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Five military personnel were arrested for theft, conspiracy, and conversion of military property (150 vehicles). Attorney Tracey Wood's client was acquitted. Three others were sentenced to federal prison and very long prison sentences.
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Wisconsin Arrests & Federal Arrests

Arrested? Now what?

The Constitution of the United States of America provides you the right to legal representation, the right to refrain from giving testimony that may incriminate you, and the right to have your attorney present during all questioning. The criminal defense attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood will represent you regardless of the charges. Invoke your constitutional rights and call the Van Wagner & Wood criminal defense firm right away.

Drunk Driving - OWI - ARREST

WARNING! If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test after being arrested for drunk driving (called OWI - operating while intoxicated) in Wisconsin, you have ten days, not counting Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays from the date in the upper right corner of the form (usually the date you were stopped, but sometimes the next day if you were stopped shortly before midnight) in which to demand a "refusal hearing." If you don't file the "refusal hearing demand" within this short time period, you'll lose your license for at least one year, and potentially as many as three years (depending on whether you've had drunk driving or refusal convictions in past years anywhere in the United States). For more information about saving your driver's license before it's too late, call ( throughout Wisconsin, or locally in Madison), submit your case online, or email the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood right away.


An arrest is a restraint on the arrested person's freedom. The purpose of an arrest is to take a person into custody so that they may be prosecuted for a crime. Police must have probable cause to make an arrest.

A booking process proves the the physical receipt of a person at a jail. Upon arrival at the jail, the arrested person waits to be "booked". The booking process involves recording the identity of the arrested person, photographing the arrested person for future reference and proof of identity, fingerprinting for current and future identification purposes, and confiscating all personal belongings, which are then accounted for by an inventory sheet of the items and placed into storage.

In Wisconsin, if a person is arrested, the arrest will appear on a person's criminal records and may appear on CCAP (the state's Circuit Court website) where most cases are published and made available to the public under Wisconsin's Open Records Act. [] As is the case with most criminal records - often called arrest records, CCAP publishes the alleged crime, the defendant's name, address and date of birth, the date of arrest, the defendant's lawyers, and the dates on which court activity will or did occur, as well as a record of information received from the defendant's lawyer on the defendant's behalf.

Getting Out of Jail

The actual charge or charges (misdemeanor or felony) and their classification determine if, when, and how you can get out of jail. If the charges are a combination of felony and misdemeanor charges, then the court will use the more severe charge to determine your eligibility for bond. However, you should discuss your situation with your criminal defense lawyer as there may be alternatives provided by law.

Posting Bond - Recognizance Bond - Signature Bond

Bond is a cash payment made to the jail or a signed promise made with the jail as a means of ensuring that the arrested person will return to court on the date and at the time notified to them upon arrest or in an information received after arrest. Wisconsin does not use bondsmen.

Posting bond means paying cash to the jail. In very few and rare situations, a court may accept a cash alternative, such as a mortgage position on a home (second mortgage position, for example), but those situations are very limited and at the sole discretion of a handful of courts which still entertain the offer.

A recognizance bond is a signature bond made by the arrested person (a promise to return). The courts and jails are not required to offer a signature bond, but may do so based on a person's previous criminal record.

A signature bond carries a monetary value ($1,000 Signature Bond). A signature bond is a promise that does not require that the monetary bond be paid unless the bonded person fails to appear in court.

Cash bond is a security of money paid to the jail to secure the release of an inmate from custody. Cash bonds are usually set according to a bond schedule. Jails provide the bond schedules. Paying a cash bond is often referred to as "posting bond" or "making bond".

Bond With Misdemeanor Charges

If a person is arrested for a misdemeanor, absent outstanding warrants or a prior criminal record that prohibits release, a cash bond may be immediately paid to the jail. Upon making bond (posting bond, paying bond), the arrested person will be released. The date upon which the bonded person must appear in court will usually be conveyed to them upon release by the jail, however in some situations, the information will be provided by the clerk of courts and mailed to the arrested person's address.

A cash bond can be made with money in the possession of the arrested person at the time of the arrest, by another person who brings the cash amount to the jail, or by credit card (for a significant fee).

Misdemeanor bonds are almost always scheduled, which simply means that the jail will possess a schedule of bond amounts given the misdemeanor charge.

If a person arrested on a misdemeanor charge does not have a means by which to pay the bond, absent other circumstances, the court (usually a magistrate judge) will release the person on their own recognizance - on a signature bond - at the time of the bond hearing. A bond hearing only addresses the arrested person's bond. They are often televised hearings.

Initial Court Appearance On Misdemeanor Charges

At an initial appearance on misdemeanor charges, the court will usually convert a cash bond to a signature bond. If a cash bond was paid, the jail will refund the bond paid to the person who paid the bond at the address provided by that person. The refund will not be paid to the arrested person until it was originally paid by that person. The refund can and usually does occur before the case concludes.

Felony Charge Jail Release

In almost all circumstances, a person arrested on a felony charge must be taken to court for a bond hearing before being released. At that hearing, the judge reviews the charges and the complaint (an information about the alleged charges made by the prosecutor and provided to the court and your criminal defense lawyer), and then decides whether the suspect is eligible for bond, and if so, the bond amount and conditions (such as that they cannot leave the state). The judge can require a large or small cash bond, or even just a signature bond. The amount of bond is at the court's exclusive discretion. If at possible, you should consult with and have your criminal defense lawyer present with you at a felony bond hearing.

In a felony case, unlike misdemeanor cases, the cash bond is retained until the case concludes. At the conclusion of a felony case, the bond is returned to the person who posted it. The courts can order that court costs, fines, or restitution be deducted from a felony bond before the balance is refunded. Some courts allow real estate bonds which place a lien against a real estate title, but real estate bonds are at each individual courts sole discretion and very uncommon in Wisconsin.

Free on Bond Now What?

The first priority for anyone recently released from jail on a cash or signature bond is to prepare for the next court date. Some event occurred that resulted in an arrest. That arrest occurred because evidence exists to substantiate that a crime was committed, and that evidence will be sitting on the other side of the courtroom in the very near future.

The best way to prepare for your next court date is to immediately contact a very experienced criminal defense lawyer. With so many lawyers out there, you may be wondering how to choose a criminal defense lawyer for your immediate needs. Perhaps the single most important criteria in choosing the right criminal defense lawyer for you and your situation is trust. Considering that this may be your very first contact with or need for a criminal defense lawyer, how can you possibly know which one to trust?

When the headlines are repeatedly blazing with one firm's name, acquittal after acquittal, it is easy to conclude that many other people in your situation have trusted that attorney, and it is easy to understand that their trust was well placed.

When Court-TV, CNN, The Capital Times, and numerous other newspapers call upon one attorney for his expert opinion, it is easy to see how highly these professionals regard that attorney, and it is easy to conclude that the attorney might be worthy of your regard.

When a national organization names its first Wisconsin attorney ever, its first female ever, and regards a young person as being worthy of its certification, then it is easy to conclude who you want in your corner.

When two attorneys out of the many attorneys who say they practice criminal defense law win acquittals that other attorneys thought they were sure to loose before the first hearing, it is easy to see who has the tenacity and intellectual fortitude that your situation requires.

Van Wagner & Wood is just such a firm. The criminal defense attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood stand ready to defend you regardless of the charges. Their record clearly reflects their hard work, their intelligent and professional approach to their cases, and their skill in developing a strategy that fits an individual clients case, while drawing upon their knowledge, experience and skill from past cases.

Their record of success and professionalism also gives clients another important advantage: this winning record and highly professional reputation often cause 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. 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.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested, please call in Madison Wisconsin or throughout Wisconsin, or e-mail the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood right away.