It is often worthwhile to involve an attorney when a traffic citation is issued. While most traffic cases are not criminal, significant liberties can be at stake. This is especially true for traffic violations involving alcohol or other controlled substances, where repeat offenses will result in criminal charges. Traffic violations can result in significant points against your license, or even the loss of your driver license privileges altogether. They can also effect your immigration status, particularly for non-U.S. citizens.
Misdemeanors and Felonies
A misdemeanor is any crime in Wisconsin which cannot result in prison time. Misdemeanors may often still result in jail time or house arrest, generally for one year or less. A felony is any crime whose maximum penalty could result in a period of incarceration in prison. Generally, this is any amount of incarceration that exceeds one year.
When a person is charged with a crime, their liberties are immediately at stake. The court may impose bond conditions to ensure the safety of potential victims, and to ensure the accused will appear in court. These can include monetary conditions, as well as restrictions on where a person goes, who they have contact with, where they work and where they live. It is therefore vital that you are represented by an attorney in these proceedings as early as possible.
In any given case, the pros and cons of trial or plea agreements will vary, and it is vital you have a solid understanding of all of the options and consequences. An attorney will speak on your behalf, fight to protect your rights to the greatest extent possible, and ensure you understand your options.
When the accused in a criminal matter is under the age of eighteen, they are normally sent through the juvenile justice system. These actions are referred to as “delinquencies.” Delinquency hearings are not open to the public and their results are not public records. In some cases, however, juveniles can be waived into adult court, in which case they are treated as adults and the allegations against them are considered crimes. In either case, it is important to have legal counsel to help you navigate the court system, understand your rights, and advocate on your behalf.