Finding a trusted criminal lawyer is important for a number of reasons. An arrest can change your family’s lives in an instant. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect your rights and your freedom after an arrest, minimizing the potential consequences you face.
At Pruitt Law Offices S.C. we use our 30+ years of experience to fight hard for our clients. We know what it takes to achieve the best possible outcomes in even the most serious legal matters.
CRIMINAL AND TRAFFIC ATTORNEY
PRUITT ZABKOWICZ S.C. SERVICE AREAS
An ordinance is a municipal (village, town, city, county) law. A "ticket" or ordinance violation is a claim that one has violated a municipal or county ordinance (law). Examples of ordinance violations include illegal burning, underage drinking, and being in a park after hours. Ordinance violations carry forfeitures (money fines) and sometimes a driver license suspension, but not incarceration. A person charged with an ordinance violation will appear before a municipal judge, generally at the town hall or police department.
The exceptions are ordinance violations issued by a sheriff‘s department or a state trooper - those are returnable in the circuit court of the county. For example, if you receive a citation from a Racine County Sheriff or a Wisconsin State Patrol Officer, you would appear in circuit court at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center. While a person charged with an ordinance violation can be choose to be represented by an attorney, there is no right to counsel for ordinance violations. Some behaviors are regulated by both state and local governments (for example, disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana, trespass) so one could be issued an ordinance citation or a criminal charge at the officer's discretion.
Criminal offenses are violations of state criminal statutes and carry the potential of incarceration as well as monetary penalties. People accused of crimes are entitled to be represented by an attorney. If the court finds that a person can not afford to hire an attorney, the person may then have an attorney appointed to represent him or her, either by the court or by the Office of the State Public Defender.
Misdemeanors are crimes that generally carry maximums up to one year in the county jail along with monetary penalties. Misdemeanor maximum jail penalties range from thirty days to one year. Examples of misdemeanors are disorderly conduct, simple battery, retail theft, possession of marijuna, and criminal damage to property. Persons convicted of misdemeanors can, in some instances, be sentenced to prison instead of jail if certain penalty enhancers are found to apply.
Probation is available to the court as an alternative to sentencing for misdemeanors.
Felonies are crimes that generally carry maximums over one year in prison along with monetary penalties. Felony maximum prison sentences range from two years to life imprisonment. Examples of felonies are burglary, sexual assault, aggravted battery, possession of drugs with intent to deliver, forgery, and homicide. If a person is sentenced to prison, the court will order a bifurcated (two-part) sentence.
The first part of the sentence states how long the person will initially spend in prison (initial incarceration) and the second part of the sentence states how long the person will be supervised after release from prison (extended supervision). Probation is also available to the court as an alternative to sentencing for felonies.