property can be a felony, and it’s punishable by prison time (that’s prison, not jail) and hefty fines.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Senior Pranks and Criminal Charges?

If your child has been accused of a crime based on a senior prank, we may be able to help. Call our office right away at 414-383-6700 or schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney online. Our team can give you the legal advice you need to help protect your child’s future and get the best possible outcome in their case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T20:54:46-05:00May 9th, 2022|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on What Happens When Senior Pranks Lead to Criminal Charges?

Juvenile Delinquency Cases in Wisconsin

By Carlos Gamino

Generally speaking, charges for criminal offenses that the state of Wisconsin brings against kids who are under the age of 17 start in children’s court through delinquency petitions. These cases go through the juvenile court in an effort to rehabilitate kids rather than putting them in “the system.” However, adult courts have jurisdiction over some crimes committed by juveniles. Here’s what you need to know.

What Cases Do Juvenile Courts in Wisconsin Have Jurisdiction Over?

The vast majority of criminal cases against kids go through criminal courts. For example, if a 13-year-old picks up a drug charge, a 14-year-old picks up an assault charge, or a 15-year-old is charged with disorderly conduct, those cases will most likely end up in juvenile court.

Related: All about juvenile law in Wisconsin

However, there are some cases that go to adult criminal courts, including:

  • any juvenile alleged to have committed an act of first-degree intentional homicide
  • anyone 10 or older who is alleged to have committed an act of first-degree reckless homicide or second-degree intentional homicide
  • assault or battery by a prisoner after a juvenile has already been found delinquent and placed in juvenile corrections, detention or secure residential care
  • any criminal offense committed by a juvenile who has been convicted of, or has a matter pending for, any offense after having been waived into adult court or for which original jurisdiction is in adult court

Sometimes prosecutors want to send cases to adult court, too – even if they don’t fall into one of those categories. Prosecutors can ask for a waiver in a juvenile delinquency proceeding if the child is 14 or older and faces charges of:

  • Almost any felony that is associated with gang involvement
  • Burglary
  • Felony murder
  • First-degree sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Manufacturing, distributing or delivering a controlled substance
  • Robbery
  • Second-degree reckless homicide
  • Taking a hostage

If a child is 15 or older, a prosecutor can ask to send any case to adult court. It’s up to the judge in the case to determine whether the case should remain in juvenile court or should be handled in adult court (with adult consequences, of course).

Related: Are parents financially responsible for their child’s crimes?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Juvenile Delinquency Case?

If you need to speak to a lawyer about a juvenile delinquency case, we’re here to help. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation. Our team will be happy to answer your questions and develop a legal strategy that helps your child get the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-01-28T13:07:53-06:00January 18th, 2022|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Juvenile Delinquency Cases in Wisconsin

What Happens if You’re Caught With a Knife in School?

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

Carrying a knife is perfectly legal in Wisconsin – under most circumstances. It’s not legal to carry a knife in school (or any publicly owned building, for that matter). But what will happen to you if you’re caught with a knife in school? This guide explains.

What Happens if You’re Caught With a Knife in School?

Most people can legally carry knives with blades of any length in the state of Wisconsin. In fact, you can legally carry a kitchen knife, a machete, a switchblade or anything else, as long as you’re not prohibited from possessing a firearm and as long as you’re not in a school or another publicly owned building.

If you do have a knife in a school or other public building, Wisconsin law says you’re guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Even if you’re a minor, the state may choose to charge you as an adult, which means you’re subject to the same jail time that any other adult would be.

Related: Are you financially responsible for your child’s crimes?

The Penalty for a Class A Misdemeanor for Carrying a Knife in School

If you’re convicted of a Class A misdemeanor for carrying a knife in school, you could end up going to jail for up to 9 months and paying fines of up to $10,000.

Misdemeanors, like all other criminal offenses, go on your permanent criminal record. They’ll stay there unless you’re eligible to clear your record later – and that’s not as common (or as easy) as you may think. That means future employers, landlords and other people who do background checks on you will likely see that you have a criminal history.

Related: Delinquency petitions in Wisconsin

What to Do if You’re Caught With a Knife at School

If you’re caught with a knife at school, your best bet may be to contact a Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer. Call us at 414-383-6700 to set up your free consultation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you the legal advice you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-11-23T11:42:06-06:00October 25th, 2021|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on What Happens if You’re Caught With a Knife in School?

Are You Financially Responsible for Your Child’s Crimes?

By Carlos Gamino

If your child commits a crime and causes property damage (or a crime that comes with other types of financial liability), you could be on the hook for paying for it. Here’s what you need to know about Wisconsin’s parent financial responsibility laws.

Are You Financially Responsible for Your Child’s Crimes?

As a parent, you’re subject to Wisconsin’s parent financial responsibility laws. If your child acts willfully, maliciously or wantonly, or even negligently, the state can hold you liable. A parent’s financial responsibility is currently limited under the law (although that can change at any time, so you should consult with an attorney for the most current information) – but it can be as high as $20,000 for damages in some cases.

Related: Delinquency petitions in Wisconsin

The state can hold you liable for things like:

  • Property damage
  • Repairing or replacing damaged property
  • Removing graffiti
  • The value of unrecovered stolen property
  • Harm resulting from personal injury to another person

There’s another statute that imposes liability on criminal cases involving motor vehicles. Wisconsin Statute § 343.15(2)(b) says that if your child (or a child you’re responsible for) uses a motor vehicle in a negligent and willful manner, you face unlimited liability.

Related: CHIPS in Wisconsin

Which Parents Can Face Liability?

The state can hold you liable if you have legal custody of the child through a court order, custody that’s agreed upon under a legal stipulation or actual physical custody of a child. Obviously, if you didn’t have the reasonable ability to exercise supervision and control of the child (because the child is uncontrollable or because someone interfered with your ability), the law provides you with certain protections.

Has Your Child Gotten Into Trouble With the Law?

If your child has been accused of committing a crime, we may be able to help. Call our office at 414-383-6700 today to talk about your situation – we’ll answer your questions and give you the guidance you need.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-01-17T06:58:51-06:00March 17th, 2021|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Are You Financially Responsible for Your Child’s Crimes?

CHIPS in Wisconsin

What is CHIPS in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

The state of Wisconsin has protections in place for juveniles who need help, and special court cases – called CHIPS cases – are opened to provide special services for kids. CHIPS stands for child in need of protection and/or services, and these cases are available until children reach the legal age of responsibility. Until that time, kids depend on adults for care and protection.

When parents can’t – or won’t – properly care for their children, the juvenile court may step in. That can happen in parent and guardian cases, as well as neglect and abuse cases.

CHIPS in Parent and Guardian Cases

CHIPS in parent and guardian cases typically involve children:

  • Who don’t have a parent or guardian
  • Whose parent or guardian has petitioned the court for help with the child’s care
  • Who petition the court for themselves
  • With inadequate care from a parent
  • Who have been abandoned

CHIPS in Neglect and Abuse Cases

CHIPS in neglect and abuse cases typically involve kids who:

  • Have been abuse victims in the past
  • Are at-risk for abuse
  • Have been placed for care or adoption unlawfully
  • Have been neglected or who are at substantial risk for neglect
  • Are suffering from emotional damage or an alcohol or drug abuse impairment
  • Have not been immunized as required by law

How Does a CHIPS Case Start?

Typically, a CHIPS case begins when someone makes a report of abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services or Social Services. A caseworker will evaluate the situation and see if the report appears to be valid; if he or she doesn’t find any safety issues, the case can be closed. If the case worker does find safety issues, he or she will document the issues and file a petition.

Are CHIPS Court Hearings Confidential?

CHIPS court hearings are confidential, which means it’s probably in your best interest to have an attorney represent you.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a CHIPS Case?

If you’re involved – or about to become involved – in a CHIPS case, call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney as soon as possible. We may be able to help.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T10:07:06-05:00November 17th, 2020|Family Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on CHIPS in Wisconsin

Delinquency Petitions in Wisconsin

Delinquency Petitions in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

The state of Wisconsin uses delinquency petitions to protect children from being charged as adults in criminal cases. Sometimes, particularly when kids are under the age of 10, the state pursues JIPS action (that stands for juvenile in need of protection or services) rather than a delinquency petition; likewise, a prosecutor can pursue a JIPS action when the court finds that a child is incompetent to proceed, as well as in some other cases.

A delinquency petition is an option to start a criminal case against a child. When the prosecutor in such a case wants to send the child to an adult criminal court, where he or she will be tried as an adult, the prosecutor can file a waiver petition. Generally, prosecutors can ask to send a child to an adult court when the child is 14 or older and is charged with certain crimes, such as:

  • Felony murder
  • Second-degree reckless homicide
  • First-degree sexual assault
  • Hostage-taking or kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Manufacturing, distribution or delivery of a controlled substance
  • Nearly any felony that’s tied into gang involvement

Prosecutors can seek waivers for any child over the age of 15 for any crime. For most people, the best option when a prosecutor is seeking a waiver is to find solid legal defense – your attorney can fight to keep the case out of adult court. When a child is tried as an adult, he or she faces the same penalties that any adult would for committing a criminal offense.

Related: What is juvenile delinquency in Wisconsin?

What is a Reverse Waiver?

When the state charges a child with a crime in adult court, the child can ask the court to send the case back to the juvenile court. This is called a reverse waiver.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Delinquency Petition?

If your child has been accused of a crime, we may be able to help. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T10:09:37-05:00November 9th, 2020|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Delinquency Petitions in Wisconsin

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