We understand that people make mistakes. If you or someone you knows has recently been charged with an OWI/DUI in Marquette County, Wisconsin, having a knowledgeable and reputable criminal defense attorney is a top priority. Along with drunk driving cases, we can defend you in cases of first time offenses, multiple offenses, Felony OWI, Refusals and McNeely Issues, and cases of OWI’s resulting in injury.
In the state of Wisconsin, a first-third time offender is deemed incapable of driving a motor vehicle if their BAC is above a .08. As in any state the consequences of drunk driving in Wisconsin are serious and depending on previous convictions could result in fines, jail time, a required Ignition Interlock Device, loss of driving privileges, and more. With each offense, the presence of a minor under the age of 16, increases the severity and consequences.
The attorneys at Southworth and Stamman have backgrounds as former prosecutors and know how to expose weaknesses in the state’s case against you. As with any offense in the state, it is vital that you contact a criminal defense attorney before talking to the police, as anything you say can be used against you and as an admission of guilt.
Although a charge of OWI in Wisconsin is a very serious matter, we will defend your Constitutional rights and work towards a reduction in penalties or a case dismissal.
When looking for the right Criminal Defense Attorney in WIsconsin, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. Finding an attorney that is trusted, reputable, and skilled can mean the difference between being cleared of charges or a conviction.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Scott Southworth and Phillip Stamman are the trusted attorneys in Juneau, Sauk, and Marquette counties in Wisconsin. We understand that trust is earned and that no two cases are the same, yet all cases should be represented with the same solution in mind, clearing the charges. The trust we have earned has been garnered through our reputation of defending the rights of the accused throughout the Wisconsin Dells and surrounding areas.
The Southworth and Stamman reputation has been earned by defending Wisconsin residents and understanding that sometimes good people make mistakes. Whether it is an OWI in Marquette County, a Domestic case in Sauk County, or a White Collar Crime in Juneau County, we will take a comprehensive approach to your case delivering the best results.
In the criminal justice system the best results come from the skills of the attorneys representing you. Southworth and Stamman have each used their experience and skills in the Wisconsin Courts to protect the rights of the innocent. Scott Southworth focused his studies on Constitutional Law and Juvenile Justice from the University of Wisconsin and has been the District Attorney for Juneau County since 2004. Phillip Stamman graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and from 2009-2011 Phillip clerked for the District Attorney's Office in Juneau County, WI. With years of experience and a diverse legal background combined, Southworth and Stamman are prepared to fight for you.
Choosing the right Criminal Defense Attorney in Wisconsin can mean freedom or incarceration. Southworth and Stamman have created a trust and reputation to ensure the innocent walk free.
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC posted in drunk driving on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.
Many people in Wisconsin Dells are not aware of how dangerous driving while under the influence can be. It does not matter if the intoxication is the result of alcohol or drug use; the risk of accidents injuries and death is all too real for intoxicated motorists and everyone else on the roads. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of motorists who were legally detained for alcohol and drug-related DUIs in 2014 was more than 1.1 million. If you are on prescription medications or like to socially drink, you should learn to recognize the signs of intoxication.
Alcohol and certain drugs can alter the senses. Intoxicated drivers may have a hard time seeing things clearly. Their blurred vision and altered mind states may also cause them to hallucinate and see things that are not really there.
Alcohol and some antipsychotic medications can have a depressing effect on the body that can make some people move much slower than usual. Drivers who are influenced in this manner are not able to perform many of the fast-paced repetitive motions that are required to safely operate vehicles.
People who use substances like alcohol and drugs should monitor themselves for feelings of fatigue, sleepiness and exhaustion. Drivers should be completely alert at all times when they are behind the wheel. However, motorists who have these substances in their systems may be unable to think, let alone stay fully alert so they can maneuver the roads safely.
Inability to focus
Drivers who are unable to focus because of intoxication are also unaware of their surroundings and of the actions of other motorists. This lack of focus can lead to severe accidents, injuries and death, because drunken and intoxicated motorists may not notice changing circumstances on the road.
Driving is a skill that requires a great degree of precision. When motorists operate their cars while under the influence, they may not be capable of exercising good judgment. They are also unable to correctly analyze and respond to the actions and movements of other vehicles.
Getting pulled over for driving while intoxicated is no laughing matter. The penalties you face from a conviction can last a long time. You can easily avoid the situation by paying attention to your body for signs of intoxication and making the conscious decision not to drive. If you are dealing with a situation that is related to DUIs, you should speak with an attorney to learn about your rights and options.
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC posted in Immigration Law on Friday, October 28, 2016.
Unfortunately, too many immigrants live in fear of being arrested and deported at a moment's notice. Some are simply stopped and questioned on the street before being taken into custody, while others may be swept up in a raid at their homes or places of work. Living with this constant fear and uncertainty can be unnerving, to say the least, especially when language barriers prevent immigrants from asserting their rights. Considering this, all immigrants in Wisconsin and elsewhere should have a safety plan in place so that they will know what to do if, and when, they are ever detained by authorities.
1. Know the number of an immigration attorney: If you are arrested or detained, you have the right to speak with an attorney. Make sure you have the name and number of a lawyer experienced in deportation defense either memorized or written down, and carry the number with you. It's also a good idea to write down the lawyer's contact information and post it at your home so your family members can access the information and call the attorney on your behalf, if necessary.
2. Develop a plan with co-workers: If you work with other immigrants, you and your co-workers should set up and agree to a plan in case there is ever a raid at your workplace. One of the most important suggestions is to remain calm and not run from the authorities. Running will only add to your troubles and will send the message that you have something to hide. Additionally, all immigrants, regardless of status, should agree that they will not talk to the authorities and will remain silent throughout the raid. Everyone involved should ask to speak with an attorney before answering any questions from authorities.
3. Develop a plan for your family: Make sure your family members know what to do if you are ever arrested. They should know or be able to quickly find your immigration number (your A number) and date of birth as well as your full name. Additionally, they should be able to quickly find the contact information of your immigration attorney and the local immigration office. It is important to have that information posted at home. Finally, you need to have a plan regarding the care and well-being of your minor children and any other family members who made need living assistance. Share this plan with friends and others you can trust who can step in and help should you be detained.
4. Carry the right documents with you: This is particularly important for those who do not speak English. As it is your right to speak with an attorney, you need to have a card that details your immigration lawyer's information. Also, you can have a card printed in English that says that you will remain silent until you have talked with your attorney. The authorities should allow you to call an attorney to represent you.
5. Have copies of your immigration documents: Be sure you have copies of all of your important immigration documents stored in a secure location. Along with copies of the documents you filed with the immigration office, other documents you need to have on hand include your birth certificate, passport and marriage certificate, if applicable. Make sure your family members know how to access the documents in case they are ever needed.
While being detained by authorities can be scary, as an immigrant, you owe it to yourself and your family to have a safety plan in place. No matter your immigration status, you do have rights under the U.S. Constitution. Any immigrant in Wisconsin who has questions about his or her rights should contact an immigration lawyer for answers and assistance.
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC posted in drunk driving on Friday, August 26, 2016.
Wisconsin Dells is a great place to have a good time. Between the resorts, the night life and all the unique experiences to be had, our region something for everyone. Unfortunately, Wisconsin Dells is also a hot spot for drunk driving arrests.
The year-round population of Wisconsin Dells is fewer than 3,000 people. As a result, many of the city's drunk driving arrests are linked to individuals vacationing from out of town. If you have recently been charged with a drunk driving offense while on vacation in The Dells, it is important to act quickly in order to secure a solid legal defense before you head for home.
But I live in another city or state!
It is generally a good idea to hire legal representation for drunk driving charges in or near the area where you were cited. DUI and OWI laws vary from state to state. An attorney based near where you were pulled over is therefore likely to be more experienced with the laws affecting your individual circumstances, knowledgeable about the judges presiding over cases in that area and closer to your eventual legal proceedings than other criminal law attorneys are.
In addition, acting to find an attorney in the Wisconsin Dells area before you head home for vacation will likely be more convenient for you, as you will likely be able to meet with your attorney and discuss your case in person before you return to Wisconsin Dells to appear in regards to your case.
Isn't it cheaper to represent myself?
If you live far from the Wisconsin Dells area, you may be concerned about adding attorney's fees to the list of expenses you are likely to face due to your drunk driving arrest. You may be tempted to represent yourself in this matter in order to save money. It is ultimately up to you to decide what is best for your situation. However, proceeding without the assistance of a licensed attorney experienced in criminal law may cost you far more in the long-run than attorney's fees would.
If you are convicted of drunk driving in Wisconsin, you could face steep fines, jail time, significant community service and a serious mark on your criminal record. While hiring an experienced, local attorney does not guarantee success in your case, it may ultimately help mitigate otherwise serious consequences of your arrest.
By Phillip Stamman of Southworth and Stamman, LLC on Friday, May 13, 2016.
On Tuesdays during the Spring and Fall, mothers of high school students provide an off-campus lunch along with a Christian message at a nearby park to students. The school district, along with the City of Middleton, pressured the mothers into leaving the park, claiming they were in violation of park rules. As a result of these unfounded claims, the group retained Attorney Phillip Stamman of Southworth and Stamman.
Freedom of Speech is Constitutionally Protected at a Public Park. A public park is the quintessential public forum where free speech is constitutionally protected. Perry Education Association v. Perry Local Educators' Association, 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1983). The First Amendment prohibits restrictions on speech activity in traditional public fora such as public parks. Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 515 (1939). This speech, of course, extends to religious speech. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 515 US 753, 760 (1995). "[G]overnment suppression of speech has so commonly been directed precisely at religious speech that a free-speech clause without religion would be Hamlet without the prince." Id.
After clarification of the law to involved parties and members of the public, the mothers were permitted to continue expressing their message at the public park. Instead of moving on to more important issues, however, it appears the City of Middleton may try to continue to make attempts at suppressing the speech of these mothers.
Ongoing Attempts to Suppress Speech According to a recent article from Watchdog.org, the City of Middleton may still try to prohibit the speech of moms at a public park. Per the article, the City of Middleton Administrator, stated, "the city council is going to review use of the park for the potential to reduce the conflict next school year." Furthermore, the 'Jesus Lunch' group was put on notice that the City may not honor the group's reservations at Fireman's Park.
Why would the City encourage First Amendment litigation by attempting to restrict speech at a public park?
People have the right to express their viewpoint at a public park. This type of speech should be encouraged by public officials, not opposed. Why is the City of Middleton looking to create controversy? Why would public officials involve themselves in shutting down free speech? Suppressing speech is not a solution to a problem, but a problem itself.
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC posted in criminal defense on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.
Governor Scott Walker recently signed into law Act 371, which will increase penalties for drunk driving convictions in the state. This law turns a defendant's fourth drunk driving offense into a felony, no matter how long ago the third conviction was. In the past, the fourth conviction was only on the felony level if the previous drunk driving charge had been within the last five years.
It will also remove the review period for individuals on their fourth offense, making it nearly impossible to secure a limited occupational license. In addition, the new law makes penalties for repeat offenders much higher. If a person is convicted for a fifth or sixth time, the punishment is now up to five years behind bars.
According to Governor Walker, more than 200 people are killed each year in drunk-driving-related incidents by repeat impaired motorists. Although the number has actually fallen in the last few years, the new law is intended to deter potential offenses.
If you have been convicted of multiple drunk driving charges, it may help to get an attorney. Having a felony on your record can become a big problem when looking for a job, as some companies refuse to hire individuals with aberrant criminal histories. A conviction can also make it extremely tough to get your driver's license back -- even after you have served requisite time.
Have legal questions?
When you are charged with an OWI, several legal questions can come into play. Was your stop completely justified within the ambit of the law? Were you forced to say something under the pressure of arresting officers? Were relevant sobriety tests carried out correctly? The answers to these questions matter.
The good news is that a qualified attorney can help you raise these pertinent questions in court. At a minimum, legal representation can ensure you are treated fairly by the justice system. To learn more about the new law and how it affects your case, speak with a professional in your area.
Wisconsin Deferred Prosecution Agreements: What To Know
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
Deferred Prosecution Agreements have become one of the best tools for both prosecutors and defense attorneys to use in an effort to resolve lower-level criminal cases. For younger defendants, a Deferred Prosecution Agreement can mean a life without the burden of a criminal conviction. How these agreements are drafted, however, can make all the difference in a defendant's success or failure - and whether or not the public derives any benefit from it.
Defendants age 18-25 commit most of the crimes in our society. While a small percentage of these crimes involve violence (e.g. aggravated battery, sexual assault, homicide), most of the crimes involve damage to property, theft, disorderly conduct or driving offenses. In these types of cases, the State can obtain just as much - and often more - public benefit and restitution as a resolution involving probation and/or a jail sentence. While the defendant must proactively get treatment, pay restitution, write letters of apology, engage in community service and commit to no further criminal activity for the duration of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, the agreement also calls for ultimate dismissal of the criminal charges upon successful completion.
In Juneau County, where I served as District Attorney, we utilized Deferred Prosecution Agreements as part of an established diversion program for young offenders. The advantage of the program was a connection between the young offenders and resource agencies the program coordinator provided. Most counties do not have such a formal program in place; however, the court process - and the end result - are similar. Notably, most Deferred Prosecution Agreements require a defendant to plead guilty or no contest to a charge(s), and then the court withholds submission of the judgment of conviction pending the outcome of the agreement. If the defendant successfully completes the provisions of the agreement, the case is dismissed. If not, the State moves to revoke the agreement, and the defendant is sentenced for the crime(s) for which he or she entered a plea(s).
Deferred Prosecution Agreements, when well-drafted, allow a young offender to overcome the stigma of a criminal conviction while providing the State with a mechanism for holding offenders accountable. When employed properly, these agreements can achieve real justice...for all.
Wisconsin Marijuana Possession Laws
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC on Thursday, July 16, 2015.
Possession of Marijuana and it's Consequences. Surprising to many of our younger clients, a first offense possession of even the smallest amount of Marijuana (THC) comes with a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and one year in jail, along with a possible suspension of the person's driver's license. See Wis Stat. 961.41(3g)(e)
Though Marijuana is legal in some states, it is not currently legal in Wisconsin, and many of the counties that we practice in (Columbia County, Juneau County, Sauk County, Adams County, and Marquette County) take possession of THC and other drugs very seriously.
Even more shocking, a prior conviction of a drug offense, including simple drug paraphernalia, raises the penalty of a simple possession of THC to a felony!
People charged with possession crimes need an attorney to aggressively litigate issues to protect their rights. At Southworth and Stamman, we keep up to date with recent case law and statutes to effectively litigate and negotiate for our clients.
Here are a few legal issues that could affect your case:
Stop / Search Issues - Fourth Amendment
Many times the police illegally extend the stop by waiting for a K-9 drug dog to find drugs. This raises serious Fourth Amendment problems per a recent U.S. Supreme Court Case titled Rodriguez v. United States.
There could be many other things wrong with the search of your self, vehicle, or house. Depending on what was searched, the police must have specific and complex legal grounds to effect the search. Failing to meet these strict constitutional protections can lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Were you stopped by the police for an appropriate reason? The police must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity / traffic violation to stop you. Police are not permitted to pull a person over based upon a hunch or to randomly check for illegal activity.
Possession IssuesWere the drugs actually yours? Many of our clients are charged with drug possession, but the substance found was someone else's. We take our clients' stories seriously and work to prevent our clients from being convicted of a crime they did not do.
Drug testingWere the "drugs" actually in fact an illegal substance per Wisconsin Law? To find a person guilty in a trial, the drugs must be tested by a Crime Lab to verify the drugs are in fact an illegal substance.
This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of the potential issues in a possession case. If you are charged with a crime of drug possession, you should contact an attorney immediately to review your case.
Marijuana Possession in Wisconsin was last modified: July 16th, 2015 by Southworth & Stamman, LLC
On behalf of Southworth and Stamman, LLC on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.
On April 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in Missouri v. McNeely issued a ruling that significantly affects the handling of OWI/DUI related cases. Prior to McNeely, officers were constitutionally permitted to withdraw the blood of a suspected driver against his/her consent without first obtaining a warrant. This was considered an exception to the Fourth Amendment that prohibits warrantless searches and seizures. The argument was that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood stream constituted sufficient exigency to permit an officer forego obtaining a warrant and initiate a blood alcohol test. However, in the recent McNeely case, the Supreme Court declared that the natural dissipation of alcohol alone does not exempt the police from obtaining a warrant for OWI/DUI suspects. Essentially, a person has a basic Fourth Amendment right against a warrantless blood draw, unless the police can show sufficient need to obtain the blood immediately without a warrant.
Must Officers Now Obtain A Warrant to Draw Blood Against a Person's Consent?Generally, if a person does not consent to a blood draw, the officer must now obtain a warrant before taking the person's blood. If the officer does not obtain a warrant first, then the blood is inadmissible in court, absent a showing of additional exigent circumstances (i.e. facts showing an emergency requiring immediate action by the police). If the State proves sufficient facts of exigency, then a court will permit the warrantless search.
The Supreme Court was not specific as to what additional facts the State would need to prove to bypass the warrant requirement, but the Court did not overturn a decision that permitted a warrantless blood draw when the defendant was already hospitalized from the accident and significant time had passed (Schmerber v. California). Yet, Schmerber was decided over 40 years ago. Warrants are much easier to obtain now than in the past. In some jurisdictions, an officer can obtain a warrant in less than 10 minutes. This raises the bar for the State, making it increasingly difficult to argue that the circumstances required a warrantless blood draw. Therefore, if an officer draws upon a person's blood without his/her consent and without a warrant, then the State has much to prove for the blood draw to be admissible in court.
Is Wisconsin's Implied Consent Law Unconstitutional?Currently, Wisconsin has implied consent statutes that require drivers to consent to a blood draw or face severe penalties including the loss of one's driver's license and monetary penalties. Yet, the implied consent statutes are based in part on the incorrect interpretation that warrantless blood draws are an exception to the Fourth Amendment prohibition against warrantless searches and seizures.
The State will argue that driving in Wisconsin is a benefit and the State can simply take away that benefit by revoking the driver's license as a consequence for refusing the blood alcohol test. Indeed, the Supreme Court in McNeely even mentioned implied consent laws and failed to notice the glaring problem.
Are our constitutional rights that easy for the State to bypass? If the implied consent laws are constitutional, then the State may strip you of a driver's license on the sole basis that you decided to exercise your constitutional right against a warrantless search. Would the police then be allowed to knock on your door and ask to enter, but if you refuse, fine you or take away your homeowner's rights? Could the State pass a law that requires drivers to consent to a vehicle search at any given time? Of course not - this is a real problem for the State.
State laws cannot mandate a person to give up constitutional rights by imposing severe penalties for the exercise of those rights. By punishing those who decide to exercise his/her constitutional right via the loss of invaluable driving privileges, the state is doing just that.
At this point, the Wisconsin implied consent statutes have not been ruled unconstitutional. Now that the Supreme Court has clarified that warrantless blood searches are not per se admissible based on the Fourth Amendment protections, the constitutionality of implied consent laws are called into question. This issue needs to be litigated to protect individual's constitutional freedoms. A serious constitutional problem arises when the state penalizes you so significantly for exercising your constitutional rights.
By Phillip Stamman
Please remember that nothing written here or anywhere on our website is legal advice and the information provided should not be taken as legal advice. OWI/DUIs are very complex. If you have been charged with an OWI/DUI or a Refusal, you should contact an attorney immediately.
Southworth Law Office, LLC.