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What's the best option for defense?

Racine, WI |

Someone I know got caught car hopping with two other people. They're 16, 18, & 21. The 16 year old got off with nothing. The 21 year old was supposedly the ring leader. The 21 year old put a bunch of blame on the 18 year old & said he did a bunch of things he didn't actually do.. so now the 18 year old is looking at 12 years in jail. The 18 year old already sat in jail for a few days for this, & is currently on house arrest because of it. I don't want to see him waste his life away in jail.. he's so young and I really believe that he didn't do what's being said.

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Attorney answers 5


Best option for defense?
A good criminal defense lawyer.

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What you are describing is par for the course of our criminal justice system. It is heart-wrenching to see it work on someone you know and care about.

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. I am a Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin Talking to the Police - Advice from Lawyers and Police:


You need a criminal defense attorney and you need to refrain from posting details online. Meet with an attorney as soon as possible.


Everyone involved needs a good criminal defense attorney. In the end, it may not make much difference who did what, as they could each be charged for aiding and abetting each other.

This response does not create an attorney client relationship and is offered for informational purposes only. Only a lawyer fully versed on the facts and circumstances of your case can properly advise you on the case. I am licensed to practice in Minnesota, not every state. You should always consult with an attorney licensed in your area on how best to proceed.


If you are concerned enough that you really want to help this person, you should assist him in hiring an experienced criminal attorney. However, the fact that he is now on house arrest rather than the lockup does appear to be a positive development for him; the judge must have at least see some hope for him in switching his temporary detention to house arrest. Although he will face a lot of pressure to plead out, there is a lot to be said for pleading out in the juvenile system rather than facing waiver to adult court if the DA is making him such an offer. Juvenile convictions remain secret (except for law enforcement in the event of future arrests) and therefore do not have as great an impact upon future employability as adult charges do. I am not yet your attorney and will not be taking any action on your case, but you are still welcome to contact me during business hours at my in Racine if you still have more questions. Also, please see me on the web at to read 15 years of my prior answers to consumer legal questions arranged by topic, please go to Answers may contain attorney advertising materials.

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My colleagues are correct. The clear step is to put the matter in the hands of a competent attorney (if that has not already been done).

The 18 year old has a number of possiblities, depending upon his role in the offense and his criminal or delinquency history. At 18, he is not eligible for treatment as a juvenile, but it is possible that the offense, if it was committed, is expungeable.

All of this is one step up from speculation, since we don't really know the facts. It may be that the 18 year old is happy with the representation he has already. If so, you should not interfere. If he is not confident in his representation, then he should contact a lawyer and explain the facts to the attorney to get some sense of what can be done.

Mark Nielsen