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Christopher Van Wagner
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Christopher Van Wagner’s Answers

7 total

  • I received an under age drinking ticket in Wisconsin is this considered a misdemeanor?

    Under severity it is listed as a "Forf. U." I had to go to court and pay a fine as well. Under statute (I am assuming this means violated) 125.07(4)(b) is listed.

    Christopher’s Answer

    In Wisconsin, a ticket for underage drinking is NOT a criminal charge. It is a civil violation, called an ordinance or forfeiture violation. You can be fined for the offense. You can also face a license suspension. If you go to court and plead no contest or guilty, the judge will tell you the amount you owe, and also whether or not your license is suspended for any period of time. But this is not a crime, and that allows you to answer "No" in the future to any question asking if you have a criminal record; you do not. Many Wisconsin municipal courts and circuit courts also offer you a chance to have the ticket dismissed, by signing up for and completing an alcohol education class, and then avoiding any other such tickets for a certain period of time, ranging from six months in some court to one year in others. It is a good idea to find out if the court in which your case is filed offers such an option, because it can keep your driving record clear of any alcohol violations altogether.

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  • What is the process to get a sentence reduction?

    My husband plead no contest to burglary charges at the end of 1999 (crime was committed in 1996 at the age of 16), and was sentenced to 3 years in WI, but has been serving an 18 year sentence (Which started in 1996) in another state where he has ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Wisconsin law does permit something called a "Motion to Modify Sentence." The grounds are normally limited to a situation where one can show the Court a "new factor", that is, something not known to the judge at the time of sentencing but which, if known, would have produced a different sentence. Here, there may be some way to use the things your husband has done over the years in prison to persuade a judge to reduce the Wisconsin sentence or, perhaps, persuade the DA to agree to some sort of modification. It is difficult to say whether this is likely or unlikely, but sentence modifications are sought often in Wisconsin. They are sometimes granted. You should contact a Wisconsin lawyer to talk this through further, if you think there really are some grounds to reduce or modify the original sentence.

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  • What will happen now? Would the charges be dropped? What would be the best option?

    My boyfriend and I got into an argument. He threatened to leave me so I called the police & said that he hit me. I also stated that he broke my finger. The police took my statement & pictures. My finger was actually broke but he didn't break it. ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    As one lawyer has already told you, this is more complicated than simply deciding whether or not to "show up". First, if you are given a subpoena for court, failing to show up can lead to your arrest. Second, if you do show up, and you testify that you lied to the police and are telling the truth now, the DA could charge you with a crime yourself, known as "Obstructing" for lying to the police in the first place. Finally, if the DA doesn't believe you now, and yet you still give that sworn testimony, the DA could also charge you with perjury, for allegedly lying on the witness stand about an important matter. As much as you may want the charges "dropped", here, you must protect yourself first. The best idea may be to talk to his attorney before ever receiving a subpoena. That lawyer, while not allowed to give you legal advice in this setting, nonetheless may be able to steer you in the best direction to try to help your boyfriend while protecting yourself. If he or she cannot give you any solid ideas or advice, then you should talk to a lawyer yourself before making any further statements to the DA or the police.

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  • Is it legal to try and find a missing person.

    My dad Michael Sego is missing and I havent seen him for 5 years. Ive been looking all over in public records and everything. My other family members haven't heard from him for a few months now. He lives in Milwaukee WI. Please help!! Im his daugh...

    Christopher’s Answer

    There isn't anything illegal or wrong with trying to locate a missing family member. Here, though, where your father hasn't been heard from for several months, you and other family members can make a report to the police that he is missing. This does not mean they will necessarily go look for him, depending upon the circumstances in which he disappeared. As a minor, however, there are really only a limited number of things you can do to try to make contact with your father. You should direct this question to other family members, rather than to a lawyer. Or perhaps you have a teacher or counselor with whom you have a good relationship. Try talking about this with one of them.

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  • Is it legal for a minor to date an adult in wisconsin?

    I am about to be 14 and my guy friend is 18. We want to be a couple but we dont know if its legal. Nothing sexual would be going on. It would just be like going to the movies and hanging out

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your parents are the only ones who could try to stop you from dating an 18 year old, because you are still only 13. Technically, they could seek help under law (in the form of a restraining order) against him, if they were truly opposed to you seeing him. You wouldn't face any real legal concerns "just" for dating him, but if you were ever questioned, say, by the police, you might be tempted to lie or cover-up for him. That would be a crime, called "Obstructing", for which you could face juvenile court or possibly a CHIPS or CPS action. He is the one who could be worried if he dates you, though. If your parents or your friends ever told a teacher or counselor that you and he were having ANY kind of sexual contact (and that covers almost all sorts of "romantic" physical contact other than hand-holding, kissing or hugging), then that teacher or counselor would be required to call that accusation in to the proper authorities. In turn, both he and you would then be the subject of a Child Protective Services investigation, and possibly too a police investigation. Truthfully, if you do care about him, you should be very careful what you say, do, text or picture message to him. And so should he.

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  • Expungment in different sates

    wh ydoes the meaning and the purpose of expungment differ in every state as to what it means and wheat it does. for example as to Wisconsin when the court expunges a recorded it doesn't really do nothing. as to Florida and other states when someth...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Each state passes its own laws regarding criminal records, including if and when a record can be expunged. For instance, Wisconsin recently changed is expungement law to allow more people to seek and obtain expungement, and for more crimes. Previously, one could only seek expungement of certain misdemeanors, and only if you committed those crimes before you turned 21. Now, if you were no older than 25 years at the time of the crime, you may seek expungement, and you may do so now even for certain low-level felonies, such as distribution of marijuana and others. And, although you say that an expunged crime doesn't really disappear, and in some ways that is true: law enforcement can always search for and find certain records. However, when a judge orders your record expunged, the clerk of court in that County must shield those records from public view, and the state court website must also remove that record. This is still an evolving area of the law in Wisconsin. You should explore your expungement chances with a lawyer who knows this area of the law.

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  • What happens if you already are a felon and you have 3 felony cases pending

    Michael kachelski

    Christopher’s Answer

    In Wisconsin, when a person is already a felon and is later charged with additional felonies, the District Attorney may file what is called a "repeater" charge. That is a charge that allows the DA to seek even greater penalties upon conviction. When a person has three open felony cases, it is quite common for the DA to show greater willingness to negotiate a "global" plea agreement, which is an offer that if accepted would settle all of the charges at the same time. This can be done even if the cases are pending in different counties, although both county DA's must be willing to do so. Such a global settlement sometimes includes a dismissal of the repeater charge. The best way to handle this, of course, is to get an attorney or apply for an appointed one, if you cannot afford a private lawyer. That lawyer, whether appointed or retained, will have the chance to seek this kind of outcome. Please note, though, that the question of "what happens" (to the defendant) when a felon has three new felony cases filed against him, always depends on the nature of those felonies as well as the strength or weakness of the evidence in those cases. A skilled experienced lawyer can always seek to exploit the weaknesses in those cases, when trying to get a better plea agreement, or "plea bargain."

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