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Not guilty! Not guilty! Not guilty! As the verdict echoed throughout the courtroom, Attorney Chris Van Wagner & his client nodded graciously at the jury for their ability to look beyond the emotion of this case to the facts. It is not easy to try a sexual assault case to a jury or in small town where most people know the case before it goes to court, but Attorney Van Wagner was able to help them do so.
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Computer Sex Crimes

Computer sex crimes encompass crimes under Wisconsin statutory law involving the use of a computer, computer storage, the Internet and means by which a person might obscure their identity while performing the acts that do or may result in an illegal sexual act or the illegal solicitation of such an act.

Under Wisconsin statutory law, a computer crime is any crime committed with a computer, any crime in which a computer is used to assist in the crime, and any crime committed by use of or abuse of a computer or a computer network. Computer crimes include hacking into a computer, placing or causing placement of a virus onto a computer owned by another person, breaking into or accessing a computer without permission or authority, violating copyright or licensing laws of computer software programs, or the mere possession of pornographic material of a minor child.

Wisconsin Computer Crimes Criminal Law Code & Statutes

Under Wisconsin law (WI Stat 948.075), if a person communicates with another via a computer (including Internet e-mail, chatrooms, and instant messages) with an intent to engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse and has reason to believe that the other person is under the age of 16 years, the first step towards committing the crime of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime (sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a minor child) has been committed. The law provides an exception: if the computer user also reasonably believes that he or she is no more than two years older than the person with whom the communications took place, the computer user must then do some act towards completing the intended sex crime.

Child Pornography

Wisconsin law provides that the mere possession of any undeveloped film, photographic negative, photograph, motion picture, videotape, or other recording of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct is a criminal act that can charged as a Class I felony. The state attorney must prove that the alleged defendant knew that he or she possessed the material, knew the character and content of the sexually explicit conduct in the material, and knew or reasonably should have known that the child that engaged in sexually explicit conduct was under 18 years of age.

child pornography charges

Child pornography (sometimes called child porn or kiddie porn) need not be discovered by police at the time of acquisition of the pornographic material. A victim who alleges to be the child in a pornographic material can assert the allegation as a minor or later in life, as an adult.

Exhibition of child pornography

If a person exhibits or plays a recording of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct when the person knows that he or she has exhibited or played the recording, and knows or reasonably should have known the nature of the content beforehand, and knows or reasonably should have known that the child engaged in the material was under the age of 18 years, the state prosecutor can charge a the possessor of the child pornography with a Class I felony. [See Felony Charges]

Use Of A Computer To Commit A Sex Crime

Any charge involving sexual contact or sexual assault is a serious one, with possible long-term life-altering consequences, including the possibility of jail, if not prison, as well as fines, restitution and strict supervision on sex offender probation with severe restrictions on such things as employment, residence, and lifestyle. These charges also bring notable stigma, embarrassment and humiliation. A court can also order that a person convicted of a sex crime, even of a misdemeanor sex crime, register as a sex offender for another fifteen years following the end of a jail or probation sentence. These ongoing effects devastate one's family, career, and financial security. When Wisconsin enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Law in 1997, all people convicted of certain sex crimes were required to register with authorities. The Sex Offender Registry, like the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access System (C-CAP), is open to the general public, the police authorities and potential employers.

Most sexual assault and related sex crimes are felony offenses, although some are misdemeanors. Regardless of the level of offense, any allegation or investigation for any sexual assault or sex-related crime is reviewed and prosecuted by the District Attorney.

However, the DA is willing to review the results of an investigation before issuing a charge, and is often willing to look at and consider information helpful to the accused. This practice is due to the inherent difficulties of proving sexual assault allegations beyond a reasonable doubt where there are no witnesses other than the complaining witness and the accused person. If you have been accused of a sex crime, if you are under investigation for a sex crime, or if you have been arrested, the best time to contact the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood is now.

The mere filing of sexual assault charges of any type, which are open to public view on the Wisconsin State Circuit Court website and the Sex Offender Registration, can do tremendous damage to a person's reputation, as well as their financial security and future career opportunities, even if those charges never result in a conviction. Whenever a person enlists the criminal defense attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood for immediate help with a sex related crime, the attorney will take whatever steps can be taken at that time to prevent the charges from being filed.


If you were placed on lifetime supervision by a court in the state of Wisconsin 15 or more years ago, or petitioned the court more than three years ago, and have not committed a criminal offense since placement, contact the lawyers at Van Wagner & Wood to discuss how you may petition the court to have your supervision terminated. (A petition for termination will not be heard if filed before 15 years has elapsed since being placed on lifetime supervision). If you were placed on lifetime supervision by a court outside Wisconsin, Van Wagner & Wood's attorneys may be able to refer you to an attorney in the original jurisdiction.

Sexual Assault Charges

When a person is accused of a sex crime, everything about the situation seems bleak and hopeless, and the walls feel like they are closing in around you. They are not, but by placing your case in our hands, you can step back and leave the hard work to us. Although there are no guarantees, at least you will know that you have the good, solid, competent, experienced, well-regarded and highly respected help of Van Wagner & Wood.

See also Sex Crimes

Attorney Chris Van Wagner and Attorney Tracey Wood, the founders of Van Wagner & Wood, devote themselves exclusively to defending people accused of, charged with, or convicted of a crime or drunk driving offense. If you are under investigation for a crime or drunk driving offense, if you have already been charged with a crime or drunk driving violation, or if you have already been convicted but believe your conviction or your sentence were wrong, please call ( or ) or e-mail the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood right away ( ). They will give you a brief but professional first-impression analysis of your case and your situation, which will allow you to take an important first step in defending the case against you.

Penalties For Child Pornography

Child pornography convictions are a Class I felony and carry fines, imprisonment, and mandatory sex offender reporting provisions.

Even if a person is acquitted of a sex crime, the mere accusation of such a crime can have lasting social stigma that affect not only the accused, but his or her family, children, job, and social standing. A conviction will usually result in additional penalties beyond those enumerated in the Wisconsin felony schedule including court ordered probation, mandatory probationary reporting, sex offender registry, and restrictions on where the person may reside (not within close proximity to a school) and what the person may do in life for a child (such as being restricted from a high school dance) or for work (unable to work in a place where children are likely to be present).

Social Norms & Sex Crime Trials

Sex crime charges often bring about reactions within the accused person's community. The media attention focused on any sexual offense is usually immense. Past media has caused many people to expect and believe the worse case scenario despite the fact that they may have known the alleged defendant for many years. That social stigma exists and it cannot be overcome by a mere statement or two. A jury is comprised of humans, so those perceptions also exist in the jury box; when the defendant goes to trial, the charges may have been tried in the minds of the community, so it often requires a tremendously zealous defense attorney to overcome general perception, as well as jury biased.

When you need that type of defense, it may help to know that Attorney Chris Van Wagner won an outright acquittal in a case involving multiple counts of sexual assaults and tried in a small town in western Wisconsin where the accused had been a member of the community for many years. The prosecuting attorney claimed to have overwhelming evidence that the accused had committed a sexual assault upon his granddaughter. Indeed, the prosecuting attorney presented a wealth of evidence, medical testimony, and strung the trial out for an entire week. Attorney Chris Van Wagner helped the jury look beyond the emotions involved in the case, beyond the emotions erupting in the lives of each and every person involved in the case, and beyond the biases or preconceived paranoia of sexual abuse occurring in a town where people seldom even lock their doors. The jury looked to the evidence, to the facts presented by both sides, and for all intents and purposes, trusted Attorney Chris Van Wagner not to lead them astray, but rather to help them understand the law and how to apply the law to his client.  :: Client acquitted on all counts of sexual assault of a minor child and repeated acts of sexual assault. ::

In another case involving a child care provider whose husband was admittedly having sexual relations with the children under the provider's care, the state of Wisconsin prosecuting attorney recommended a 10-year prison sentence for the provider who was not involved in any of the sexual assaults. With children of her own, a victim herself of her husband inappropriate and illegal behavior, a prison sentence meant the end to life as she knew it - forever. She consulted with Attorney Tracey Wood and asked Tracey to help her. Attorney Wood's national reputation for post conviction motions had been well earned through many trials and criminal appeals. Once again, Attorney Wood successfully overcame a very harsh sentence for her client who was sentenced to probation and allowed to be at home to raise her children, rather than in a state prison with her children in a foster home or adopted to another family.

Those types of results are not occasional to Attorney Chris Van Wagner and Attorney Tracey Wood of Van Wagner & Wood, S.C., rather, they are typical, which is not to say that there are any promises implied that your results will be the same, but by placing your case in their competent hands, you can be reassured that you have done all that is possible to ensure the best possible outcome given all circumstances.

Madison's Best Criminal Defense Lawyers

In each of the past surveys of all attorneys in Dane County in search of the best of the best, both Attorney Chris Van Wagner & Attorney Tracey Wood have repeatedly been named to Madison's Best Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2007, Attorney Chris Van Wagner was named to Super Lawyers, Wisconsin 2006, and Attorney Tracey Wood was named to the Board of Regents for the NCDD. The record of the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood is unparalleled.

Van Wagner & Wood's attorneys have a reputation with prosecutors and judges for being very thorough in their analysis of a case and very devoted in their representation and defense of their clients, which means, in short, that they prepare well to win. That reputation has been earned through more than thirty plus years of devoted criminal defense of every type of charge from sexual assault and drug crime charges to theft and homicide charges and the many outright acquittals that the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood have won for their clients.

Their winning record of successes and professionalism often causes prosecutors to make very favorable settlement offers (sometimes called "plea bargains" or "plea agreements") to their clients, in order to avoid a trial or hearing at which Van Wagner & Wood might prevail. Let's face it, many people investigated, or charged or convicted of a criminal or drunk driving offense are not wholly innocent. Many people hire criminal lawyers not to "fight to the bitter end," but rather to help them avoid or minimize the often unduly punitive and social consequences of what was really a one-time mistake, a poor judgment, or a rash step taken with little thought and too much emotion out of situations that arise from difficult problems with alcohol, drugs, money woes or struggling domestic relationships.

Van Wagner & Wood's attorneys represent people throughout the state of Wisconsin and most often appear in the courts located in these Wisconsin counties and cities. Van Wagner & Wood is located in downtown Madison at 10 East Doty Street. Parking is available directly under the building and accessed from East Doty (click here to see a map). Please remember to take your parking ticket to the office so that they may validate it for you.

Free First Consultation

When you are seeking criminal defense help, it helps to know that because of the past success of the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood, they may be able to obtain a very favorable outcome for you, even when everything about the situation seems bleak and hopeless. By placing your case in their competent hands, you can step back and leave the hard work to them. Although there are no guarantees, at least you will know that you have the good, solid, competent, experienced, well-regarded and highly respected help of Van Wagner & Wood.

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