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DUI Checkpoints in Wisconsin

DUI Checkpoints in Milwaukee - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Some states allow DUI checkpoints – even neighboring Illinois has plenty of them set up in and around Chicago, where they catch drunk drivers and process them through the state’s criminal justice systems. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional, which means they’re perfectly legal for police to set up and use.

But in Wisconsin, police have to have probable cause to believe that you’re breaking a law to pull you over – and that means we don’t have DUI checkpoints. The police have to see you weaving between lines, failing to use a turn signal, or exhibiting other behaviors on the road that make them suspect you’ve been drinking and driving before they can pull you over and check to see if you’re sober.

Instead of DUI checkpoints, police create task forces staffed with police who actively look for drunk drivers. The task forces watch for people operating while intoxicated during times that people are more likely to drive drunk, such as late weekend nights, in areas where there are frequent OWI arrests (like in areas that have a lot of bars and restaurants).

Here’s what to do if you’re nabbed by a Milwaukee OWI task force:

  • Remain calm. Don’t give the police any reason to say you’re not being cooperative.
  • Be polite and respectful.
  • Be very careful about what you say, because the police can (and will) use anything you say against you in court.
  • Be prepared to be arrested if you refuse to take a field sobriety test. If you’re arrested, you will still be required to submit to chemical testing to see if you have alcohol in your system. Chemical testing can include a breath test, blood test, or in rarer cases, a urine test.

Were You Arrested for OWI by a Drunk Driving Task Force?

If police arrested you for drunk driving, regardless of what your blood alcohol content was at the time you were tested, we may be able to help you.

Call our experienced Milwaukee OWI attorneys right now at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. We’ll ask you some questions and answer all your questions, and we can begin building a defense strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T22:28:29-06:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on DUI Checkpoints in Wisconsin

Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Is Drinking and Boating Illegal in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Is drinking and boating illegal in Wisconsin?

Absolutely – and the penalties if you’re caught and convicted can be extremely harsh. The state considers drinking and boating such a serious crime because of the potential for someone to get hurt. It’s not uncommon for inebriated boaters to crash into other boats, slam into swimmers or hurt themselves out on the water, so the state created a serious set of penalties.

Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Wisconsin law prohibits anyone from operating a motorboat or waterskiing (or using other, similar devices on the water) if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bottom line is that if you’re caught – and many people are – you could end up spending time in prison.

Drinking and Boating: Implied Consent

Any time you operate, or even attempt to operate, a watercraft or other vessel on Wisconsin’s waterways, you’ve given your implied consent to an alcohol or drug test. What that means is that if you try to operate a watercraft, you’re telling the police that you’ll submit to testing if they think you’re under the influence.

If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or greater, or if you’re under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance, it’s illegal for you to:

  • Operate a motorboat
  • Use waterskis
  • Use a surfboard
  • Use a tube
  • Use another type of device

If you’re caught drinking and boating, you can face the same penalties you would face if you were operating a motor vehicle in the same conditions. You could end up going to jail, paying fines, and having your boat impounded.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer in Milwaukee About Drinking and Boating Charges?

If you’ve been charged with BUI, which stands for boating under the influence, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 or get in touch with our BUI lawyers online. We’ll answer your questions and help you start moving forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T21:50:13-06:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Do You Have Rights When You’re Pulled Over by Police?

What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over by the Police - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Many people aren’t sure about their rights when they’re pulled over by police. However, you do have rights – and it’s up to you to decide whether to exercise them. If you believe police violated your rights and then charged you with a crime, you may want to talk to a criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee immediately.

 What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over by the Police?

When you’re pulled over by police, the U.S. Constitution guarantees you certain rights. That’s true whether you’re the driver or the passenger. You have these rights even if you’re not a U.S. citizen or you’re here without the proper documentation.

You have the right to remain silent, and if you’re a passenger, you have the right to ask if you’re free to leave.

Your Right to Remain Silent

Most traffic stops are pretty routine, though, and often result in a ticket or a warning. Police may pull you over because they suspect you’ve committed an actual crime (rather than a traffic violation, like failing to use your turn signal), or they may suspect you’ve committed a crime (or you’re in the process of committing a crime) after they stop you for something else.

You don’t have to say anything. However, if you do choose to exercise your right to remain silent, you do have to let police know verbally. You can say, “I want to use my right to remain silent.”

If you’re pulled over, your best bet is to:

  • Stay calm
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel
  • Don’t reach for your ID or any of your documentation until the police officer says it’s okay to do so
  • Be respectful, even if you’re only telling the police that you want to use your right to remain silent

You can always answer the officer’s questions if you choose to, though. Just be careful not to admit guilt. For example, if the police officer asks, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” you can say, “Can you tell me?” If the police officer says, “I clocked you doing 50 in a 40 mile-per-hour zone,” you should say, “I see,” or “I understand.”

Your Right to Ask if You’re Free to Leave

If you’re the passenger in a vehicle and the driver is pulled over, you can ask the police if you’re free to leave. As long as police aren’t arresting you, you have the right to leave – and you should absolutely do so silently.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Violation of Your Rights or Being Charged With a Crime?

If you believe police pulled you over and illegally obtained evidence to charge you with a crime, we may be able to help you.

Call us at 414-383-6700 to tell us about your situation. We’ll ask you some questions (and answer yours), and if you’ve been charged with a crime, we can build a defense that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T21:35:32-06:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Do You Have Rights When You’re Pulled Over by Police?

Is Wisconsin on the Way to Tougher Drunk Driving Laws?

Is Wisconsin on the Way to Tougher Drunk Driving Laws – Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin state legislators are trying to change a pair of laws that affect people who are pulled over for drunk driving across the state. Currently, a few bills are making their way through the legislature to toughen up the penalties for drinking and driving – including one that would criminalize a first OWI rather than treating it as a traffic violation.

What Are the Drunk Driving Laws Now?

Currently, if you’re pulled over for OWI and have no prior offenses, police can treat it as a traffic violation. After an arrest for OWI, the police can take you into custody for 12 hours or release you to a “responsible adult.”

What Legislators Want to See for Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws in the Future

The bills working their way through legislative committees right now would turn a first OWI offense into a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine, 30 days in jail, or a combination of the two penalties. They also call for people to be held in jail until their BAC is 0.04 – half the legal limit of 0.08 – and requiring offenders to appear in court if they’re accused of first-time OWI.

These types of laws have been proposed before, but now several lawmakers are supporting the change – including Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon), Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), and democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

“I think we have to do something different and I’m looking forward to (Ott’s) bill,” Evers said at a Milwaukee Press Club event last month. “We can’t afford to lose lives because of drunk driving in Wisconsin. I’m committed to doing something. Rep. Ott seems to be moving in the right direction to get the support he needs. I support his honest work on this issue and I hope to be able to help him out.”

Wisconsin is alone in the fact that it doesn’t criminalize a first-offense OWI.

What if You’re Accused of OWI?

If you’re accused of drinking and driving, call us at 414-383-6700. Our experienced Milwaukee OWI lawyers may be able to help you, and we’ll answer all your questions during your free OWI case review.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:28:32-06:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Is Wisconsin on the Way to Tougher Drunk Driving Laws?

Is Using Your Phone Reckless Driving in Milwaukee?

Is Using Your Phone Reckless Driving in Milwaukee - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Under Wisconsin law, it’s illegal to text and drive while you’re driving unless you’re using hands-free texting features. It’s also illegal to drive while you’re distracted or to operate a motor vehicle in a way that puts other people in danger.

But can police charge you with the crime of reckless driving if you’re caught using your phone?

Is Using Your Phone Reckless Driving in Milwaukee?

Using your phone and reckless driving are two different things.

Wisconsin has laws against distracted driving. In fact, you cannot be “engaged or occupied with an activity, other than driving the vehicle, that interferes or reasonably appears to interfere with the person’s ability to drive the vehicle safely.” That means messing with the radio, putting on makeup or even turning around to talk to passengers in the backseat can also count as distracted driving.

If you get caught using your phone to text, send email or update your social media status while you’re driving, the police can ticket you – but that’s different from the crime of reckless driving.

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is more than a simple ticket that you can pay. It’s actually a crime, and the law defines it this way:

  • No person may endanger the safety of any person or property by the negligent operation of a vehicle
  • No person may cause bodily harm to another by the negligent operation of a vehicle
  • No person may cause great bodily harm to another by the negligent operation of a vehicle

If you’re using your phone and driving recklessly – whether the reckless driving is a result of your phone use or something else – you absolutely can get into trouble for reckless driving.

Related: Negligent driving vs. reckless driving

What’s the Penalty for Reckless Driving?

If you endanger other people’s safety, you can be fined between $50 and $500. If you’ve been found guilty of reckless driving two or more times in the past four years, you could end up spending up to a year in the county jail.

If you cause bodily harm, you can be fined and sent to jail for up to a year, as well. However, if you cause great bodily harm and the court convicts you, you’re looking at a Class I felony – and that can put you in prison for up to a year and a half (with two years of extended supervision once you’re out). The judge can also order you to pay fines of up to $10,000.

What if You’re Accused of Reckless Driving?

If you’ve been accused of reckless driving, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:18:56-06:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Is Using Your Phone Reckless Driving in Milwaukee?

What Happens if You Drive When Your License is Revoked?

What Happens if You Drive When Your License is Revoked - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Many people all over Milwaukee lose their driving privileges for drunk driving convictions, traffic convictions and other reasons – but some still continue to drive anyway.

But what happens if you get caught driving after the courts have taken away your license?

Related: How many tickets make you a habitual traffic offender?

What Happens if You Drive When Your License is Revoked?

It’s illegal to drive when you don’t have a license. If you’ve lost your license – not lost as in misplaced, but lost as in had it taken away by the court – you’ll face serious penalties if you’re caught behind the wheel.

The court can convict you if you operated a motor vehicle on a highway while knowing your license was revoked. The penalties are severe, too. The court can sentence you to jail for up to a year and order you to pay fines of up to $2,500.

If you cause great bodily harm while driving after your license has been revoked, it’s a Class I felony. You can go to jail for up to a year and be fined between $5,000 and $7,500. If someone passes away as a result of your driving on a revoked license, the court can find you guilty of a Class H felony (and that can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail, as well).

Remember, too, that if you’re engaged in the commission of another crime – such as drunk driving – while you’re driving on a revoked license, you will face those charges, as well.

What if You Get Caught Driving on a Revoked License?

For most people who’ve been caught driving on a revoked license, the best course of action is to talk to a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney for advice. You may not be aware of your rights, and you may need someone to help preserve them – and that’s where your lawyer comes in.

Call us at 414-383-6700 right now for a free consultation with an experienced, compassionate attorney. We’ll answer your questions and start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:00:15-06:00November 27th, 2019|Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What Happens if You Drive When Your License is Revoked?

Criminal Traffic Offenses in Wisconsin

Criminal Traffic Offenses in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Criminal traffic offenses – which are different from standard speeding tickets – can result in prison time. But what offenses count as criminal, and what can you do if you’re accused of one of them?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Criminal Traffic Offenses in Wisconsin?

In the state of Wisconsin, there are several criminal offenses that have to do with operating a motor vehicle. Some of the most common include:

Each of these crimes carries its own set of penalties – and some involve prison time, such as vehicular homicide and drunk driving.

What Should You Do if You’re Accused of a Criminal Traffic Offense?

If you’re arrested and police are accusing you of a criminal traffic offense, your best bet may be to talk to an attorney immediately. Your lawyer will examine the facts of the case and be present with you during police questioning. It’s incredibly important to consult your lawyer before you talk to police. When they tell you that anything you say can be used against you in court, they really mean it.

In many cases, police will tell you that they only want to get your side of the story, even if you’re innocent. But really, their job is to get you to confess to committing a crime. Unfortunately, many innocent people are convicted of crimes they never committed – and sometimes, that’s because they fumbled when trying to explain the situation to police or because the police were able to get them to issue a false confession.

If you’ve been accused of any criminal traffic offense, call our office at 484-383-6700 right away for a free consultation. We’ll answer your questions and start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome right away.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T07:19:35-06:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Criminal Traffic Offenses in Wisconsin

Road Rage Charges in Wisconsin

Road Rage Charges in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Road rage – tension and anger between drivers that often leads to an accident or a physical fight – isn’t a specific charge in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin, but police can break it down to other charges that can result in serious penalties (including prison time).

What is Road Rage?

Road rage is defined as “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions.”

It’s important to remember that ultimately – whether or not you’re on the road – you’re responsible for your own behavior. Letting your anger get the best of you while you’re behind the wheel can result in criminal charges like disorderly conduct, battery and a variety of traffic offenses.

Battery

If you exit your car and beat someone up on the road, you could be charged with battery. Wisconsin law defines battery as causing “bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause bodily harm or great bodily harm, or by conduct that creates a substantial risk of great bodily harm, to that person or another without the consent of the person so harmed.” Battery can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the extent of the victim’s injuries.

Traffic Offenses

Traffic offenses that can get you into trouble during a road rage incident include reckless driving, hit and run, vehicular homicide or other crimes, depending on the circumstances. The penalties for reckless driving typically depend on whether someone was injured, and according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “Most behaviors associated with aggressive driving are illegal.”

Are You in Trouble Over a Road Rage Incident?

If you’ve been arrested from a crime stemming from a road rage incident, we may be able to help you.

Call us at 414-383-6700 right now for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. Tell us what happened and we’ll start building a defense strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-25T07:53:54-06:00November 25th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Road Rage Charges in Wisconsin

What is Hit and Run in Wisconsin?

What is Hit and Run in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re involved in a car accident, whether it’s with another car or a pedestrian, bicyclist or another person, you have a legal obligation to stop immediately. You have to stick around – and if you leave the scene of the accident, you could be charged with hit and run… even if the accident was not your fault.

If you leave and come back, the police can still charge you with hit and run.

Is Hit and Run a Misdemeanor?

Hit and run may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the extent of the other person’s injuries and how much damage occurred.

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

The penalties for a hit and run depend on the injuries and amount of damage involved. You could be looking at a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 9 months in jail and $10,000 in fines unless someone is seriously injured; in that case, you could be facing a Class E or Class D felony. (A Class E felony carries up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000, while a Class D felony carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.)

You’re better off staying at the scene – no matter how much damage is done or how much trouble you think you’ll be in. However, if you didn’t, you’re most likely in need of a Milwaukee hit and run lawyer who can defend you in court and help you get the best possible outcome.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Hit and Run Charges in Wisconsin?

If you’ve been charged with hit and run in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee or any of the surrounding communities, we may be able to help you.

Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free case review. You’ll talk to an experienced attorney who understands what you’re going through – and who will work hard to preserve your rights and get you the best possible outcome in your case.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-25T06:58:35-06:00November 25th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What is Hit and Run in Wisconsin?

What is a Habitual Traffic Offender?

What is a Habitual Traffic Offender - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, you can be classified a “habitual traffic offender,” which is a lot more serious than it sounds.

What is a Habitual Traffic Offender?

A habitual traffic offender, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, is someone who repeatedly breaks traffic laws. The Wisconsin DMV keeps track of drivers’ convictions that occur both in and out-of-state, and when a driver accumulates a certain amount, the DMV revokes his or her driving privileges.

How Many Traffic Violations Can You Have Before the DMV Revokes Your License?

If you have 12 or more convictions of certain moving traffic violations in Wisconsin, or four or more major violations committed in Wisconsin or other states, you could lose your driving privileges. If you have a combination of 12 or more minor or major convictions, you’re in the same boat.

What Are “Major” Violations?

Major violations – remember, if you have four or more, you could lose your driver’s license – include:

If you’re in danger of losing your driver’s license due to any of these offenses, or because you’ve had 12 or more moving offense convictions, you may need to talk to an attorney.

Are You at Risk of Losing Your Driver’s License?

If you could lose your driver’s license, we may be able to help you.

Call us at 414-383-6700 to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney right now. We’ll talk about your situation and whether there are any special circumstances in your case, and we’ll start putting together a plan that helps you get the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-24T18:17:08-06:00November 24th, 2019|Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What is a Habitual Traffic Offender?