Researching potential jurors is in your client’s best interest

For those of us who try cases, one of the most critical things in terms of trying a case is picking the jury. It is crucial to obtain as much information about prospective jurors as possible. Painstakingly reviewing the jury questionnaires prior to the jury selection is imperative. In fact using social media it is easy to plug an individual’s name into the various social media applications and a simple google search and glean information about that juror. Failure to go through this exercise could seriously impact an attorney’s ability to knowledgeably strike the jury.

Charged with an OWI in Wisconsin?

Simply because you are charged with operating while under the influence of an intoxicant in Wisconsin does not mean that you are guilty. In any case, the government has the burden of establishing each fact to a high degree of proof. In all criminal cases, it is beyond a reasonable doubt. You can either agree to relieve the government of that burden by pleading guilty, or hold the government to their burden by aggressively defending your case.

Timing for installing an Ignition Interlock Device in Wisconsin

Questions frequently arise regarding the timing for installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). The concern that arises is whether an individual has to be relicensed before they will receive credit towards having the IID on their vehicle. Normally, if an individual tests over a .15 on a first offense, has refused chemical testing, or has a second or subsequent offense, the Court is required to order that the individual install an Ignition Interlock Device on vehicle titled in their name. The question becomes if the person installs that IID immediately, and waits to get relicensed at some time in the future, does the person get credit towards the IID period from the date that the device was installed or from the date that he was relicensed.  The answer to that question is: it depends.

The Court must order installation of an IID in the situations described above. When the Court orders a period for which the IID must be installed, the time period starts to run upon the individual getting any license, unless the Court orders the IID to be installed immediately. Thus, the Court has the option of ordering the IID be installed immediately. When the Court orders immediate installation, the counting period runs from the moment that the person installs the IID device.

Therefore, it is critical that the client is made aware of the specific order and the timing for which the device is required.  Being proactive in installing an Ignition Interlock Device prior to a conviction or immediately upon conviction is not necessarily a benefit to the client and the client may not receive credit for the entire period that the device is on their vehicle. That is, the client may be required to have that device installed longer than the actual period the court ordered.

It is critical that clients are made aware of the differences in terms of the Ignition Interlock orders.  These issues should be discussed with a qualified attorney.

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ignition_interlock (Photo credit: VCU CNS)

Ignition Interlock Devices and Rental Vehicles

Recently an issue regarding the Ignition Interlock Device and the rental of vehicles was asked in my office. The issue in Wisconsin is whether or not individuals who are subject to the requirements of an Ignition Interlock Device are able to rent vehicles without the device, or is any vehicle they operate subject to the Ignition Interlock Device?

Unfortunately, the Wis. Stat. §343.301 requirement of the Ignition Interlock Devices is license specific. In fact, the Court is required to order that the person’s operating privileges be restricted only to operating vehicles with the Ignition Interlock Device installed. The Court must also order that any vehicle for which a person’s name appears on the certificates of title or registration be equipped with the Ignition Interlock Device.  Thus, even if a person is renting vehicles, the statute requires that those vehicles have the Ignition Interlock devices installed.

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ignition_interlock (Photo credit: VCU CNS)