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Murphy, Volbrecht & Kuehn, S.C.
114 West Court Street
Elkhorn, WI 53121
Phone: 262-723-4110
Fax: 262-723-7197
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Walworth County Criminal Defense Law Blog

Considering a personal breathalyzer? Read this first

  • 18
  • January
    2013

It is almost too easy to unintentionally drive drunk. After all, it is not illegal to operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol; it is only illegal to operate a vehicle if you are impaired or if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

For those who have unintentionally broken drunk driving laws before as well as those who want to make absolutely sure that they are not driving with a BAC above the legal limit, portable breath test devices have become increasingly popular purchases.

Inaccurate breathalyzers cast doubt on hundreds of DUI convictions

  • 09
  • January
    2013

Wisconsin residents facing charges for driving under the influence may think they have no options when it comes to mounting a criminal defense. After all, the evidence against them seems very strong.

But it is important to remember that evidence collected by breathalyzer machines is only as accurate as the machines themselves. Furthermore, because breathalyzer and field sobriety tests are administered by humans, there is much room for error. As such, DUI defendants may have more legal options than they realize.

Federal regulators recommend stronger OWI penalties nationwide

  • 04
  • January
    2013

Wisconsin has some pretty tough penalties for individuals convicted of operating while intoxicated. But as tough as these laws and penalties are, there some who believe that Wisconsin and other states are not doing enough to combat OWI.

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a strong recommendation to all states to pass laws mandating the installation of ignition interlock devices (IID) for all first-time and repeat OWI offenders. This month, the auto safety group AAA released statements offering its support of the recommendation as well.

Law enforcement corruption leads to dismissal of 41 drug cases

  • 28
  • December
    2012

When defending yourself against criminal charges, it is important to understand that various factors beyond your past actions come into play in a court of law. The criminal justice system is designed to ensure that both guilty and innocent parties are treated in a fair manner. Even those who may have committed some illegal actions are sometimes entitled to have their charges dropped due to some misconduct on the part of law enforcement, the prosecution, those processing evidence or the judge overseeing the case.

Though the following situation did not take place in Wisconsin, the same kinds of events could certainly influence cases here and around the Midwest. Earlier this month in Pennsylvania, 41 cases involving alleged drug crimes were dismissed when it was determined that the narcotics officers involved in these cases could not be tapped as witnesses due to corruption issues including use of excessive force, fabricated evidence, stolen property and planted drugs.

Wisconsin lawmakers propose restraining order GPS monitoring

  • 21
  • December
    2012

In a puzzling move, Gov. Scott Walker is considering those who are bound by orders of protection or restraining orders to be tracked by GPS monitoring. Essentially, the technology would allow victims of alleged or confirmed domestic violence protected by these orders to be alerted when those bound by the orders are near. Presumably, those protected by the orders would then be empowered to report the alert to law enforcement.

The Brookfield shooting in October, which Gov. Walker says inspired the proposal, was truly tragic. But forcing all persons bound by restraining orders to wear GPS monitors for an indefinite period of time seems like an extreme punishment to an entire population for one disturbed individual's deeds.

Two college students facing felony charges for pot brownie prank

  • 16
  • December
    2012

In a post written earlier this month, we discussed the issue of whether marijuana usage should be legalized or decriminalized in Wisconsin. Critics of current drug laws argue that the financial and societal costs of enforcement and prosecution are simply too high.

In addition to the 18 states that have legalized medical marijuana, there is also precedent for the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Both Washington and Colorado passed such measures on Election Day in November.

Wisconsin law enforcement kicks off 'Booze and Belts' campaign

  • 07
  • December
    2012

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote that law enforcement agencies in Walworth County and around the state were increasing anti-drunk-driving enforcement efforts over the Thanksgiving weekend. Since many holidays are associated with increased incidents of drunk driving, it is common for Wisconsin law enforcement to beef up patrols during these times.

With Thanksgiving over and Christmas and New Years still a couple weeks away, one would assume that the police presence on Wisconsin roads is currently back to normal. However, this is not the case. Starting today and going through December 16th, law enforcement agencies across the state are participating in an enforcement campaign called "Booze and Belts."

Should Wisconsin consider legalizing marijuana?

  • 02
  • December
    2012

On Election Day, both Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use. Eighteen other states have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Wisconsin is not among them. Rather, Wisconsin law enforcement continues to charge individuals with drug crimes for possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana.

In light of the costs of prosecuting and housing these individuals, as well as the larger cost to society of forcing these individuals to incur serious consequences for a relatively minor crime, it may be time for Wisconsin lawmakers to consider legalizing marijuana in some circumstances.

Wisconsin law enforcement prepares for Thanksgiving DUI crackdown

  • 21
  • November
    2012

Thanksgiving is upon us, and we are ready to eat and celebrate! Many Wisconsin residents are planning to take road trips (short or long) to be with family and friends over the next few days.

If you are one of these Thanksgiving travelers, be warned: Wisconsin roads are dangerous this week - both physically and legally. Because they know that Thanksgiving week is usually accompanied by an increase in drunk driving and subsequent car accidents, state and local law enforcement officers will be out in full force and very eager to charge motorists with driving under the influence.

Legislators to introduce repeat DUI penalty bills next session

  • 16
  • November
    2012

Wisconsin legislators are currently taking a "fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice, shame on me" approach to the issue of repeat DUI offenders in the Dairy State. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, nearly 300,000 drivers in the state have at least one conviction on their record for driving under the influence. However, over 5,000 drivers have a minimum of four of these convictions on their records.

The public has begun to blame legislators for the problem of serious repeat drunk driving offenders. After all, any adult who has ever had two glasses of wine with a meal and then debated whether his or her blood alcohol content was still within the legal range can understand how a single, accidental and unintended DUI might occur and end up on an individual's record. That is a personal and quite human mistake.