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Wisconsin drug crimes lawyer, Wisconsin defense attorneyDrug charges are one of the most complicated criminal matters in the state of Wisconsin. This is because there are so many different factors used to determine the consequence. Able to impact your life in ways that you may not have even considered, it is critical that you understand these consequences and how you can best protect yourself when facing a drug charge in Wisconsin.

Factors Used to Determine Sentencing of a Drug Charge

Like other states, Wisconsin adheres to a drug schedule to determine the penalties of a drug charge. Drugs with a higher classification – those said to have no medical use – typically result in a heavier consequence, but there are exceptions. For example, being arrested near a school can result in heavier penalties, even for those arrested with lower classification drugs in their possession. Other factors used to determine the severity of a charge will typically include the amount of substance found in possession and the number of previous drug charges. Keep in mind, however, that even these factors can be deceptive. For example, carrying above a certain amount could result in an intent to deliver charge.


Wisconsin drug attorney, Wisconsin defense lawyerOver the last couple of years, the number of Wisconsin residents suffering from a heroin addiction has been rising, but law enforcement and the media have only recently started to look at the situation as an epidemic that warrants discussion. Now considered a “public health crisis,” it is thought to affect as many as 6,700 residents and is causing more overdose deaths than ever. How did we get here? And how can Wisconsin turn things around? Unfortunately, as with all addiction, the answer is not a simple one.

How Heroin Addiction Often Starts

The typical heroin abuser does not generally start using heroin, right off the bat. Instead, doctors say that most start off addicted to opioids, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. Once that becomes too difficult to secure, or too expensive, they often move to heroin to avoid the withdrawal process. Once addicted to heroin, the risk on their life becomes that much greater because of unreliable sources and the higher risk of overdose. Unfortunately, once the addiction has reached this point, it is especially difficult to overcome without medical and mental health intervention.


Wisconsin drug laws, Wisconsin defense attorneySince the inception of the “War on Crime,” drug arrests have steadily increased across the nation – until recently. Some states have started to lean more toward treatment, rather than punishment. And, as indicated by data from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the number of drug arrests in Wisconsin have decreased dramatically over the last four years. Unfortunately, the decrease does not mean that the war is finally coming to an end. In fact, statistics for the rest of the state would indicate that quite the opposite may be true.

Milwaukee Arrests Down but Rest of State Is Up

Between 2010 and 20014, drug arrests have gone down by nearly 50 percent in the city of Milwaukee (6,000 to less than 3,300). But the rest of the state has actually seen an 11 percent increase over that same time period, which amounts to approximately 2,200 more arrests each year. When examining the reasons behind the decrease in Milwaukee and the potential increases throughout the rest of the state, there are a number of possible factors – but none of them include treating drug addiction like an illness instead of a crime.


Wisconsin drug laws, Wisconsin defense attorneyRecently, the Daily Tribune reported that heroin use in small communities throughout Wisconsin is on the rise. When paired with the severity of the state’s penalties for drug crimes and the already strained prison budget, this influx is grounds for concern. But there are none that may suffer more than those that use and may eventually be charged with a drug crime.  

Heroin and Addiction

Considered a highly addictive substance, heroin is an illicit drug processed from the opiate morphine. Those who use are at an increased risk for severe health complications, including overdoses, heart problems, skin infections or abscesses, and diseased organs. Unfortunately, once the addiction takes hold, many would rather face the risk of a complication than endure the intense withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, this may mean obtaining the drugs by any means necessary, which can further add to their already hefty drug penalties.


Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin drug lawsWhile Colorado and Washington state have legalized recreational marijuana, and a host of other states have decriminalized possession or are slated to in the near future, Wisconsin has not yet moved in that direction. Currently, the possession, sale and cultivation of marijuana in Wisconsin are all illegal. An arrest for any marijuana-related crime carries the potential for significant penalties and jail time in Wisconsin, and it is imperative to have an experienced and local criminal defense attorney on your side.

Marijuana Possession

Any amount of marijuana possession in Wisconsin is a crime, and the penalties vary depending on several factors. The first factor is whether it is your first or subsequent offense. In addition to the statutorily prescribed penalties for marijuana possession, 100 hours of community service will be added to any conviction of marijuana possession if the possession occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, youth center, public park, pool, housing project, jail, or drug treatment facility.

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