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Madison Criminal Law Blog

Do you have to let police take a 'quick look around'?

Police officers can be intimidating regardless of whether you committed a crime or not. If police knock on your door and ask to come inside, you might feel as if you have no choice but to let them in.

Although Wisconsin police officers have a degree of authority over residents, you still have legal rights. Learning a few basics about the law can prepare you for the best way to respond to this situation.

The right to privacy

A common misconception is that you must allow the officer to search because you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. Refusing an optional search does not mean you are automatically guilty.

Instead, it means that you want to exercise your right to privacy. Historically, lawmakers and legal professionals have debated the extent of this right. However, the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from government searches without strong justification, such as probable cause and emergency.

Were you charged with assault while trying to defend yourself?

Growing up, you may have heard that you should always stick up for yourself and that standing up to bullies will get them to leave you alone. While these tactics may have proven useful to you as a child, getting into a physical altercation as an adult could have more serious consequences. Even if you feel that you had to take such action, you could still potentially face criminal charges for assault.

As many people in your situation choose to argue, you may feel that your actions were necessary due to acting out of self-defense. However, simply saying that you attempted to defend yourself may not cause the allegations of assault to disappear. Therefore, you may wish to better understand how the elements of self-defense could play into your criminal defense.

Your OWI And Ignition Interlock Devices

A conviction for drunk driving comes with various serious penalties, including jail time, expensive fines and more. One of the penalties that could have a negative impact on your life if you find yourself facing OWI charges is the required installation of an ignition interlock device.

Not every OWI offender in Wisconsin will have to have one of these devices installed in his or her car, but regardless of the nature of your case, you would be wise to learn more about the penalties you could face, along with how you can protect your interests as much as possible. With help, you can effectively confront any charge that stems from an alcohol-related offense.

Your cellphone and your rights

You probably keep many things on your cellphone. In addition to music, pictures and your favorite apps, you may have text messages archived or favorite websites bookmarked. If you are like many in Wisconsin, your phone is password protected because of the private information it contains.

What happens if police arrest you for a crime and suspect that you have evidence on your phone? Maybe they think you have photos of the crime or text messages that give details about your involvement. You probably know that police can't search your house or car without a warrant or probable cause, but can they search your phone?

How drinking diet soda can mess up a Breathalyzer test

Summer in Wisconsin is in full swing, and if you're one of many college students home for the holiday break, you're likely enjoying some down time with friends and family. You may participate in the multitude of fun things to do throughout the state during summer months, including live music concerts, picnics, trips to the beach and more. Sometimes, however, something unexpected occurs that can ruin your summer plans, such as a police officer pulling you over on your way home from a night on the town.

You may have heard horror stories about people getting convicted on drunk driving charges who swear they never touched a drop of alcohol before getting behind the wheel. There have indeed been past situations where faulty breath tests led to convictions in court. For this reason, you'll want to be aware of several things that can cause false positives to register on breath testing devices

How do I get my property back after charges are dismissed?

While investigating a suspected crime, your property can be collected as evidence. There are several times when police can take your property: after being arrested, with a search warrant, with your consent, or during any other lawful seizure. They may collect contraband, anything which is related to a crime, or which may be evidence of any crime. Once your property is seized, it is not simply returned if you are not charged with a crime, if the charges are dismissed, or if you are acquitted.

Homicide does not only refer to murder

Many individuals consider taking another human life to be a deplorable and unforgivable act. However, some events in which a person dies may not necessarily have come about due to a conscious decision to cause fatal injuries. You may have found yourself in a situation where authorities suspect that your actions may have led to the death of another individual, but you likely did not set out to cause such injuries.

Nonetheless, you could find yourself facing serious charges relating to homicide, and you may feel overwhelmed at the idea of such serious allegations, criminal proceedings and the possibility of severe punishment if a conviction takes place. Luckily, you have the right to defend against criminal charges, and understanding the different types of homicide may prove useful to you.

Criminal defense in the age of social media

The popularity of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have changed how we obtain information about suspected illegal activity. Before, the media was the primary factor that shaped our opinions about crime. Now, social media is quickly becoming the news source of choice for most people.

While the impact of social media on crime has the potential to be both positive and negative, too often a criminal defendant is viewed as guilty in the court of public opinion prior to getting to tell his or her side of the story.

What constitutes false sex assault allegations?

Being far away from home and family while living on a college campus can be an adventurous and rewarding experience. However, more often than not, it is typically very challenging in any number of ways. Probably, one of the worst things that can happen to you at college is facing false accusations of a crime. If a falsely alleged crime involves sex assault allegations, it may prove disastrous, not only for your college career, but your personal life and potential future professional life as well.

University of Virginia rape case shows impacts of false allegations

It was the piece in the Rolling Stone that caught the attention of the nation. A reporter followed the story of a young woman that claimed to be the victim of a fraternity gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia. The resulting piece, "A Rape on Campus," hit newsstands at the end of 2014.

Why did the piece catch the public's attention?

The piece in the Rolling Stone is noted for its beginning. It starts with a graphic description of the alleged rape. The victim sets the scene at a fraternity house and paints a horrifying tale. A tale that is so descriptive and so horrifying that it has all the elements of a Hollywood story.

Turns out, the flow of the story was due to the fact that it was fictitious.

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