Phones answered 24/7 414-383-6700

Juvenile Law

Home/Criminal Law/Juvenile Law

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice FAQ - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many parents whose children have been accused of committing a crime, you probably have a lot of questions – and answers are a little bit hard to come by. Check out these juvenile justice FAQ to get answers, and if you don’t see the answer to your questions here, call us at 414-383-6700 to ask during a free consultation.

Juvenile Justice FAQ

Some of the most common questions we answer about juvenile justice and how the system works in Wisconsin are listed here. Remember, we’re also happy to answer case-specific questions during a free consultation, as well.

What is Delinquency Supervision?

Delinquency supervision is managed by social workers and is a program designed to keep kids out of trouble while holding them accountable for what they’ve done. It also helps provide treatment and services that help kids build competencies. Cases that result in delinquency supervision are overseen by social workers when kids are at home, in school and in the community. In many ways, it’s like adult probation.

Can My Child Be Charged With a Crime When Nobody Called Me?

The police can question and talk to your child without you being present. For this reason, it’s important that you teach your children to use their right to remain silent during police questioning until you or an attorney are present. (And even when you’re there, it’s typically best to wait for an attorney.) Because the police can talk to your child without you being present, it’s completely possible for your child to be charged with a crime and for you to find out about it after the fact.

How Will a Juvenile Record Affect My Child’s Future?

Having a juvenile criminal record can affect your child’s future. However, juveniles who have been found to be delinquent under the Wisconsin Juvenile Code can petition the court for expungement when they turn 17 – but only if it was a first offense, the child has completed all the terms of his or her sentence, the juvenile will benefit from the expungement, and society won’t be harmed by it. Expungement is not a right – even when the entire case takes place in juvenile court.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent My Child in the Juvenile Justice System?

If your child is in legal trouble, you have the right to hire an attorney – and for many people, that’s the best course of action. Your child’s attorney will be able to answer your questions and will work to protect your child’s rights every step of the way.

Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T10:12:51-05:00October 26th, 2020|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Justice

What Are Examples of Delinquent Acts in Wisconsin?

What Are Examples of Delinquent Acts in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Kids under the age of 17 are considered juveniles in Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean they’re always tried as juveniles. In fact, some kids in Wisconsin are tried as adults long before they reach the age of majority. But what are some examples of delinquent acts that could get a minor into trouble in Wisconsin?

Examples of Delinquent Acts in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, nobody is allowed to contribute to the delinquency of a child – it’s a crime. The adult in that case can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.

But kids can, and do, commit crimes without an adult’s help. Some of the most common delinquent acts kids in Wisconsin commit include:

  • Truancy
  • Shoplifting
  • Simple battery

Here’s a closer look at each.

Truancy as a Delinquent Act

A lot of kids skip school from time to time – but the state can step in if skipping school becomes a habit rather than an isolated incident or two. (In fact, the state can even charge parents with a misdemeanor if a child is habitually truant.)

Shoplifting as a Delinquent Act

Juveniles sometimes shoplift for the thrill of it, because they’re pressured into doing so by their friends, or because they feel they need something that they or their family cannot afford. Regardless of the reason, shoplifting is one of the most common delinquent acts tried in courtrooms all across Wisconsin.

Simple Battery as a Delinquent Act

When juveniles fight, police can charge them with simple battery. That’s true even if nobody’s seriously (or even slightly) hurt.

There are a number of other delinquent acts, too, and many of them involve things like destruction of property, possession of marijuana and other violations of the law that seem to pale in comparison with the crimes that adults commit.

However, the problem isn’t just that the child can face long-lasting consequences. Parents in Wisconsin can be held liable, as well.

What if Your Child Gets Into Trouble?

If your child is accused of a crime, we may be able to help. Call us at 414-383-6700 to talk about your situation during a free consultation. We’ll answer all your questions and provide you with a path forward that gets your whole family the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T10:24:35-05:00September 15th, 2020|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on What Are Examples of Delinquent Acts in Wisconsin?

What Are the Most Common Juvenile Crimes in Wisconsin?

The Most Common Juvenile Crimes – Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Like adults, kids can commit crimes – and sometimes they’re fairly serious. However, the vast majority of crimes that juveniles commit are “kid stuff.” But even then, those crimes can come with serious consequences that can follow a child well into adulthood.

What Are the Most Common Juvenile Crimes?

Across the board, the most common juvenile crimes include things like:

  • Vandalism
  • Shoplifting
  • Simple assault
  • Underage drinking
  • Joyriding

While most of these don’t sound terribly serious to us, as adults, the consequences can be really rough on kids’ futures. The problem is that although the juvenile justice system tries to focus on rehabilitating kids, some are still tried as adults – and they face adult penalties.

What Happens When Kids Are Tried as Juveniles?

Because the juvenile justice system tries to be more about intervention than about punishment, it’s common for judges to sentence kids to things like community service, educational courses and rehabilitation. These are generally used instead of jail or juvenile detention. However, some offenses – particularly the more serious ones – do sometimes result in confinement.

What if Kids Are Tried as Adults in Wisconsin?

Sometimes kids’ cases are transferred to an adult court. In that case, the accused minor faces the same penalties as an adult would in that situation. If the child is convicted, he or she will have an adult criminal record – and that can seriously limit his or her future opportunities in education and employment.

Has Your Child Been Accused of a Crime?

If your child has been accused of a crime, you have the right to retain an attorney. Call us right away so we can help. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, talk to you about what could happen to your child, and help your family get the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T11:37:26-05:00August 1st, 2020|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on What Are the Most Common Juvenile Crimes in Wisconsin?

What is Juvenile Delinquency in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

What is Juvenile Delinquency in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

Juvenile delinquency is “the habitual committing of criminal acts or offenses by a young person, especially one below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible.” That means when someone who’s not old enough or mature enough to be tried as an adult repeatedly commits crimes, they’re considered a juvenile delinquent.

Being arrested as a juvenile in Wisconsin is serious – and it can come with serious consequences. Check out these three things you need to know, whether you’re the one who was arrested and charged with a crime or you’re reading this because your child has gotten into some trouble.

Related: Juvenile delinquency in Wisconsin

3 Things to Know About Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency can come with serious consequences. Here are three things you need to know:

1. The district attorney can petition the juvenile court and ask for a juvenile aged 14 or older to be tried as an adult. This can only happen under certain circumstances, such as when a child who is at least 14 years old and is alleged to have committed:

  • Aggravated burglary
  • Armed robbery
  • Felony murder
  • Hostage-taking
  • Kidnapping
  • Manufacturing or distribution of a controlled substance
  • Participation in gang activity
  • Reckless homicide
  • Sexual assault

2. Some offenses are subject to adult court supervision, such as when a juvenile who’s at least 10 years old who allegedly attempted or committed first-degree or second-degree murder, or reckless homicide. Likewise, a juvenile who has allegedly committed assault or battery while in a juvenile correctional facility (or residential center), or who has previously been considered delinquent, can be subjected to adult court supervision.

3. All 17-year-olds are automatically treated as adults in the Wisconsin criminal justice system. This is unfortunate, because people’s brains don’t even finish developing until they’re about 25 years old.

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

If your child has been accused of a crime – even one that wouldn’t require an adult trial – we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T11:58:08-05:00May 29th, 2020|Juvenile Law|Comments Off on What is Juvenile Delinquency in Wisconsin?

Can I Send My Child to Juvenile Detention?

By Carlos Gamino

Can I Send My Child to Juvenile Detention - Carlos Gamino

Juvenile detention centers – which are a bit like jail for minors, where children are supervised and kept in a regulated environment – are part of the Wisconsin criminal justice system. In Wisconsin, there are Type 1 and Type 2 juvenile correctional facilities. Each has its own purpose, and they’re designed to be used in sentencing. In other words, minors who commit crimes and move through the criminal justice system can be sentenced to spend time at one of Wisconsin’s juvenile detention centers.

Can I Send My Child to Juvenile Detention?

Parents cannot voluntarily send a child to a state juvenile detention facility. They’re only used through the court systems. However, some desperate parents use “scared straight” programs and “boot camps” to try to rehabilitate their kids. These programs exist, but they’re not the types of things that judges really order.

Related: When can minors be tried as adults in Wisconsin?

These types of programs have been subject to numerous studies, and usually, the results aren’t flattering. The arrest rate after official Scared Straight programs is actually higher than it is for teens who never participate in these programs. Many studies show that these types of interventions are ineffective – and worse, many of them are harmful for children who engage in delinquent behaviors.

Really, experts believe that these types of programs fail for the reason they’re supposed to succeed. Teens who are exposed to the structure they discover exists in prisons and boot camps actually crave it.

Related: Wisconsin CHIPS, JIPS and juvenile delinquency attorneys

What Are Wisconsin’s Juvenile Detention Facilities?

Wisconsin has Type 1 and Type 2 juvenile detention facilities.

Type 1 facilities uses physical security mechanisms, like fences and locked doors. The Type 1 juvenile correctional facilities here are:

  • Lincoln Hills School (boys)
  • Copper Lake School (girls)
  • Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center

Type 2 facilities are those considered “institutions without walls.” They’re still correctional facilities, but they’re less like jails and are reserved for different types of offenses or youth who have displayed good behavior in Type 1 facilities.

Related: Help! My child was arrested!

Do You Need a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney?

If your child has gotten into trouble, it’s important that he or she has caring, compassionate representation. Your child’s attorney can help ensure that your child gets a fair trial – and, if necessary, the treatment he or she needs. Call us to tell us what happened. We’re available at 414-383-6700, and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation today.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T11:59:08-05:00May 25th, 2020|Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Can I Send My Child to Juvenile Detention?

How Long Do Drinking Tickets Stay on Your Record in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

How Long Do Drinking Tickets Stay on Your Record in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

Underage drinking is pretty serious – and in Wisconsin, it can result in big fines. So how long do drinking tickets stay on your record in Wisconsin? Here’s what you need to know.

How Long Do Drinking Tickets Stay on Your Record in Wisconsin?

Underage alcohol conviction records of juveniles – people who are under the age of 17 – are usually pretty confidential. The Department of Transportation can’t disclose information about a suspension, revocation or restriction to anyone other than a court, district attorney, municipal prosecuting attorney, law enforcement agency, the underage individual, or the underage individual’s parents or legal guardians. However, you can get an underage drinking ticket if you’re between the age of 17 and 21 – and those aren’t nearly as private.

Underage drinking tickets will show up on your driving record, which can impact your car insurance rates. You might lose scholarships or face other school-related penalties, too. Additionally, your license can be revoked or suspended – especially if you receive more than one of these types of tickets.

Related: What to do if your child is accused of underage drinking in Wisconsin

Fines for Underage Drinking Tickets

If you’re caught drinking before you reach legal age, you face these penalties:

  • First offense: Fines between $250 and $500, a suspended driver’s license, community service
  • Second offense within 12 months of the first violation: Fines of between $300 and $500, community service, driver’s license suspension
  • Third offense within 12 months of the two previous violations: Fines of between $500 and $750, community service, driver’s license suspension
  • Fourth or subsequent offense within 12 months of three or more previous violations: Fines of between $750 and $1,000, community service, suspension of driver’s license

Related: Penalties for underage drinking in Wisconsin

What if You’re Accused of Underage Drinking?

If you’ve been accused of underage drinking, your best bet may be to talk to a lawyer who can help you make sense of what you’re facing. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk about how long the ticket will stay on your record and answer your questions, and if we decide to work together, we’ll start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T12:10:37-05:00April 20th, 2020|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on How Long Do Drinking Tickets Stay on Your Record in Wisconsin?

Juvenile Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin

Juvenile Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Juvenile disorderly conduct in Wisconsin is much the same as adult charges of disorderly conduct – the only difference is the age of the person accused of committing the crime. Disorderly conduct is such a catch-all term; several types of behavior can fall under its umbrella. For example, any of these actions could be considered disorderly conduct:

  • Harassment
  • Fighting
  • Arguing loudly
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Public intoxication
  • Unlawful assembly
  • Vagrancy
  • Unlawful use of a telephone or computerized communication system
  • Loitering
  • Exhibiting reckless behavior in a crowded area

If your child has been accused of juvenile disorderly conduct in Wisconsin, it may be a good idea for you to talk to a disorderly conduct defense attorney who can help.

Juvenile Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin: Possible Penalties

Children in Wisconsin can be tried as adults if they’re age 17 or older. Juveniles who have previously been adjudged delinquent – regardless of age – can also be tried as adults.

Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, one type of disorderly conduct – unlawful assembly – is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty for that is up to 9 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Judges can sentence you to jail or fines, or a combination of both.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Juvenile Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin?

If your child has been accused of disorderly conduct, we may be able to help your family. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll ask you some questions about the case and determine the best course of action.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T12:12:14-05:00April 15th, 2020|Juvenile Law|Comments Off on Juvenile Disorderly Conduct in Wisconsin