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What’s the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

By Carlos Gamino

In the Wisconsin criminal justice system, probation and parole are two very different things – but sometimes people get them confused. And when you throw in extended supervision (a Wisconsin-specific term), things get even more complicated.

What’s the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Probation is a type of criminal sentence in Wisconsin that a judge can impose when someone is convicted of a crime. If a judge sentences you to probation, you don’t go to jail or prison; you go home and report to a probation officer on specific dates and times.

Parole is what happens when you’re released from prison before your mandatory release date. For example, if you’re not supposed to be released from prison until January 1, 2029, but you’re allowed to leave before that date, you are on parole.

Related: Is it possible to get off probation early in Wisconsin?

What About Extended Supervision?

Extended supervision is a way for the courts to keep an eye on you when you’re released from prison. You remain under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and if you violate the conditions of your supervision, the courts can send you back to prison.

Probation versus Extended Supervision

Probation is a sentence that replaces jail time, and extended supervision occurs after incarceration. However, in both instances, you must follow specific rules and report to someone – and if you break the rules or fail to report, a judge can order your arrest and put you behind bars.

Related: What is probation revocation in Wisconsin?

Do You Need to Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, no matter what it is, we may be able to help you. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. We can answer your questions and strategize to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T08:53:08-05:00September 13th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What’s the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Can You Be Charged With Battery for Fighting?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Fights happen – as Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys, we know that. Though most fights are avoidable, some result in criminal charges; sometimes those charges come with serious penalties. Here’s what you need to know about being charged with battery after getting into a fight.

Can the State of Wisconsin Charge You With Battery for a Fight?

The state of Wisconsin can absolutely charge you with the crime of battery for a fight. In fact, Wisconsin law defines battery as causing bodily harm, substantial bodily harm or great bodily harm with the intent to do so (and without the consent of the person who’s harmed), so that means even if the fight is more of a one-way street, and no matter who lands the first punch or “wins” the fight, you can pick up a battery charge.

Related: Will I go to prison for fighting?

Bodily Harm, Substantial Bodily Harm and Great Bodily Harm

The following table outlines the differences between bodily harm, substantial bodily harm and great bodily harm.

CrimeDefinitionCriminal ClassificationPossible Penalty
Bodily harmPhysical pain or injury, illness, or impairment of physical conditionClass A misdemeanorUp to 9 months in jail; fines of up to $10,000
Substantial bodily harmInjury that causes a laceration that requires stitches, staples, or a tissue adhesive; any fracture of a bone; a broken nose; a burn; a petechia; a temporary loss of consciousness, sight or hearing; a concussion; loss or fracture of a toothClass I felonyUp to 1 year and 6 months in prison with 2 years of extended supervision; fines of up to $10,000
Great bodily harmBodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement; a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; other serious bodily injuryClass H or Class E felonyClass H felony: Up to 3 years in prison with 3 years of extended supervision; fines of up to $10,000

Class E felony: Up to 10 years in prison with 5 years of extended supervision; fines of up to $50,000

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

If you’ve been accused of battery – whether or not you’re guilty of the crime – we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation, where we’ll be glad to answer your questions and help ensure you get the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:04:19-05:00September 6th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Can You Be Charged With Battery for Fighting?

3 Reasons You Should Have a Lawyer Present During Questioning

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

When police question you, you have the right to have an attorney present. It’s not mandatory, though, and many people answer police officers’ questions without consulting with a lawyer first. That can cause serious problems, so here are three reasons you should have a lawyer present during questioning for any criminal case in Wisconsin.

3 Reasons You Should Have a Lawyer Present During Questioning

The three biggest reasons you should have a lawyer present during questioning are:

  1. Your attorney will help protect your rights
  2. Your attorney can prevent you from saying something the state can use against you in court
  3. Your attorney can determine what type of evidence the police have against you

Here’s a closer look at each.

Reason #1 to Have a Lawyer Present During Questioning: Your Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights

When you’re in police custody, you have several rights that the police aren’t allowed to violate. You have the right to remain silent and not say anything at all, which is one of the most important rights you can exercise during questioning. You should not say anything about your situation to the police until after you’ve discussed your case with an attorney.

You have other rights while you’re in police custody, too, including the right to a phone call to inform someone you’ve been arrested; to medical help if you are sick or injured; and to be treated humanely and provided with food and shelter.

Related: What to do if police violate your rights

Reason #2 to Have a Lawyer Present During Questioning: Your Attorney Can Prevent You From Saying Things the State May Use Against You in Court

The police know what they’re doing when they interrogate a criminal suspect. Their questions are designed to get you to admit to committing a crime (even if you didn’t commit it, in some cases). The good news is that attorneys know what they’re doing, too – and they can prevent you from saying things that the police can (and almost certainly will) use against you in court.

Reason #3 to Have a Lawyer Present During Questioning: Your Attorney Can Determine What Type of Evidence the Police Have Against You

Part of your attorney’s job is finding out what type of evidence the police and the state of Wisconsin have against you. When your attorney discovers this evidence, he or she can create a legal strategy that helps you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Criminal Case in Wisconsin?

If you have a pending criminal case in Wisconsin, even if you’ve already spoken with police, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T08:50:27-05:00September 6th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on 3 Reasons You Should Have a Lawyer Present During Questioning

What Happens if You Don’t Make Alimony Payments in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, the judge in your divorce case has ordered you to pay alimony – sometimes called spousal support or spousal maintenance – to your former spouse. But what happens if you don’t pay alimony in Wisconsin? Will the courts come after you, garnish your wages, or hit you with criminal penalties? This guide explains.

What if You Don’t Pay Alimony in Wisconsin?

When a judge orders you to pay alimony, whether it’s through a stand-alone order (such as one issued during divorce proceedings) or through your marital settlement agreement, you have to do so – it’s a legally binding order.

If you fail to hold up your end of the bargain and make your alimony payments, your former spouse can bring up the matter with the judge in your case. The judge can then choose to order you to pay any outstanding amounts or order that you sell securities to make your payments. The judge might also enter a contempt of court order or order your employer to garnish your wages, as well.

What is a Contempt of Court Order?

If your ex’s attorney files a contempt motion, you’ll have to appear in court for a hearing. At your hearing, both you and your ex will have the opportunity to explain what’s going on. If the judge finds that you purposely avoided paying your alimony, they can order you to go to jail until you’ve paid the past-due amount in full. The judge can even order you to pay fines and your ex’s legal fees for having to take you to court to get payment.

Garnished Wages for Alimony

The judge may order your employer to take part of your earnings and send them to the court before you get your paychecks. The court gives that money to your ex-spouse.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Non-Payment of Alimony?

Whether your ex is accusing you of purposely failing to make your alimony payments or you’re the spouse who is supposed to receive them, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:15:48-05:00September 1st, 2021|Family Law|Comments Off on What Happens if You Don’t Make Alimony Payments in Wisconsin?

What if the Police Don’t Read You Your Rights?

By Carlos Gamino

You’ve probably seen people being read their rights on TV – it happens in every crime-related show. “You have the right to remain silent,” the police say to a handcuffed suspect.

But in real life, things don’t always work that way, and the police don’t always read people their rights.

You may be surprised to learn that sometimes, it’s okay for the police to fail to read you your rights – and that they may still be able to use your own words against you in court. This guide explains what happens if the police don’t tell you about your rights.

Related: What is the Miranda warning?

What if the Police Don’t Read You Your Rights?

First things first: You won’t escape punishment for committing a crime if police fail to read you your rights. Now that that’s out of the way, you need to know that police only need to explain your rights when you’re officially in police custody and they want to ask questions that they can use at trial.

Related: Does talking to the police help you in court?

If you’re not in police custody, the police are not required to read you your rights. That means if you’re standing in the street speaking to a police officer, the things you say can (and almost certainly will) be used against you in court. Check out this example:

You and your spouse are involved in a domestic dispute and someone calls the police. The police show up and ask you what happened, and you begin to describe the situation. You don’t intend to say that you threw a lamp that hit your spouse in the head, even though you did so in self-defense.

You ask the police officer if he’s arresting you and he says, “No, but I really just want to figure out what happened here so you don’t have to go to jail.”

You know that the lamp you threw hit your spouse in the head, but you don’t want to admit it. You say, “We were both being physical with each other.” The police officer asks you how you were physical with each other, and you say that your spouse was blocking you from leaving – and then he asks you what happened with the lamp and why your spouse’s head is bleeding.

If you tell the officer that you threw the lamp, there’s a very good chance that the state will use what you said against you in court – even though you’re not under arrest and haven’t been read your rights. If you make the smart choice and say you’d like to speak to an attorney before going any further, the officer may still arrest you and read you your rights – but you haven’t said, “I threw the lamp,” so the state can’t use that statement against you at trial.

Of course, this is a fictional example, but the point is that if you haven’t been arrested and police are talking to you about your potential involvement in a crime, they don’t have to read you your rights. Additionally, the state can use your own words against you in court.

Related: Do you have to talk to the police if they question you?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Criminal Charges?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, our team may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation. We can answer your questions and help you decide the best course of action in your case.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T08:48:32-05:00August 30th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on What if the Police Don’t Read You Your Rights?

Can You Go to Jail for Kidnapping Your Own Child in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, parental kidnapping is a crime that occurs when a parent imprisons, confines, or takes their child away from the child’s other parent – and it’s a serious one that could put you behind bars. Here’s what you need to know about kidnapping your own child in Wisconsin.

Can You Go to Jail for Kidnapping Your Own Child in Wisconsin?

Under Wisconsin law, kidnapping anyone (including your own child), is a Class C felony. The penalty for a Class C felony is up to 25 years in prison with up to 15 years of extended supervision, plus fines of up to $100,000.

Defining Parental Kidnapping in Wisconsin

The most common types of parental kidnapping cases in Wisconsin involve one parent taking children out of state, either for an extended vacation or to live permanently. Kidnapping as a Class C felony involves one parent who does not have parental rights to take the child.

However, it’s not always illegal for a parent to take kids out of the state; many custody agreements include information on trips or moves outside of Wisconsin.

Note: If you have full parental custody of your child, then you can’t be charged with parental kidnapping. That’s because nobody else has parental custody of your child – only you do – and you are entitled to make all the decisions regarding where your child lives and spends his or her time.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Parental Kidnapping Charges?

You may need to speak with an attorney if you’re facing parental kidnapping charges. Your attorney may be able to defend you and help you get the best possible outcome.

Call us at 414-383-6700 to talk about your case during a free consultation. We can give you the answers you need and build a strategy to represent you in court.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T08:46:40-05:00August 25th, 2021|Criminal Law, Family Law|Comments Off on Can You Go to Jail for Kidnapping Your Own Child in Wisconsin?

Caught With Vicodin or Oxy in Wisconsin: What Happens Now?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re caught with Vicodin, OxyContin® or Oxycodone – or any other prescription drugs that aren’t prescribed specifically to you – you could be facing serious penalties in the state of Wisconsin. This guide explains the criminal charges you may pick up for possession of prescription drugs.

Caught With Vicodin or Oxy in Wisconsin: What Happens Now?

Though most people think of drug charges as stemming from marijuana and other street drugs, the state can charge you with illegal possession of prescription drugs, as well. The type of crime the state officially charges you with depends on the quantity and type of drugs you have in your possession.

Related: How to fight drug charges in Wisconsin

Penalties for Being Caught With Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III and Schedule IV Substances

Drugs are classified according to their addictive potential and their current medical use. The following table outlines some of the most commonly known drugs, where they fall under the current drug classification schedule, and the charge (and penalty) you may pick up for prescription drug possession. (Remember, possession is different from drug trafficking, which generally involves significantly larger amounts of the substance and comes with its own set of penalties.)

 Schedule ISchedule IISchedule IIISchedule IV
NamesHeroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, quaaludes, bath saltsMethadone, Demerol, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Morphine, CodeineVicodin, Suboxone, ketamine, anabolic steroidsXanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan
Type of crimeClass I felony, except some marijuana chargesClass I felonyClass H felony or unclassified misdemeanorUnclassified misdemeanor unless the drug has a specific penalty
Possible penaltyUp to 1 year and 6 months in prison with 2 years of extended supervision and fines of up to $10,000Up to 1 year and 6 months in prison with 2 years of extended supervision and fines of up to $10,000Up to 3 years in prison with 3 years of extended supervision and fines of up to $10,000Varies

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Being Caught With Vicodin or Oxy in Wisconsin?

If you’ve been caught with Vicodin, Oxy or any other type of drug – prescription or not – we may be able to help you get the best possible outcome. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now. We can answer your questions and explain what you’re up against, so call now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:01:26-05:00August 23rd, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Caught With Vicodin or Oxy in Wisconsin: What Happens Now?

What’s the Best Placement Schedule for Your Family?

By Carlos Gamino

Physical placement refers to how much time your kids spend with you and your ex. When your children are with you, you have the right to make routine decisions about their daily care; likewise, when they’re with your ex, your ex has that right. But how do you make a physical placement plan that works for your whole family – and what’s the best physical placement schedule? This guide explains.

Related: Child custody FAQ

What’s the Best Placement Schedule for Your Family?

The best placement schedule for your family is one that:

  • Meets your children’s best interests
  • Minimizes disruption to all of your lives
  • Is convenient and flexible

With that said, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every family. Families with younger kids may have completely different needs from families that have teenagers, for example. However, the most common physical placement arrangements include:

  • Wednesdays and every other weekend. In this type of plan, kids spend most days with Parent A, except for Wednesday evenings and every other weekend (Friday night through Sunday night). They spend those days with Parent B.
  • 2-2-3 plans. In a 2-2-3 plan, kids spend two days with Parent A, two days with Parent B, and three days with Parent A before the schedule starts over with Parent B. This ensures that the children have alternating three-day periods with each parent and guarantees both parents get some weekend time.
  • Alternating week plans. In alternating week plans, children spend one week with Parent A, then one week with Parent B. The parents switch each week, making adjustments for holidays and special occasions.

Every family’s needs are different, though, and your child custody attorney can help you develop a plan that will work for your family.

Related: Custody versus physical placement

Working With Your Spouse on the Best Placement Plan

You and your spouse should negotiate to reach an agreement that meets your kids’ best interests (rather than yours), and if you’re having a hard time finding common ground, you may wish to work with a mediator who can help.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Child Placement Plan?

If you’re divorcing or splitting up from your partner and need to speak with an attorney about creating a child placement plan, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:17:53-05:00August 16th, 2021|Family Law|Comments Off on What’s the Best Placement Schedule for Your Family?

When Can Police Search Your Body?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Sometimes the police are allowed to search your car, your bag, your home and even your body – but when is that okay? Do the police need a warrant to frisk you or search your body? Are some police searches illegal? Here’s what you need to know.

Related: What to do if police knock on your door

When Can Police Search Your Body?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures – but not against reasonable searches. Police officers can briefly detain you if they suspect you’re guilty of criminal activity, and if they think that you’re armed and dangerous, they can frisk you. Frisking is patting down your outer clothing to look for weapons, and if police can identify something illegal that you have on your person (such as a bag of pills or drug paraphernalia), they can take it from you.

If the police officially arrest you, they’re allowed to fully search you. They can even go through your pockets to look for anything you’re not supposed to have, as well as through your personal effects that are within your reach (such as your wallet, backpack, purse or planner).

Related: Your rights if you’re stopped by police

Do Police Need a Warrant to Search You?

Usually police do need a warrant to search you or your property – but the exceptions are:

  • Stop and frisk pat-downs
  • Searches of your person and personal effects after an arrest
  • When something illegal is in the officer’s plain view
  • When you consent to a search
  • During emergencies, such as to prevent the destruction of evidence or to protect people
  • When police have probable cause, which means they have reason to believe you’re engaged in (or were engaged in) the commission of a crime or that there’s evidence of a crime on your person or in your area

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

If you’ve been searched and charged with a crime as a result, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a free consultation – we’re here to answer your questions, explore your options and explain the possible outcomes of your case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T08:59:10-05:00August 16th, 2021|Criminal Law|Comments Off on When Can Police Search Your Body?

Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

By Carlos Gamino

Sometimes it’s possible for a person to get a visa or obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States with a criminal record. Though that’s not always the case, here’s what you need to know.

Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

To visit the United States for work or leisure, you must usually obtain a visa (unless the Visa Waiver Program is available from your country). With a criminal record, getting a visa can be difficult – but not all crimes make you ineligible for admission to the U.S. In fact, you may even be eligible for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility. The best way to figure out whether your criminal history will preclude you from getting a U.S. visa may be to speak with an experienced Wisconsin immigration attorney who can evaluate your situation.

Related: How to work in the U.S. as a temporary, non-immigrant worker

Permanent Residency in the U.S. With a Criminal Record

If you want to come to the United States and obtain permanent residency, your criminal record may affect the outcome of your case. If you’ve committed a serious crime, it may be impossible for you to obtain a green card. However, if you have minor crimes (such as misdemeanors) on your record and they’re not considered “significant” under U.S. immigration law, it may still be possible. You should contact a Wisconsin immigration attorney and let them know:

  • The circumstances of your case, including the actual crime you were convicted of committing
  • How old you were at the time of the incident
  • How many convictions you have on your criminal record
  • How much time you spent in jail or prison for the crime

Related: Common U.S. immigration forms

Do You Need to Speak to an Immigration Attorney About Coming to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

If you have a criminal history and are interested in learning about your visa or green card options, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation now; we’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you determine how to move forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:08:08-05:00August 9th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?