Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer Robert T. Ruth has successfully defended people accused of crimes in Wisconsin and federal courts since 1993. If you face a criminal charge in a Wisconsin or federal court, contact criminal defense attorney Robert T. Ruth at (608) 257-2540 for a free consultation.
Dane County OWI, 2nd Offense - Motion to Suppress Granted, Case Dismissed
Madison, WI My client's car was stopped in a parking lot of a closed business after bar time. The officer said he stopped him to investigate why he was in the parking lot of a closed business after hours. We contended that the stop was illegal and that all of the evidence obtained after the stop should be suppressed. The judge granted the motion to suppress and the state moved to dismiss the case.
Dane County First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child-Not Guilty Verdict
Madison, WI The Dane County District Attorney charged my client with First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child. This is a 40 year felony, so the stakes were high. The alleged victim claimed that she woke up to my client assaulting her sexually, and then saw him run up the stairs in his underwear. Her mother claimed that she woke up as well and saw my client jump up and run away from girl in his underwear. The truth started to come out on cross examination, however, as the stories kept changing and the alleged victim and her mother had no good answers for many of the discrepancies. In the end, the jury deliberated for about an hour before it delivered the not guilty verdict, which meant a complete acquittal for my client.
Federal Charge-Felon in Possession of a Firearm â Not Guilty Verdict
Madison, WI In a Western District of Wisconsin firearm case, several witnesses claimed that they saw my client, a felon, in possession of a .357 magnum and a rifle. Both guns were allegedly found during a search of my clientâs motherâs house. The finger print expert at trial even testified that the rifle had my clientâs fingerprint on it. On cross examination, however, the witness stories started to break down on the question of which gun, if any, they saw my client possess. As far as the fingerprint evidence, there was no proof that the fingerprint was made on the gun after the felony conviction, nor was there proof that the fingerprint was made on the gun by knowing, intentional contact with it. After lengthy deliberations, the jury came back not guilty and my client was exonerated.
Federal Drug Charge â Motion to Suppress Granted, Case Dismissed
Milwaukee, WI In an Eastern District of Wisconsin case, my client was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Federal agents working undercover allegedly arranged to purchase one kilogram of cocaine. Just before the proposed controlled buy, agents arrested my client. They found cocaine in my clientâs vehicle, but not the one kilogram they anticipated in the controlled buy. After his arrest, my client made several statements that implicated him in the controlled buy. After a contested hearing, however, the court granted my motion to suppress the statements. This took the wind out of the prosecutorâs sail, and the government eventually dismissed the charges.
Federal Drug Conspiracy â âMere presenceâ not enough, case dismissed
Milwaukee, WI In the federal court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin my client was charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Undercover agents performed a controlled buy of cocaine from my clientâs son. My client was allegedly present during the transaction. Agents also recorded a phone called between my client and his son that they said implicated my client in the drug operation. In the end, I convinced the prosecutor that my clientâs presence at the drug deal was nothing more than âmere presenceâ at the scene of a crime and âmere associationâ with coconspirators, which is not enough to prove a criminal charge. The charges were dismissed and my client was released.
Richland County OWI â Motion to Suppress Evidence Granted/Not Guilty Verdict
Richland Center, WI My client was found sleeping in his car near the side of the road. The officer woke him up and eventually arrested him for operating while intoxicated and operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration. The court agreed with me that the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest and granted my motion to suppress the evidence obtained after the arrest. The state dismissed the prohibited alcohol concentration charge, but refused to dismiss the OWI case. The client was finally vindicated at trial, however, by a not guilty verdict on the OWI charge and a complete dismissal of all charges.
Bayfield County, OWI, 3rd Reduced to a First Offense on Appeal
Bayfield, WI The client was charged with OWI, 3rd offense. I challenged the constitutionality of the second offense. The trial court denied the motion and imposed an 80 day jail sentence, along with a fine of almost $2,000.00. The court granted our motion for bail pending appeal, however, and we appealed immediately. The court of appeals reversed the order denying the challenge to the prior offense and ordered the court to disqualify the prior offense. The case was eventually reduced to a first offense without the client spending a day in jail.
Juneau County, OWI, 3rd Reduced to First Offense
Mauston, WI The client faced a third offense OWI, which carries a jail sentence of 30 days to one year. The guidelines suggested a sentence of 60 days based on the facts of the case. The trial court granted my motion to disqualify from consideration the second offense. This reduced the charge to a first offense and eliminated the possibility of jail for my client and dramatically reduced the fine.
Sauk County Felony Battery â Not Guilty Verdict
Baraboo, WI Often the investigation makes the difference in a criminal case. This was the case in one felony battery case that I had where the alleged victim claimed that my client hit him in the face in a Sauk County tavern. There was no question that the alleged victim was hit in the face, as he received substantial injuries, and we did not dispute that my client was the one who hit him, as my client openly admitted it from the beginning. The defense was self-defense. The client testified that he thought the victim was about to hit him, so he struck first. The alleged victim denied the aggressive behavior, but his story broke down significantly during cross examination. The real game changer, however, was discovered by my investigator. In the weeks before trial my investigator asked questions at the tavern until he found an independent witness who saw the ruckus and was willing to talk about it. This witness, who did not know my client, testified that he saw the alleged victim in my clientâs face acting aggressively just before the punch. This was a game changer because the state had no legitimate way to challenge this witnessâs credibility. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict in an hour or so.
Dane County Burglary Charge â Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing
Madison, WI Here is another example of where the investigation made the difference. My client was charged with burglary based mostly on the statement of the alleged victim. At the beginning of the case, before we even had discovery, I sent out my investigator to ask some questions. He found the alleged victim and interviewed her. As it turned out, she admitted that she was not in a position to see the burglar, which was contrary to what the police reported. When I presented this fact to the prosecutor she balked at first, but later relented when I played her the recording of the interview between the alleged victim and my investigator. The charge was dismissed at the preliminary hearing.
Rock County Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child-Dismissed
Janesville, WI This is another situation where the investigation tipped the scale in our favor. The state charged my client with sexual assault based on a statement made by the alleged victim. I took the case over from another attorney several months after it started. We had a strong case and planned to fight it at trial. A few days before the trial, however, the big break came. My investigator got the alleged victim to talk to him. That is when she blurted out that she made up the whole thing. The prosecution dismissed the charges a few days later.
Milwaukee County OWI, 3rd Reduced to a First Offense
Milwaukee, Wis The client was charged with OWI, 3rd offense. The state offered to settle the case for five months jail, plus extraordinary fines. We rejected the settlement offer and I challenged the constitutionality of the second offense. After a contested hearing, the court agreed with me and granted the motion. The charge was reduced to a first offense and the possibility of jail was eliminated.
Dane County Prison Sentence â Conviction Reversed in Court of Appeals
Madison, Wis Before I represented him the client was convicted of a misdemeanor offense as a habitual criminal and sentenced to the maximum three years prison. One of the first things I did when I took the case was get the client out on bond pending appeal. Next, I challenged the sufficiency of the evidence. The judge had received into evidence at trial a document that was essential to the conviction, but it was never properly authenticated in court. It may seem like a small detail, but because the document was not properly authenticated, the court of appeals said that it could not be considered in evidence. Once that document was removed from consideration, the evidence was insufficient to convict. Fortunately, the client did not start the prison sentence, because he was released on bond pending appeal. The conviction and sentence were reversed and that was the end of the matter.
Juneau County, OWI 3rd, Reduced to a First Offense
Mauston, Wis My client was charged in Juneau County with OWI, 3rd Offense. The state offered to settle the case with 90 days in jail and fines of around $2,500.00. We rejected the offer and challenged the constitutionality of the second offense. The court granted the motion, the case was reduced to a first offense and the possibility of jail was eliminated.
Sauk County, OWI, 4th Reduced to a 3rd Offense
Baraboo, Wis Winning a challenge to a prior offense does not always eliminate the possibility of jail, but it usually makes the situation much better. In a Sauk County case charging OWI, 4th Offense, the guidelines called for a sentence of 180 days in jail. I challenged the constitutionality of one of the prior convictions. After a contested hearing, the judge agreed with me and reduced the charge to a third offense. This lowered the jail sentence to 75 days.
Federal 15 year Mandatory Minimum Defeated by State Collateral Attack
Madison, WI In the federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin my client was charged with felon in possession of a firearm. He faced a 15 year mandatory minimum under the Armed Career Criminal Act because of three or more convictions in state court for violent felonies. I filed a motion in the state case under Wisconsin Statute sec. 974.06, Stats., collaterally attacking the guilty pleas. The prosecutor contested the motion, but to no avail. The state court granted the motion and permitted the client to withdraw the guilty pleas in the violent felonies. At that point, we quickly entered a plea in the federal case and proceeded to sentencing. Because the state convictions were vacated, they did not count as criminal history or as predicate offenses under the ACCA. Thus, there was no mandatory minimum and the federal judge sentenced the client to 2 Â½ years instead of the minimum 15 years under the ACCA.
Juneau County OWI, 3rd reduced to 2nd Offense
Mauston, WI The Juneau County District Attorney charged my client with OWI, 3rd offense. Based on the alleged facts of the case, the guidelines recommended a 90 day jail sentence. We successfully challenged the constitutionality of the second offense, which reduced the charge to a second offense. The court imposed a 30 day sentence.
Columbia County drug charges â Not Guilty Verdicts
Portage, WI This case started like many drug cases. The police found illegal drugs and paraphernalia hidden in my clientâs car. My client owned the car, and he was the sole occupant at the time of the police contact. At trial, however, we presented evidence that other people were in the car earlier that evening and were in a position to leave the drugs in the car. The jury came back not guilty on both counts.
Sauk County OWI 3rd, reduced to a 2nd Offense
Baraboo, WI The Sauk County District Attorney charged my client with OWI, 3rd Offense. Under the local guidelines and the alleged facts of the case, this meant a sentence of 90-120 days. I successfully challenged the constitutionality of the second offense, which reduced this offense to a second offense. We ended up with 40 day jail sentence.