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Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney for intoxicationBy Attorney Ray Dall’Osto

The intoxicating effects of alcohol and controlled substances (prescription and illegal) have been demonstrated to lower a person’s inhibitions, alter behavior, and impair a person’s mental and physical abilities, including the ability to operate motor vehicles steadily and safely.  Unfortunately, alcohol and substance use sometimes lead to situations where a person is arrested on criminal charges.  For example, in State v. Christen, 2021 WI 39, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment does not protect an intoxicated person's right to possession of a firearm for self-defense, in a drunken altercation with roommates inside defendant’s residence). 

If you have been arrested while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may wonder whether your state of intoxication could be a mitigating factor or perhaps even be raised as a defense that might help avoid a conviction. At first glance, it seems reasonable that the effects of a substance on a person’s mental state would impact on specific intent and possibly absolve you of personal responsibility for your actions. However, in Wisconsin, this is only true under limited circumstances, because the legislature and courts have determined that the intoxication defense should be greatly limited on public policy grounds. Thus, it is important that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to determine whether such a defense may apply in your case.


Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney for federal chargesBy Attorney Nicole Masnica

Many criminal offenses committed in Wisconsin are handled within the state’s criminal justice system, including crimes related to operating while intoxicated (OWI), many types of property crimes, and violent crimes. However, if an alleged offense violates a federal law, the defendant can instead be tried in federal court. If you have been accused of a federal crime, or if you believe you may be at risk of facing federal charges, your attorney can help you understand what to expect.

Examples of Federal Offenses

There are many different kinds of offenses for which a person may face federal charges, but some of the most common include:


Milwaukee criminal defense law firmBy Paralegal Rachel Sweet

Among other things, the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides several protections for those who are facing a criminal arrest or trial. However, in the heat of the moment, it may be hard to know whether your rights are being honored and to ensure that you are taking full advantage of them. Taking the time to learn about your constitutional rights and how to assert them can often help you avoid an arrest or conviction in the event that you have a run-in with law enforcement.

Fourth Amendment Protections from Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects your person, house, papers, and effects from search and seizure without a warrant or probable cause, and it also states that a warrant must be specific with regard to the property to be searched and the potential items to be seized. There are a few circumstances in which law enforcement is permitted to perform a search without a warrant in Wisconsin, but if an officer attempts to search you or your property, you should always ask to see a warrant first, and you should clearly state that you do not consent to a search without a warrant. If an officer proceeds without a warrant, with an invalid warrant, or in a way that exceeds the scope of the warrant, your attorney can help you challenge the validity of the evidence obtained.


Milwaukee criminal lawyer for self defenseBy Attorney Nicole Masnica

Recent events in Kenosha have raised questions about Wisconsin’s laws regarding the use of a firearm in self-defense. While we make no judgments regarding any ongoing cases, it is important for all Wisconsin residents to understand their rights to self-defense according to state law, especially if they find themselves under attack or facing criminal charges. Cases involving self-defense can be complicated, and if you are facing charges, your best option to avoid a conviction is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can develop a strategy based on a thorough understanding of the law.

When Is Self-Defense Legally Justified in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin law allows you to threaten or use force against another person when you reasonably believe that they intend to do you harm or illegally interfere with your person. However, you are authorized to use only the force necessary to prevent the harm or interference from occurring. This means that you may only use deadly force in self-defense if you reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent someone from killing or doing great bodily harm to you. You are also permitted to use force to defend a third party if your intervention is necessary to protect him or her from harm.


A disorderly conduct ticket could result from a number of different circumstances. No matter where you are — a restaurant, bar, or beach front — it is not uncommon to witness an individual display unruly behavior. Wisconsin law defines disorderly conduct as indecent, violent, profane, boisterous, abusive, unreasonably loud, or otherwise disorderly behavior that provokes or causes a disturbance in a public or private area. If you have been issued a disorderly conduct ticket, it is critical that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away to avoid further criminal consequences.

Disorderly Conduct Penalties

Depending on the severity of the disorderly conduct ticket, several different penalties could arise, such as: 

  • Fines. The highest possible fine is $1,000 and the amount owed is determined by the court.
  • Time behind bars. A jail sentence of up to 90 days can be mandated.
  • A probation agreement. This may include an order for the defendant to be enrolled in counselling such as therapy or anger management courses.
  • Community service hours. The court may require the defendant to complete services for public institutions in exchange for a smaller sentence.
  • Weapon restrictions. If a firearm was used in the disorderly conduct incident, the court can order that the defendant may not possess a firearm for a certain length of time.
  • A restraining order. This would include an order to avoid contact with the victim and his or her whereabouts, such as home and place of employment.

Collateral Consequences

As with any conviction, a finding of guilt can cause various collateral consequences. If you have been charged with a disorderly conduct ticket and are seeking employment, you might not be considered because the employer may believe you will exhibit chaotic and/or violent behavior while at work. Additionally, if you are looking to rent an apartment or a house, the landlord might not accept your application in fear that you will disturb those living in the complex or surrounding community. There are several long-lasting negative effects of a disorderly conduct charge, so it is important to explore all potential defenses. An experienced criminal lawyer can help reduce or dismiss your charges altogether. 

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