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Madison Legal Blog

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.

SCOTUS to consider legality of cellphone location evidence

95 percent of Americans reportedly own a mobile phone. Cellphone owners use these devices for basic communication, navigation, social media and a means to meet work obligations while on the go. Although use of a cellphone is almost a given, one thing that is constantly questioned is the privacy of the information shared on these devices.

This is particularly true when it comes to criminal cases. The courts are often asked to provide guidance on when the information present on a cellphone is fodder for evidence during a criminal case. The most recent question involves location information referred to as cell site location information (CSLI). The tech experts with Wired clarify that CSLI data is gathered as much as once every 7 seconds. 

Facial recognition tech: Easier for police to access your phone?

Smart phones are getting smarter and smarter. Literally. The new iPhone X contains software that allows the device to recognize its owner's face. When in the presence of its owner, the phone will automatically unlock. The software will also continually learn the owner's face. Growing a beard? Getting a new pair of glasses? The phone will adapt and still know its owner.

In theory, this seems like a pretty handy advancement. This software can speed up access to the phone by removing the need to type in a security code. In reality, it could pose a violation of constitutional rights.

WI & drunk driving: New OWI laws in effect, are more to come?

Wisconsin lawmakers are cracking down on drunk driving violations in the state. Lawmakers have found success moving proposals forward and are gaining momentum on others. This piece discusses recent changes that are currently in effect, likely changes in the future and things that are expected to remain the same. It will also clarify how these changes could impact those who are accused of drunk driving.

IoT and evidence: Will your smart home work against you?

It may seem like something straight off the SyFy channel. A tragic death occurs at a home after a group of young men get together to watch a football game. Was it an accident? Was it murder? The police have a way to get evidence about the potential crime - a smart home device that may have been recording conversations during the alleged altercation.

The storyline above, of course, is not the plotline for a movie. It is reality. It involves the tragic death of a young man in Arkansas and is under investigation. Media reports picked up the investigation because it involves a rather novel attempt to get data from an Echo device.

Innocence lost: 3 tips when facing online character assassination

Character assassination is not a new thing. People have dealt with false accusations and presumptions of guilt for generations. Although these attempts are not novel, the process used to achieve this goal has evolved.

Gone are the days when one person would verbally share information with another in an attempt to damage a foe's reputation. Today it only takes the click of a button and false accusations can be shared with millions.

Three common heroin offenses and penalties in Wisconsin

Heroin use is on the rise. A recent publication by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that heroin use climbed 34 percent between 2013 and 2014. These numbers are more than just data from a study - they translate to real people with real struggles throughout the country.

Will Wisconsin have a white collar crime registry?

When you hear about criminal registries, you probably think about sex offenders. You may think these registries are designed with the intention of keeping the public safe from those that the justice system has deemed violent, including only those that could cause physical harm to the public.

The use of a criminal registry just for sex offenders may soon be a thing of the past. Some states are putting together similar registries for those who are convicted of white collar crimes.

Impact of Supreme Court holding on Wisconsin DUI stops

Stopped for drunk driving? It is not uncommon for the officer conducting the stop to ask for a breath or blood test to determine if you have been drinking - but what are your rights during these stops? Do you have to submit to this test?

The extent of your rights in these situations was recently discussed by the ultimate judicial authority: the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

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