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Appeals with Petit & Dommershausen-Part 1

“What to Expect When You File a Criminal Case Appeal: A Bird’s Eye View”


Part 1: Getting Started

If you have been convicted of a crime and you feel that there was an error in the legal process, you may want to appeal.  The grounds for appeal are extremely varied and not every case has appealable issues.  This post is not intended to help you decide whether your case has appellate issues, but to help clarify a process that can be confusing.

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Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Wisconsin

Anyone charged with a criminal offense faces the possibility of incarceration, fines, and lifelong consequences. You should consult a lawyer to fully understand the consequences of a criminal conviction.

Anyone charged with a criminal offense, as opposed to a civil offense, faces the possibility of incarceration. Many times, potential clients call to ask whether or not they need an attorney. Our standard response is that anyone facing the possibility of incarceration and the large fines that are available to be levied against defendants in a criminal case certainly should get legal counsel if they can afford it. When someone’s liberty is at stake, experienced, skilled and aggressive representation can make the difference between time behind bars and time spent with loved ones and in a productive capacity.

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Technology and the Law | Drug Defense

Drug Defense: Does Technology Affect The Law?

Technology changes every single day. These changes have impacts on crimes and investigations. Smart phones have recently introduced pressure-sensitive technology. What can one do with pressure-sensitive technology? Weigh items directly on their smart phone device. What kind of items? Anything. What if any impact does this technological advancement have on search warrants and police investigations?

When people are arrested for drug related offenses, investigators look to the amount of drugs in the person’s possession and any other items that could indicate dealing activity. A common item indicating drug dealing activity is a scale, used to measure and ultimately package drugs for sale. Cell phones are also often used as the primary source of communication between buyers and sellers so those are often the subject of investigation as well.

Given the Supreme Court ruling in Riley v. California, officers must obtain a search warrant for a person’s cell phone—in order to search through the content located on the phone. 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2482 (2014). Sure text messages and call logs show a lot if buyers and sellers are communicating that way, but in the future, as technology evolves, officers may also seek other information. Specifically, law enforcement may seek to look into the phone data to determine what has been weighed, how much did the substance or material weigh, when it was weighed, and even GPS coordinates could show the location where the substance or material was weighed—making it easier for law enforcement to track the dealers.

Our legal team is here to help you. We serve the Wisconsin Fox Valley area and beyond including Appleton, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Waupaca, Chilton, Fond du Lac, Shawano and beyond. Consult us for Drug Defense.

Call Petit & Dommershausen at 920-739-9900.

Great outcomes don’t “just happen”.

Drug Defense

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Cutting Through the “He Said She Said”: What Hearsay Really Means

I often have clients tell me that a statement in a criminal complaint, a police narrative, or something said in a videotaped interrogation is bogus evidence because it is “just hearsay.”  That may well be the case, but such a statement is an oversimplification.

Before diving deeper it is important to understand what hearsay is, or at least as it is understood by the legal community.  “Hearsay” is generally understood by lawyers to be any out-of-court-statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted.  More simply, hearsay is a statement that is being offered in court to prove that the contents of the statement are true.  That last word is key.

Whether or not a statement is hearsay depends on the purpose for which it is being introduced in court.  For example, if at a trial to determine whether Zane committed theft, Andy testifies that Brandy told him that she was the one who committed theft, whether or not this statement is admissible depends (in part) on the purpose this testimony is being introduced.

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Arrested in Oshkosh? | Information you need to know


             An arrest can be a parent’s or grandparent’s worst nightmare.  Maybe your child or grandchild made a mistake.  Or, even worse, your child or grandchild has been wrongfully accused of some criminal wrongdoing.

In the event one of your loved ones faces arrest or is taken into custody by law enforcement, you should be aware of the following information.  Many times officers make an arrest based on alleged probable cause without an arrest warrant.  This is a completely legal process.  If an officer makes a warrantless arrest, your child or grandchild’s arrest must be reviewed by an impartial magistrate (judge or court commissioner) within 48 business hours of arrest.  However, this does not mean your child or grandchild will go in front of the judge for a bail hearing at that time.  If a magistrate determines that probable cause exists, your son or daughter or grandchild could still sit in jail for days or more before going to court.

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Subpoenas | Help I've been subpoenaed to court!

If I’m not on Trial, do I need a Lawyer?

So you’ve been subpoenaed. Maybe this is for a case where you called the police in the first place because you were a victim or a witness. Maybe this is for a case you where you were a witness months and months ago. You’re not even sure you can remember anything! Maybe this is for a case where your friend is on trial, and you’re afraid of what you know, both for your friends’ sake and your own.

In almost all cases, you are given very little direction: a phone call to dial the night (or, if you’re lucky, the weekend) before the trial date, maybe a chance to talk to the State if you were the victim. However, that’s very little preparation ahead of time. Especially considering how big of a deal trials are! You’ll probably have to take the day off of work, the trial will probably run late (hint: it almost always does), you might not be able to remember everything now, you get nervous talking in public, the court reporter is going to be writing down everything you say, and the judge and the jury will be, well, judging you.

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Is My Child a Child Pornographer????


At Petit & Dommershausen, we get calls many times from parents who tell us that the police are at their door, they have a search warrant and they want to take all the computers, electronic devices and phones from their household as part of the warrant.  They then tearfully explain that their child is alleged to be in possession of child pornography and that he is going to be questioned by the police.  We have to reassure the parents that what the officers are saying might be technically true, there is, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.”

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17 and an adult????

If you are 17 years of age in Wisconsin you are an adult for criminal prosecution purposes.

In Wisconsin, a juvenile is an adult if they commit an alleged crime after the age of 17 years. In many instances they can be waived to adult count at a much younger age. However, for any crime, turning age 17 makes your teen an adult under Wisconsin criminal laws. However, under those same Wisconsin laws, a teen victim is considered a “child” if they are under the age of 18 years. Given that incongruity, the following strange scenario can occur.

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Is your 17-year-old teen son guilty of a sex offense?

    1. The dangers of social media.

      Your son has dated his girlfriend Jane for 6 months. At the last high school dance he breaks up with Jane and takes up with her best friend Mary. After a very public breakup, they exchange barbs with each other using various social media. As a result of facebook postings and twitter messages the word gets around school. The police school liaison officer decides to cool down the situation by intervening. The PSL interviews Jane and your son. The next thing you know, your son is charged with second degree sexual assault under Wis. stats. sec. 948.02(1)(b). Your son now will face up to 40 years in prison and registration as a sexual offender!

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