The police are at my door right now and want to question me. Should I talk?

Do Not Succumb to Seemingly Informal Questioning

Most cases that end up being charged criminally are the result of interrogations such as this. It’s almost always a bad idea to talk to police until after you know what they’re looking for, even if you believe you’re not in trouble or that you’ve done nothing wrong.

I or a loved one was just arrested. What should I do?

Obtain a Copy of the Criminal Complaint

Find out what charge is being brought against you, and get a copy of the criminal complaint. You can get this from the court file at the clerk’s office since these are public documents. This will give you a brief summary of the charges against you and who the witnesses are.

I was just sentenced and I want to appeal. What is my next step?

Know the Process

If convicted, a defendant may appeal his conviction by filing a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief with the trial judge, or by taking a direct appeal to the Court of Appeals. The conviction will either be reversed or upheld. If the conviction is reversed, a new trial will be held unless the prosecutor decides not to proceed. If the conviction is upheld, the defendant may try to get the Supreme Court to review the case. There is no automatic right, though, to have the case heard, and the Supreme Court only accepts about 6% of all cases filed. The Court of Appeals is designed to correct errors made by the trial court, including procedural errors, while the Supreme Court focuses mainly on constitutional issues that will have a broad, state-wide impact. The Supreme Court will not review for errors made during the trial unless the errors rise to a level that fundamentally caused an unfair trial.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

In this test, the officer passes a pen in front of your face and you are asked to follow it with your eyes. If your eyes exhibit a jerkiness (nystagmus) during the passes, it indicates intoxication. However, the officer will have to admit that nystagmus can, and does, occur naturally in many people, and that stress and bright lights (which are present at most traffic stops) can bring on nystagmus.

Cooperate

If the officers tell you that you are under arrest, do not fight. This will only add to your problems. Simply go with them and follow their instructions. You do not want to make them upset and hurt your chances of a better outcome.

Page 22 of 25

Birdsall Obear & Associates LLC


Milwaukee: (414) 831-5465
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

©Birdsall Obear & Associates LLC | 1219 N. Cass Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202