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In Wiconsin, people are more often arrested for posession of crack, cocaine or marijuana. The majority of possession charges are brought by the state, while the majority of manufacutring, selling, distributing or trafficking charges are brought under federal law.

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wisconsin drug crimes
controlled substance charges

Attorney Christopher Van Wagner & Attorney Tracey Wood
Wisconsin drug defense lawyers

Wisconsin laws are tough on drug crimes, as are federal laws. Drug convictions usually result in harsh prison sentences (see Federal Drug Schedules, Wisconsin Drug Schedules). Perhaps contrary to popular belief, a person can be tried by two governments for the same crime without being placed in double jeopardy, and a person can be charged by both the state of Wisconsin and federal government for crimes including possession, selling, manufacturing or trafficking drugs because both state and federal laws prohibit such acts. Drug charges often include conspiracy charges so as to include more people in the prosecution, encourage one defendant to turn evidence against another, and allow the prosecution to choose their venue (the jurisdiction under which they charge the alleged defendant and ultimately try the case - a federal court or Wisconsin state court).

"In most instances", former federal prosecutor and current private defense lawyer, Attorney Christopher Van Wagner said, "federal and state prosecutors discuss the charges and determine which agency will prosecute the case."

Both Wisconsin and Federal laws prohibit possession, possession with the intent to deliver, delivery of a controlled substance, manufacturing drugs, and maintaining a drug dwelling. Additionally, both prohibit trafficking drugs, which is often charged under federal laws. Wisconsin laws also prohibit fraudulently acquiring prescriptions. Both Wisconsin and federal laws provide severe penalties for any drug related conviction and those penalties are more severe (enhanced) if a minor is involved in any drug related offense.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which monitors crime and punishment in the United States and around the world, the great majority of drug offenders incarcerated under mandatory sentencing laws are nonviolent men and women. Although most of these people were convicted of low-level drug-related offenses, they may have been sentenced to spend years in prison. "Whether repeat or first-time offenders," notes a HRW report, "whether convicted of possession, sale, possession with intent to sell or attempted sale, most of these offenders are guilty of minor crimes for which they should be held accountable - but for whom prison is a misguided sentence."

Federal & wisconsin drug charges & schedules

The most severe legal restrictions and penalties under both Wisconsin and federal laws involve Schedule I and II drugs. Charges range from misdemeanor offenses to felony offenses, and punishment can include jail time, prison time and treatment programs. Wisconsin drug schedules and federal drug schedules are very similar. Wisconsin's drug laws mirror the federal laws, but the penalties differ; some are less harsh and more flexible under the state's sentencing schemes than under the federal sentencing guidelines, while others are more severe.

A conviction of simple possession, for example may receive a sentence under state law of drug treatment rather than jail time, and probation may be available to first-time offenders for even the more serious crimes.

A few facts on drug charges:

  • One in four persons convicted and sentenced to prison for a drug crime is convicted of simple possessing of drugs.
  • Most people convicted for drug offenses are nonviolent.
  • Most minimum sentences range from one year in jail to three years in prison for first-time offenders, and three years to 12 years in prison for second or repeat offenders.

Over the past twenty years, the declared "war on drugs" has failed to end substance abuse, but it has succeeded in punishing and imprisoning many Americans who might otherwise lead productive lives. A felony conviction, even for a minor drug offense, is a heavy burden for anyone going back into the job market. And while it is difficult to determine in advance the exact sentence an alleged drug offender faces, rarely does a defendant get off lightly without the benefit of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Drug charges cover a broad range of offenses, from the less severe, such as simple possession of a small amount of certain drugs, to the more serious, such as participation in an ongoing drug-related criminal enterprise or manufacturing and distributing drugs. Even minor charges can be terrifying and carry the risk of serious penalties upon conviction; the more serious charges, of course, can give rise to even graver consequences.

A consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney from Van Wagner & Wood will help you understand the possible and real charges and sentencing outcomes you face, what you need to do to prepare your defense against the charges, and negotiate charges downward.

Free Initial consultation

If you under investigation for a drug related crime, invoke your right to remain silent and consult with a criminal defense attorney at Van Wagner & Wood right away. While there are no guarantees, some of Wisconsin's best "drug attorneys" as they are sometimes referred by clients are at Van Wagner & Wood; those criminal defense lawyers have been able to help many people avoid severe prison sentences.

If you have been arrested for a drug related crime, you have a right to have your attorney present at all questioning. If you are being questioned, invoke your right to remain silent and your right to have your attorney present, then call () Van Wagner & Wood and ask to speak with an attorney immediately.

If you were already convicted of a drug crime and believe your conviction or sentence were wrong, please contact criminal defense lawyer Attorney Chris Van Wagner or Attorney Tracey Wood for a free first-impression analysis of your case.

Both attorney Chris Van Wagner & attorney Tracey Wood represent people across Wisconsin who have been arrested (or convicted) of drug crimes in Federal or state courts. They frequently appear in Madison, Wisconsin Dells, Wausau, Eau Claire, Waukesha, and La Crosse Ciruit Courts of Wisconsin, as well as both Western Federal Courts in Madison and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.