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.

Mistaken reason for stop, no problem

Look out Wisconsin drivers, the United States Supreme Court has now ruled that an officer can stop you for a violation even if the officer is mistaken about the reason for the stop. The message from the Supreme Court in Heien v. North Carolina holds that if an officer thinks he has a reason to stop you, even if his thought process is flawed, if the Court finds that his flawed thought process was reasonable, he has the right to stop you. What does this means if you are charged with operating while under the influence of an intoxicant in Wisconsin . . . further erosion of the Fourth Amendment in our country. Decisions like this highlight the importance of having an aggressive approach to defending your OWI in Wisconsin.

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.

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)