Know the penalties for Wisconsin drug crimes

Know the penalties for Wisconsin drug crimes

Wisconsin drug possession penalties vary depending on the type of substance, the amount, prior convictions, and other factors. Before facing a court date for this type of charge, you should hire a criminal defense attorney who explains to you all the potential consequences of a conviction.

Learn more about the provisions of Wisconsin’s drug sentencing guidelines.

Types of controlled substances

Similar to federal law, Wisconsin law divides drugs into five schedules depending on their abuse potential and proven medical use. Schedule I substances include PCP, LCD and other hallucinogens, heroin and cannabis. Schedule II drugs include opium, codeine, cocaine, morphine, amphetamines, and methadone. Schedules III, IV, and V substances have less potential for abuse and widely accepted medical use. Examples include ketamine and Rohypnol.

Penalties for possession

Possession of PCP, LSD, methamphetamine, amphetamine, and psilocybin mushrooms carries up to $5,000 in fines and up to a year in jail for the first offense. Subsequent offenses are Class I felonies that result in fines of up to $10,000 and up to 3.5 years in jail. All narcotic drugs in Schedule I or II are also subject to these penalties. Cannabis is an exception that results in a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail for the first offense.

Types of possession

Law enforcement in Wisconsin can arrest you for either actual or constructive possession. Actual possession means that you are carrying the substance in your pocket or backpack or otherwise holding it on your person. Constructive possession means that you kept the drugs in your home or vehicle and planned to either distribute or use them.

The circumstances of your case significantly influence the penalties that you may receive. For example, hiring or using a child younger than 17 to manufacture, sell or distribute drugs is a Class H felony that carries up to $10,000 in fines and up to six years in prison. All Wisconsin drug offenders may receive a license suspension for six months to five years.

Eyewitness lineups can lead to wrongful arrests

Eyewitness lineups can lead to wrongful arrests

A Wisconsin man was released from prison after spending 20 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Even after 16 alibi witnesses testified to having seen the man with his family close to the time the crime was committed, a jury found him guilty after the victim chose the innocent man out of a photo lineup.

Eyewitness misidentification is a huge issue for people in Wisconsin and throughout the nation. The multitude of factors that affect the accuracy of the ID makes it difficult to believe judges and jurors would convict based off this unreliable form of identification. Yet thousands of people are sent to prison based on eyewitness identifications alone. The Innocence Project has helped to exonerate more than 360 people, after extensive testing of DNA evidence showed they were actually innocent of committing a crime. Eyewitness misidentification was involved in at least 71% of these cases. Why is this identification method so unreliable?

Environmental factors at the scene of the crime can influence a witness’s ability to choose the perpetrator from a lineup. These include the following:

  • The amount of light present at the crime scene when the incident occurred
  • The distance the witness was standing from the actual incident
  • The amount of time that has lapsed from when the incident took place
  • Whether the perpetrator used any disguises
  • Whether the perpetrator’s race is different than the witness
  • Whether a weapon was used during the crime

It is essential that the lineup administrator does not know about the crime so he or she does not lead the witness in any way. Furthermore, the lineup should have more than one filler who matches the suspect’s description. Witnesses should never feel pressured to make a selection, and told that the suspect may not be present in the lineup at all. Finally, officers should tape the entire procedure so the judge and/or jurors have access to the process. If you or your someone beloved facing such type issues then contact our Madison, WI criminal defense attorney at Mays Law Office, LLC

What is a hung jury?

What is a hung jury?

As a criminal defense lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin, I want to inform you that, If you face criminal charges, you will have the option of selecting a jury trial. A group of your peers will then be the ones to decide your fate. To render a decision, the jury must reach an agreement. In some situations, every jury must agree to the same decision, and if they fail to do so, it may result in a hung jury.

The Fully Informed Jury Association explains a hung jury is the same as a deadlocked jury wherein they cannot come to an agreement to render a decision. If a jury comes into the court and declares it cannot make a ruling in the case, the judge may require them to try again to see if they can overcome the issues and make a decision.


If the jury cannot reach a decision according to the rules of the court, then the judge will declare a mistrial. This does not mean that you are free or that you are not guilty. It means that the prosecution will have to retry the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor will do so, and you will have to go through another trial.


You will likely face another trial, which can be a good thing because your defense team already knows what will happen. The prosecutor will have a more difficult time surprising your defense team with witnesses or other evidence. This enables your team to adjust its case and possibly make changes to strengthen it. For many people, having a hung jury is a blessing because it is a do-over where they can go through the trial again knowing what worked and did not work before.

Do I need to tell an employer about my criminal record?

Do I need to tell an employer about my criminal record?

Whether you have spent time in jail, completed a probation sentence or experienced some other consequences related to a criminal conviction, when the time comes for you to find a new job, you may feel like you are experiencing yet another penalty.

Background checks may well expose your criminal past to a potential employer. However, as a criminal defense lawyer, I want to tell you that, Glassdoor indicates that you do not need to let that stop you from getting a job that helps you move forward positively.

Choosing when to disclose a criminal history

Telling a potential employer that you have been arrested for or convicted of a criminal charge does not need to be done at the outset of your job search. Your application should focus on your qualifications for the job. These qualifications may include past work experience and any relevant education or training. An interview may also highlight these areas so the employer can best assess your fit for the role in a clear manner.

When you reach the stage in the hiring process where a background check may be requested, that may be the appropriate time to share your experiences with the company.

Choosing what to say about your criminal history

When telling a potential employer about a criminal experience, your conversation should provide minimal details about the event and instead direct the focus to how you may have changed or what you learned from the situation.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people in Wisconsin some ideas about when and how to talk about a criminal record with a potential employer when applying for a new job.

What are unreasonable searches and seizures?

What are unreasonable searches and seizures?

As a criminal defense attorney in Madison and Middleton, WI, I will explain to you that, Law enforcement must respect your rights, even when you are suspected of criminal wrongdoing. According to, the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from police misconduct related to searches and seizures of your home, your property, and your person.

Police often have the right to perform these searches, but that does not mean violations never occur. When you understand the Fourth Amendment and the rights it affords you, you can identify police wrongdoing and misconduct when it occurs. This guide explains how the Fourth Amendment applies in the following common situations.


Police cannot pull a vehicle over unless there is a reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation has taken place. For example, an officer would be within their right to stop your vehicle after you have run a red light or because a tail light is out. Once the vehicle has been stopped, the officer is also permitted to search it if there is probable cause that it contains evidence. Searches can include the use of a narcotics-sniffing dog, as well as a pat down of any people riding in the vehicle.


For a law enforcement official to stop a pedestrian on the street, they must have observed conduct that indicates a crime has taken place or is taking place. In this case, the officer is allowed to stop the person to ask questions relating to their suspicions.


In most cases, a home cannot be searched by law enforcement unless there is a warrant. Such warrantless searches are legal if you consent to the search of your property, or if a person living in the home is being arrested. Law enforcement is also allowed to conduct a search without a warrant if evidence is in plain view or if there are exigent circumstances, which means there is a reasonable belief that entering a home is necessary to prevent harm, stop a suspect from fleeing, or stop evidence from being destroyed.