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Municipal Tickets for Health Code Violations

Municipal Tickets for Health Code Violations - Carlos Gamino

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many restaurateurs and other small business owners, you’re always on the lookout for health code violations – but what should you do if you receive a ticket for one? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Municipal Ticket for a Health Code Violation?

In some cases, restaurants and other small business owners receive municipal tickets for health code violations. The health code is designed to protect consumers, so the state takes violations pretty seriously. A municipal ticket, which is an alternative to a criminal offense, is one way that officials can ensure that businesses comply with the health code. These tickets tell you the specific violation charged against you.

What to Do if You Get a Municipal Ticket for a Health Code Violation?

If you receive a citation, you can answer the charge by entering a plea. Your citation will have a court date listed on it – but you don’t have to go to court if you pay your fine on or before your court date, or if you enter a plea online, by mail or by fax. You can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charge against you. (Juvenile citations are different, and so are those that involve drunk driving charges. You must appear in court for those.)

As with anything else in the legal system, you can have an attorney represent you.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Municipal Ticket for a Health Code Violation?

If you’ve received a municipal ticket for a health code violation – or for any other reason – we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. We can answer your questions about the process and what to do next, as well as the consequences you may face for pleading guilty or no contest. We’ll also help you determine the best path forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-07-17T10:33:55-05:00August 3rd, 2020|Criminal Law, Municipal Law|0 Comments

Can a Lawyer Get You Off Probation in Wisconsin?

Can a Lawyer Get You Off Probation - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you figure that being on probation is better than being in jail – but not being on probation is better than being on probation, isn’t it? You may have even wondered if a lawyer can get you off probation so you can be done with it and move on with your life.

Here’s what you need to know.

Can a Lawyer Get You Off Probation?

Some people can get off probation early, before they’ve completed their entire sentence. In order to get off probation, you must have:

  • Completed at least half of your probation term. For example, if you were sentenced to a year of probation, you must have completed at least 6 months of it.
  • Satisfied all the conditions of probation set by both the court that sentenced you and the Department of Corrections. If you were ordered to attend counseling or complete community service, for example, you must have done those things.
  • Fulfilled all your financial obligations related to your case. That might include restitution to the victim, court costs and fees, fines, fees and other expenses.
  • No outstanding warrants. If you have a warrant out for your arrest, you’re not going to get off probation – even with an attorney’s help.

If you’ve satisfied all the conditions of your probation and completed at least half your sentence, you may want to call a criminal defense attorney who can help. In some cases, lawyers can file a motion to terminate a person’s probation.

It’s really important to remember that there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule, but you can do a few things to show the judge that you’re responsible enough to come off probation. Those things might include working toward educational milestones, such as the completion of a high school equivalency program or enrollment in college courses, performing volunteer work, getting and holding a job, or doing other things that show you’re investing in yourself and the community.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Getting Off Probation?

If you’re working through probation and want to find out if there’s a way you can wrap up your sentence early, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your options. Carlos Gamino

By |2020-07-17T10:13:30-05:00August 3rd, 2020|Criminal Law|0 Comments

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 |2020-07-17T09:58:40-05:00August 1st, 2020|Criminal Law, Juvenile Law|0 Comments

What Happens if You Plead Guilty in Wisconsin?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

When you’re formally accused of a crime, you’ll have an initial appearance in court. If the crime you’re being accused of committing is a misdemeanor, you’ll have an opportunity to let the judge know whether you’re pleading guilty or not guilty (this is called entering a plea). The judge may also set bail or bond so you don’t have to stay in jail. If you haven’t had time to get an attorney, it’s often best to plead not guilty and get in touch with a lawyer after you appear in court.

Pro tip: It’s okay to plead not guilty. You aren’t committing perjury (lying to the court) if you say that you’re not guilty.

If the state is charging you with a felony, you won’t enter a plea at your initial appearance, although the judge will set your bail amount. Then you’ll move on to a preliminary hearing.

You’re entitled to a preliminary hearing if the state has charged you with a felony. During your preliminary hearing, the prosecutor will present evidence to try to convince the judge that you probably committed the crime. If the prosecutor convinces the judge, you’ll go to trial. It’s usually a very good idea to bring an attorney with you to your preliminary hearing – that way, your lawyer will know what type of evidence you’re up against and who’s going to serve as a witness.

After your preliminary hearing, you’ll be arraigned. When you’re arraigned, you’ll enter a plea (or, if you have an attorney, he or she will enter your plea for you). If you plead not guilty, your case will go through a few more phases before trial. However, many people accept a plea bargain, plead guilty, or plead no contest to the charges.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty?

If you plead guilty or no contest to the charges, you don’t have to go to trial. You’ll move straight to sentencing, which is usually at a later date. At your sentencing hearing, the judge will let you know what penalties you’re facing, such as jail or prison time, fines or the loss of your driving privileges. Sometimes judges sentence people to probation instead of jail time.

Related: Wisconsin probation rules

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Being Accused of a Crime?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:21:25-05:00July 27th, 2020|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What Happens if You Plead Guilty in Wisconsin?

What is an Alford Plea?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

What is an Alford Plea - Carlos Gamino

Most people haven’t heard of an Alford plea – but it’s a type of plea many people accused of crimes in Wisconsin use. In fact, it’s a type of plea available in 47 of our 50 states (it’s not allowed in Indiana, Michigan or New Jersey).

So what is an Alford plea, and why does it matter?

What is an Alford Plea in the Wisconsin Criminal Justice System?

An Alford plea is a way of pleading guilty while maintaining your innocence. When you enter an Alford plea, you’re admitting that the evidence the prosecution has is likely to convince a judge or jury that you’re guilty, but you’re still saying that you didn’t commit the crime.

Here’s how it works in court – in fact, it’s named after the man described below.

In 1963, Henry Alford was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in North Carolina. In 1970, he agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder – but he did it for a reason. The default penalty for first-degree murder at that time in North Carolina was death, provided that the defendant entered a plea of not guilty and that the jury didn’t recommend a life sentence instead.

Because Alford maintained his innocence, he knew that he could be sentenced to death if the jury so chose – so instead, he took a plea bargain and pled guilty to second-degree murder. He said he was doing so to avoid a death sentence, and once the judge accepted the plea bargain, Alford was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“I just pleaded guilty because they said if I didn’t, they would gas me for it,” Alford later wrote in one of his appeals.

What is the Purpose of an Alford Plea?

If you agree to plead guilty for a crime that you say you didn’t commit, you’re using an Alford plea. Sometimes criminal defendants use this type of plea because the evidence against them is too strong to make a difference in avoiding a conviction. In other words, defendants who know a conviction is inevitable might use an Alford Plea to avoid the possibility of harsher penalties (like Henry Alford did in 1970).

Is an Alford Plea the Same as a Guilty Plea?

An Alford plea is a guilty plea entered by a defendant who says he or she is innocent. This type of guilty plea is legitimate when the person accused of the crime “intelligently concludes” that an Alford plea will lead to the best possible outcome and when the evidence strongly suggests that the he or she is guilty.

Do You Need to Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney in Wisconsin?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, even if you haven’t been formally charged, we may be able to help you. There are many ways we can defend you in court, so call us right away at 414-383-6700. We’ll be happy to evaluate your case during a free consultation – and we’ll give you the legal guidance you need right now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:10:47-05:00July 27th, 2020|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What is an Alford Plea?

Should You Hire a Marijuana Defense Lawyer?

Marijuana Defense Lawyer - Carlos Gamino

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Marijuana – possession, growing and selling – is illegal in Wisconsin, and there are serious criminal penalties for anyone who’s caught doing any of those things. While our neighbors to the west and south have made it legal to purchase pot for many people, it’s still against the law here. If you’re caught with drugs, you could benefit from working with a drug crime defense attorney in Wisconsin.

Should You Hire a Marijuana Defense Lawyer?

When someone is arrested for and charged with drug possession, that information stays on their record forever – and although some crimes can be sealed from public view, that can only happen under very specific circumstances. That means you want to get the best possible outcome in your case, and for many people, that also means working with a marijuana defense lawyer.

Related: Marijuana laws in Wisconsin

You can get into serious trouble over marijuana. When you have pot on you, the state can charge you with possession of a controlled substance. If it’s your first offense with THC or marijuana, you could spend up to 6 months in jail and pay a fine of up to $1,000. If it’s your second or subsequent conviction, you’re looking at a Class I felony. A Class I felony can send you to prison. In fact, these are the possible penalties:

  • Up to 1 year and 6 months in prison
  • Up to 2 years of extended supervision
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Loss of your driver’s license*

*When you’re convicted of any drug offense in Wisconsin, the judge in your case has to suspend your driving privileges for at least 6 months. The judge can suspend your license for up to 5 years, and that time is on top of the time you’re incarcerated.

Do You Need to Talk to a Marijuana Defense Lawyer?

If you’re accused of a drug crime (any drug crime – not just pot), it may be in your best interest to talk to a marijuana defense lawyer who can help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation with an attorney – we’ll help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:25:34-05:00July 20th, 2020|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Should You Hire a Marijuana Defense Lawyer?

Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

OWI Second Offense - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

An OWI (second offense) is a serious crime in Wisconsin, and if the state convicts you, you’re facing serious penalties. Each OWI you get here stays on your record, too, because the state wants to know if you’re a habitual offender. The penalties for your second OWI are tougher than your first, and if you get more OWIs in the future, the penalties continue to increase in severity.

Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

You might go to jail for your second OWI. It depends on how long it’s been since your last OWI and whether anyone was hurt when you committed your first offense.

OWI Second Offense With No Prior OWI Within 10 Years

If it’s been 10 years or more since your first OWI, you most likely won’t go to jail for your second OWI – unless someone’s hurt or you had a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you. You will, however, lose your driver’s license for 6 to 9 months. You’ll also have to pay a fine between $150 and $300, and pay an OWI surcharge of $435. You’ll also have to put an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (at your own expense) or attend a 24/7 sobriety program for a year.

Related: Criminal traffic offenses in Wisconsin

The consequences change if you have a minor under the age of 16 in the car with you at the time of the offense. You’ll face all the same penalties as you would for a standard OWI second offense, but you could spend between 5 days and 6 months in jail.

If someone is hurt or killed as a result of your OWI, you’ll face more serious consequences:

  • Causing injury: Fines of up to $10,000, up to 6 years in prison, and license revocation for 1 to 2 years plus the time of your confinement
  • Causing great bodily harm: Fines of up to $25,000, up to 12 years and 6 months in prison, and license revocation for 2 years plus the time of your confinement
  • Homicide: Fines of up to $100,000, up to 40 years in prison (it would be 25 if this was your first offense), and license revocation for 5 years plus the time of your confinement

OWI Second Offense With a Prior OWI Within 10 Years, or Great Bodily Harm or Homicide at Any Point in Your Past

If your last OWI was within the past 10 years, if your first OWI caused someone great bodily harm, or if you were convicted of homicide related to your OWI, you’ll pay fines between $350 and $1,100. You’ll have to pay the $435 OWI surcharge, too. You’ll lose your license for 12 to 18 months, and you’ll have to have an ignition interlock device put on your vehicle. You could spend between 5 days and 6 months in jail. In some cases, judges offer the Safe Streets option, but that’s something you’ll have to talk to your OWI attorney about.

Related: 5 things you need to know about drunk driving causing injury

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney in Wisconsin?

If you’re accused of OWI, whether it’s your first, second or subsequent offense, we may be able to help you. Call us as soon as you can at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with an OWI attorney now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T17:54:31-05:00July 20th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

What to Do if You’re Charged With OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm - Carlos Gamino

The state of Wisconsin takes drunk driving charges seriously, whether it’s a first offense or a tenth offense. But if you’re charged with OWI causing great bodily harm, you could spend the next several years in prison.

Here’s what you need to know.

What to Do if You’re Charged With OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm

You’ll spend time behind bars if the state convicts you of OWI causing great bodily harm. You can be under the influence of alcohol or drugs – the method of your intoxication doesn’t matter. Under Wisconsin law, great bodily harm is defined this way:

“Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.”

These are the penalties for OWI causing great bodily harm in Wisconsin:

  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • A $435 OWI surcharge
  • Up to 12.5 years in prison
  • License revocation for 2 years plus the length of your confinement
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device (at your own expense) if it is not your first offense or if your body’s alcohol concentration was 0.15 or higher at the time of the offense or a 24/7 sobriety program required for 1 to 5 years plus confinement length

If you’re charged with OWI causing great bodily harm, you may want to talk to a Milwaukee OWI attorney right away. Because the penalties for this type of OWI are so serious – even if it’s your first offense – you can benefit from legal guidance.

Don’t talk to police. Don’t answer any questions, and don’t walk into the courtroom for your arraignment (when the judge reads you your formal charges) without weighing your legal options first. A guilty plea, even if you are guilty, may not be the best choice for you. Get legal guidance first. You have the right to call an attorney from jail, and you have the right to legal representation.

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of OWI causing great bodily harm, we may be able to help you. Call us as soon as you can. We’re available at 414-383-6700. We can also talk to you if you’re calling on behalf of someone who’s in jail.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:06:56-05:00July 14th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What to Do if You’re Charged With OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people going through a divorce, you already know how difficult it is. When you’re expected to see eye-to-eye with your ex to reach agreements on important issues, it can be even harder. But your divorce attorney might suggest that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse work together to create a marital settlement agreement – and that’s in your best interest.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

A marital settlement agreement is a written agreement between a married couple that resolves all the important issues, such as:

Does a Marital Settlement Agreement Need to Be Notarized?

Usually, a marital settlement agreement does not need to be notarized in Wisconsin. However, your divorce attorney will be able to provide you with case-specific guidance.

Is a Settlement Agreement the Same as a Divorce Decree?

A marital settlement agreement is not the same thing as a divorce decree. Your settlement agreement will outline what you agree to do, take or receive once your divorce is complete. A divorce decree is a court order that ends your marriage (at which point, you’re responsible for upholding your marital settlement agreement).

Is it Better to Settle Divorce Out of Court Through Your Own Marital Settlement Agreement?

For many people, it’s far better to come up with a marital settlement agreement than to litigate a divorce case in court. That’s because you’ll save time and money by coming up with your own agreement (or even by using a mediator to find common ground). Additionally, you and your ex-spouse will both have a hand in the outcome of your case, so you’re more likely to be reasonably satisfied with the outcome.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Marital Settlement Agreement?

If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now. We’ll listen to your situation and help you get the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T17:49:33-05:00July 13th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

OWI First Offense: What You Need to Know

By Carlos Gamino

An OWI (first offense) in Wisconsin is serious, and it’ll stay on your record forever. However, it’s a civil offense, so it’s treated more like a traffic violation than a crime in most cases. You’ll lose your driver’s license, pay a fine (between $150 and $300) and pay a $435 OWI surcharge. There are some things that can make a first-offense OWI even more serious, though.

OWI, First Offense: What You Need to Know

An OWI conviction, even if it’s your first offense, is serious – most importantly because it stays on your record forever. That means if you get another OWI in the future, the state will treat it like your second offense; likewise, your third and subsequent offenses will keep racking up, and the penalties for each are more severe than the last.

Here are three things you need to know about OWI, first offense:

1. You will lose your driver’s license.

2. You’ll pay fines and an OWI surcharge.

3. You may have to have an ignition interlock device put on your vehicle.

Here’s a closer look at each.

#1. Revocation of Your Driver’s License

If a judge convicts you of operating while intoxicated, even if it’s your first offense, you’re going to lose your driver’s license for 6 to 9 months. You’ll also lose your commercial driver’s license. However, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license. An occupational license is a restricted driver’s license that lets you drive to and from work, as well as a small number of other places, during certain times.

Related: Wisconsin OWI information

#2. Fines and the OWI Surcharge

The state of Wisconsin imposes fines on people convicted of OWI for the first time. You’ll pay between $150 and $300 in fines, and you’ll also have to pay a $435 OWI surcharge. (For the record, every OWI case includes that surcharge.)

#3. Ignition Interlock Devices

If your body’s alcohol concentration is 0.15 or more and you’re convicted of OWI as a first offense, you’ll have to get an ignition interlock device installed (at your expense) in your vehicle or participate in a 24/7 sobriety program for one year.

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney?

If you’re accused of OWI and it’s your first offense, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable OWI attorney today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:31:54-05:00July 6th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on OWI First Offense: What You Need to Know