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Areas of practice:
You have the right to remain silent, exercise that right.
Do not speak to the police unless you have an attorney present.
Do not be fooled by an officer’s suggestion that he will go easy on you if you cooperate. Your statement
WILL be used against you.
After identifying yourself, request an attorney immediately. Notify the officer that you will not answer any questions without an attorney present.
Contact an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney right away.
WISCONSIN CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
I WAS CHARGED WITH A CRIME, NOW WHAT?
The initial appearance is the first time you will go in front of a judge. You will receive a copy of the criminal complaint and, if you are not represented, you will be advised of your right to an attorney. The judge will set your bond/bail to ensure that you will return to court for required appearances.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SIGNATURE BOND AND A CASH BOND?
When a signature bond is ordered, you will not need to pay any cash up front to be released from custody. However, if you fail to appear in court, your bond may be forfeited and you will have to pay the court.
When a cash bond is ordered, you will be required to pay the amount ordered by the judge to be released from custody. As long as you attend all future court appearances, the money will be returned to you after any fines and costs are deducted.
CONDITIONS OF BOND:
The judge will likely order additional conditions of release. These additional conditions depend on your charge. Drug or alcohol related charges will likely include a condition of absolute sobriety. Other conditions of bond may prohibit you from contacting an alleged victim or witness.
If you fail to appear at your court dates or violate a condition of release, you may face a bail jumping charge and/or be required to forfeit money posted.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, your arraignment will likely take place at your initial appearance. You may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. You should never enter a guilty or no contest plea without speaking with an attorney. If your case involves a felony charge, the arraignment takes place after a preliminary hearing.
PRELIMINARY HEARINGS IN WISCONSIN:
If you are charged with a felony in Wisconsin, you have the right to a preliminary hearing also known as a preliminary examination. The prosecutor must present evidence showing probable cause that you committed a felony. This is typically done by calling the arresting officer to recite what is in the police report. The defendant does not have the right to challenge the credibility of the witnesses. Therefore, the preliminary hearing is often waived by the defendant. If you waive this hearing or if the judge determines there is probable cause that you committed a felony, you will be bound over for trial and proceed to an arraignment. If the judge determines that the felony charge is not supported by probable cause, the judge may dismiss the charge or order it amended to a misdemeanor.
You should always speak to a qualified Wisconsin criminal defense attorney before deciding whether to waive your preliminary hearing.
The first court date after your arraignment is typically a pretrial conference. This is usually the first opportunity to discuss your case with the prosecutor. The prosecutor will likely provide a plea offer at this time. A good criminal defense attorney can use this time to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charge or negotiate a favorable plea. The matter will be set for a final pretrial conference and a jury trial date if no agreement is reached at the pretrial conference.
Your case will go to trial if an agreement cannot be reached. You have the right to a 12 person jury. The prosecutor has the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to meet this burden, the prosecutor must present evidence that every element of the charged offense is met beyond a reasonable doubt. All 12 jurors must unanimously agree that you are guilty before you can be convicted of the offense.
You have the right to remain silent at your trial and that silence cannot be used against you. You should always discuss your case with an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney before you decide whether to testify at your trial.
If you are found guilty at trial or enter a guilty plea, you will appear at a sentencing hearing. You have the right to present testimony, documents and to make a statement at your sentencing hearing. An attorney can assist you in deciding whether to make a statement at sentencing.
The criminal court process can be confusing and overwhelming. A good criminal defense attorney will help guide you through the process and protect your rights at every step of the way. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. Contact the McFarland Law Office to schedule your no cost no obligation consultation.
1525 Church Street
PO Box 625
Stevens Point, WI 54481