Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C. – Criminal Law Section 2016 Year in Review

The Criminal Defense attorneys at Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C. had numerous successes in 2016 ranging from the dismissal of OWI charges, the dismissal of a negligent homicide charge and two acquittals at jury trials. HBS has attorneys experienced in defending clients in a diverse array of state and federal offenses in administrative, trial and appellate courts. Take a look below for some of the highlights from the past year.

Dane County – Found Not Guilty of 11 Felony Charges at Trial

Attorney Bednarek’s client was charged with 11 counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm after the police found guns belonging to the client’s adult children in the client’s home. At a two day trial, Attorneys Bednarek and Engel examined and cross-examined numerous witnesses to demonstrate that the client did not possess the guns nor were they ever under his control. After a brief deliberation, the jury found the accused not guilty on all counts.

Dane County – Found Not Guilty of 3 Charges at Trial

Attorney Hurley’s young client was charged with Battery, Disorderly Conduct, and felony False Imprisonment after being accused of making unwanted advances towards another student. After the prosecution refused to dismiss the charges despite weak evidence, a three day trial was set. At trial, Attorney Hurley demonstrated his client’s innocence through examining several witnesses present immediately before and after the alleged offense, showing security camera footage, and reviewing text messages of the client and accuser. In his closing argument, Attorney Hurley explained that nothing presented by the prosecution showed that the accuser had been held against her will or been physically battered. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all 3 charges.

Dane County – First Offense OWI Dismissed

Attorney Bednarek’s client was charged with 1st Offense OWI, Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC), and Keeping Open Intoxicants in a Motor Vehicle. All three charges were dismissed on motions by the prosecutor after a pretrial conference.

Dane County – Second Offense OWI & Refusal Dismissed

Attorney Bednarek’s client was charged with a 2nd Offense OWI and a forfeiture for refusing to take a test for intoxication after his arrest. After his arrest, the client asserted his Fourth Amendment rights to refuse to participate in a blood draw without a warrant. The prosecution sought to use this exercise of his Constitutional rights against the client by arguing that his refusal to submit to the test was evidence of his guilt. Citing a recent United States Supreme Court decision stating that Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement applies to blood tests on suspected drunk drivers, Attorney Bednarek argued that the admission of refusal evidence would impermissibly penalize the client. Ultimately, both charges were dismissed.

Walworth County – 135 Days of “House Arrest” for 5th OWI

Attorney Saperstein’s client was convicted of a 5th Offense OWI, a felony with a maximum prison sentence of 6 years. In his client’s defense Attorney Saperstein filed a sentencing memorandum describing in detail the client’s extensive treatment, his advancement at work, his recent marriage and other positive factors for the court to consider. Attorney Saperstein also gathered over a dozen character letters and had some of the character references testify at the sentencing hearing. This attention to detail paid off for the client. The prosecution argued for prison, but the client ended up with just a 4 1/2 month jail sentence that he was able to serve on electronic monitoring (“house arrest”).

Rock County – Third Offense OWI Dismissed

Attorney Saperstein’s client was charged with 3rd Offense OWI after an anonymous caller reported to police that the client’s truck was weaving out of its lane. A State Trooper located the truck and personally observed it weaving within its own lane and driving on the solid fog line. After following the truck for approximately a mile the trooper pulled the client over. Attorney Saperstein filed a motion challenging the stop on constitutional grounds arguing that the weaving that the trooper observed was of too short a duration and was within the lane of travel, thus it was not enough to provide the “reasonable suspicion” necessary for a stop. The Court agreed. All evidence seized after the stop was suppressed, and the case was dismissed.

Rock County – OWI & Refusal Dismissed

Attorney Saperstein’s client was charged with OWI and, separately, with refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test. The client had been pulled over for failing to turn on his headlights after leaving a parking spot near a downtown bar. Subsequently, the client refused to perform field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a breath test. At the refusal hearing, Attorney Saperstein successfully argued that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to arrest, making the client’s refusal a valid refusal (not illegal). The prosecution had to dismiss the refusal and the OWI.

Columbia County – Negligent Homicide Dismissed

The Criminal Team’s client was charged with Homicide by Negligent Operation of a Vehicle after being involved in a truck/tractor collision in which he was accused of causing by falling asleep at the wheel. At the preliminary hearing, Attorney Bednarek cross examined the police officer who responded to the collision and when questioned he admitted that he had no information suggesting that the client fell asleep. Attorney Hurley then explained that the prosecution failed to demonstrate that there was probable cause to believe that the elements of the crime could be fulfilled as none of the evidence presented supported a finding of negligence.  The Court found that there was no reckless act creating a risk that rose to the level of criminal negligence and thus, no probable cause. The matter was dismissed.

Richland County – Felony Convictions Avoided By Negotiated Agreement

Attorney Saperstein’s client avoided possible felony convictions for Burglary and Theft through a negotiated deferred prosecution agreement. Successful completion of such an agreement results in full dismissal of the charges.

Green County – All Evidence Suppressed and Charges Dismissed in Drug Case

Attorney Bednarek’s client was charged with Possessing THC with Intent to Distribute, Maintaining a Drug Trafficking Place, and Possessing Drug Paraphernalia. The Court granted Attorney Bednarek’s motion to suppress all evidence relating to contraband seized as the search warrants violated the accused’s right against unreasonable search and seizures. All charges were dismissed as, without the illegally seize evidence, there was nothing to support the charges.

Dane County – 7 Pounds of Marijuana Suppressed and Charges Dismissed

Attorney Bednarek’s client was charged with felony Possession with Intent to Distribute THC. All evidence was suppressed as it was seized by searching the client’s apartment with only his landlord’s consent, but not either his consent or a warrant. With no evidence, all charges were dismissed.

Columbia County – Deferred Prosecution Agreement in Domestic Abuse Case

Attorney Saperstein’s client avoided a criminal conviction for domestic disorderly conduct and battery through a negotiated plea and deferred prosecution agreement. Conviction would have resulted in loss of right to possess a firearm, along with possible jail time.

Dodge County – Endangering Safety by Use of a Weapon Reduced to Disorderly Conduct

Attorney Saperstein’s client was charged with endangering safety by use of weapon for negligently firing a handgun into someone’s house while target practicing. Client took a firearm safety course and was ordered to pay a fine on a lesser disorderly conduct charge. The Court also allowed the client, who was under 25 years of age, to expunge his record after paying the fine

Rock County – Juvenile Petition Not Filed

Attorney Fiedler’s client was a juvenile accused of indecent exposure. After meeting with the juvenile intake worker, the juvenile was lectured and released. No petition was filed by the District Attorney’s Office.

Dane County – Criminal Charges Not Filed

Attorney Fiedler’s client was a college student arrested for Battery and Disorderly Conduct. The District Attorney’s Office declined to file any charges.

Green County – Juvenile Consent Decree

Attorney Fiedler’s client was a juvenile charged with a single count of Terrorist Threats. After negotiations with the District Attorney, the client received a consent decree.

Dane County – First Offenders Program

Attorney Fiedler’s client was charged with Operating a Daycare Without a License. After negotiations with the Assistant District Attorney, the client was sent to the First Offenders Program.

Eastern District of Wisconsin – Avoidance of Life Sentence

Attorney Hurley’s client was charged in federal court with racketeering related to involvement with a motorcycle club. Federal officials alleged that Attorney Hurley’s client was involved with multiple homicides, arson, and other acts. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines recommended a life sentence. However, without the client having to provide assistance to federal prosecutors, Attorney Hurley was able to achieve a sentence for the client of less than 12 years.

Dane County – Negligent Homicide Charges Not Filed

Hurley, Burish, & Stanton, S.C. represented a client undergoing an investigation where he was accused of Negligent Homicide by Negligent Operation of a Vehicle. No charges were ever filed.

Disclaimer: “These case samples are meant only to provide information to the public about the activities and experience of our lawyers and are not intended as a guarantee that same or similar results can be obtained in every matter. The outcome of a particular legal matter depends on a variety of factors including the specific factual and legal circumstances and, often, unexpected developments beyond the control of any client or lawyer.”


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