Criminal Law FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about criminal law topics. For answers to questions about your specific case, please contact Belville & Brown, LLP, in Oshkosh at 920-267-7048 for a free phone consultation or to schedule a meeting with a lawyer.

What are Miranda rights?

Most people are familiar with the idea of being "read your rights," including the right to remain silent. Other rights that should be included in a Miranda warning include your right to have a lawyer with you during any interrogation. You have the right to invoke your Miranda rights at any time during an interrogation — for example, you can refuse to answer further questions without an attorney present.

One important thing to remember is that police are only required to read you your rights if you have been arrested and are under interrogation. For example, if you have been pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving but not charged with a crime, the police officer will not necessarily read you your rights — but may very well use what you say against you.

What is the difference between a felony, a misdemeanor and an infraction?

Misdemeanor and felony changes differ primarily in the severity of the crime and penalties. In general, felony charges can result in jail time of at least a year, while misdemeanors typically carry shorter jail sentences or no jail time. Infractions such as traffic violations are punishable only by a fine and are not considered crimes.

Will a conviction affect my gun rights?

In general, a felony conviction will disqualify you from possessing a gun in Wisconsin. Some misdemeanor convictions, such as for certain drug offenses, can also affect your ability to own a gun.

When can a juvenile be tried as an adult?

In Wisconsin, juvenile court generally has jurisdiction over cases involving youth under age 17. In general, young people age 17 and older are tried as adults. Youth as young as 14 can be tried as adults for certain felony changes, including murder, homicide and sexual assault.

Is marijuana legal in Wisconsin?

All recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Wisconsin. A 2016 law allows possession of certain cannabidiol products for medical use only.