Christopher T. Van Wagner S.C. Criminal Defense

Available 24/7


Call Now Free Case Evaluation

Madison Legal Blog

What does the First Step Act change?

The tough on drugs movement resulted in harsh criminal penalties for those convicted of drug crimes, often including long prison sentences. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have recognized a need for change. The First Step Act aims to change the outcomes of drug arrests.

What is this new proposal? The First Step Act passed the Senate on Tuesday, December 18th. The House of Representatives folllowed suite on December 20th. President Donald Trump signed the bill a day later and designated April as First Step Act Month.

Can you get an OWI on your boat?

Now that the snow has finally started to melt, many in Wisconsin are turning their attention to the lake.

Yes, boating season is coming. Which means it's a good idea to review the laws around watercraft and drinking. After all, you want to catch a trophy fish not a night in jail.

Beware of getting a DUI on your snowmobile

The current winter season may be one of the longer ones Wisconsin’s seen in recent years. While many might be staying warm indoors, others may be keen to make the most out of the remaining weather. You may be one of many people hoping to enjoy treading the trails on a snowmobile before the season comes to an end.

As you head off-road for some fun, it is important not to forgo obeying traffic laws. Although you might be isolated from regular traffic, a snowmobile is still legally considered a vehicle, and operating it while intoxicated could land you a DUI.

Wisconsin's DUI laws may become significantly stricter

For a long time, Wisconsin has been the only state in the country to treat first-time DUI offenses as civil rather than criminal. Some of the benefits of this include not having to pay more than $300 in fines. First-time DUI offenders were not even required to appear in court. As of January of this year, there have been new bill proposals to tighten these laws.

Wisconsin lawmakers pass new drunk driving law

Wisconsin lawmakers have passed a law that will result in the permanent revocation of a driver’s license after a fourth operating while intoxicated (OWI) offense. This is a significant change from previous law 

In the past, the Department of Transportation could revoke driving privileges for a period ranging from several months to a year. The previous law also allowed for an occupational license while driving privileges were revoked. An occupational license basically lets a person drive with certain limitations.

New WI law limits police ability to seize cash

Wisconsin lawmakers recently passed a new civil forfeiture law.

iStock-956161264-sm.jpgWhat is civil forfeiture? Civil forfeiture is essentially the ability of police officers to seize cash from those who are suspected of criminal activity. Officers will seize property based on this legal theory in an effort to end criminal activity. Although this seems like a noble practice, the reality of civil forfeiture has raised questions.


156 PAINTING.jpgThis picture is of a painting of the drafty, rambling barn of a house in which my 10 siblings and I grew up. It was hotter than blazes in summer and suitable for meat storage in winter. The fridge was empty, but for milk, margarine and dad's shirts awaiting the iron. We slept in beds together and we fought like dogs together. Our social media had a rotary dial and a party line. Our gaming involved lumber and leather. We were spanked a little, fed a little more, clothed enough and loved a lot - the toughest love you ever felt from a shoe or a belt or a wooden spoon. And all 11 of us are still here. Our parents are gone, yet their DNA and their favorite Catholic epithets live on in the eleven of us.

But something has changed since we raced up and down the wooden stairs of that old gray-blue house. Something is different now. Something is worse now. There's something none of our parents ever had to do, and there's something we never had to do as their kids. And I was reminded of that again today. A painful reminder.

SCOTUS and the 4th Amendment: Are privacy rights under attack?

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) provides rulings that are law throughout the country. These rulings often address matters that are integral to the workings of the criminal justice system. One example: the protections guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

New proposal could change OWI laws in Wisconsin

It is currently illegal in Wisconsin to operate a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, utility terrain vehicle, off-highway motorcycle or motorboat when the driver has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. This law seems fairly straight forward at first glance, but like many things in the legal world it is very complicated.

Disabled Wisconsin man faces marijuana charges

In April of 2017 police officers conducted a search of a home in Racine. During this search, the officers found $60,223 in cash, packaging materials, scales and 1 and ½ pounds of marijuana. Based on these findings, the man in the home was charged for felony possession with intent to deliver or manufacture tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), maintaining a drug trafficking place and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The man also lived with his parents. His parents faced charges of maintaining a drug trafficking house. The man was adamant that his parents were not involved, but officers contend that the presence of much of this material within common spaces made it unlikely that the parents were not aware of the allegedly criminal activity.

We Are Available 24/7 Contact Us Today For
A Free Confidential

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

get help now

Christopher T. Van Wagner S.C.
110 E. Main Street
Suite 705
Madison, WI 53703

Phone: 608-620-6239
Fax: 608-284-1260
Madison Law Office Map

Email Us
Back to top. icon up