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Milwaukee WI domestic abuse charges defense laywerFalse accusations of domestic violence are more common than one might think. They can be devastating to someone’s personal reputation and professional life. It is important to take these types of sensitive criminal charges seriously by hiring an experienced attorney who has defended clients against such accusations and understands the best way to proceed with a case. 

How Does the Law Define Domestic Violence?

While you may have an idea about what acts are commonly considered to be domestic violence by the general public, Wisconsin law specifies exactly what must transpire for a charge to be properly labeled as “domestic violence.”

Wisconsin State Statute 968.075(1) defines “domestic abuse" as any of the following engaged in by an adult person against his or her spouse or former spouse, against an adult with whom the person resides or formerly resided, or against an adult with whom the person has a child in common:

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Milwaukee WI sex offense attorneyIn Wisconsin, persons who have been convicted of felony sex offenses are required to register as sex offenders for either fifteen (15) years or, for some types of convictions, lifetime registration. Sex offenses requiring registration are listed at Wis. Stat. §301.45(1d)(b). Some offenses, which are designated as “level 1” or “level 2” sex offenses against minors; persons who are placed on lifetime supervision for a “serious sex offenses” pursuant to Wis. Stats §939.615; and persons who are deemed Special Bulletin Notification (SBN) offenders under Wis. Stat. §301.46(2m)(am), are subject to lifetime sex offender reporting (SOR) and GPS monitoring.  

In June 1997, the Sex offender Registration and Community Notification Law went into effect in Wisconsin and gave law enforcement agencies the authority to disseminate information about certain sex offenders to the community, and it established the SBN process. Until September 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections interpreted the SOR and SBN laws so that persons convicted of sex offenses on “2 or more separate occasions” was defined to mean persons who were convicted of sex offenses in two or more separate cases. On September 1, 2017, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel issued formal opinion OAG-02-17, in which he concluded that "separate occasions" could mean separate counts within just one case, as well as in separate cases. The DOC adopted Schimel’s opinion in 2018 and has applied it retroactively for many convicted sex offenders, regardless of the fact that this was not the law at the time of their sentencing. AG Schimel’s opinion is at https://www.doj.state.wi.us/sites/default/files/dls/ag-opinion-archive/2017/OAG-02-17.pdf.

Under the 2018 DOC interpretation, many individuals who were not subject to “Special Bulletin Notification” and lifetime GPS monitoring (and were never told they would face such by the sentencing judge) are now unexpectedly finding that they are, and that their future includes the wearing of a GPS bracelet for the rest of their lives. These surprise retroactive restrictions raise significant legal and constitutional concerns, including ex post facto, Fourth Amendment liberty and privacy, as well as due process and the right to adequate notice. It also could call into question the validity of many past plea bargains, which were based on the criminal law that defendants were advised of and as it existed at that time.

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Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer appealsAfter you have been convicted of a crime, you may feel like you have no options. In Wisconsin, if you have been convicted of a crime, you have the right to an appeal. If you believe that errors were made during your case, you should explore all of your legal options with an attorney.

The Wisconsin Appeals Process

The first crucial step in appealing a conviction or sentence is to file a notice of intent to pursue post-conviction relief within twenty days of sentencing. Failing to do this means that you could lose your right to an appeal.

Next, you must determine your grounds for appeal. When you appeal a criminal conviction or sentence, you must argue with great specificity what mistakes occurred during your trial. Some errors commonly alleged in appeals include:

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Milwaukee criminal pardon lawyersBy Raymond Dall'Osto, Steven McGaver, and Jason Luczak

Newly-inaugurated Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers recently said that he will begin to consider applications for and issue pardons. While it had previously been speculated that Governor Evers would reinstitute pardons, he has now publicly stated that pardons will be a possibility for those convicted of state crimes in Wisconsin.

Under the law, Governor Evers can issue pardons under his executive powers. Former Governor Scott Walker, in an unprecedented manner, chose not to exercise this power and did not issue any pardons during his time in office. His stated rationale was that he believed in the court system and that he did not want to insert his judgment on the judicial process.

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Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer pardonsBy Ray Dall’Osto and Steve McGaver

Governor Scott Walker lost the November 6 gubernatorial election to Democrat Tony Evers. With the change in leadership in January 2019, hopefully there will come a change in priorities and policies in Wisconsin. One area that is expected to change is how pardons are handled. It is hoped that governor-elect Evers may reverse the current Walker policy of no pardons and no reviews and grant pardons to those he deems meritorious. 

Scott Walker was elected in 2010, and he has held office from 2011 through January 2019. He is the first governor in the State of Wisconsin’s history since 1848 to categorically refuse to exercise the state constitutional prerogative to consider or grant pardons or commutation, no matter how worthy a pardon applicant might be of getting such.

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