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Driving Intoxicated with a Firearm Another charge. Another real RESULT.

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Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin

Outcome: Dismissed!

A Recent Jury Trial in Waukesha:

Recently, I took over a case where my client was facing an Intoxicated Possession of a Firearm charge in Waukesha County. The accusation was that my client went armed while intoxicated in Wisconsin.  She had been pulled over driving her vehicle and issued an OWI 1st citation. Following her arrest the officer searched her vehicle and after digging around in her center console he located a firearm.  I had taken the case over after another attorney had indicated to my client that she did not have a viable case to take to trial, my client was dissatisfied with her attorney and that’s when I came on board.

At trial there were two main focal points that I focused on.  First, I wanted the jury to understand that the case was not an OWI, they were not to determine whether they believed my client was guilty of drunk driving.  That was being decided by a different court; namely a municipal court because it was a citation and not a criminal offense.  I wanted to avoid the jury from deciding this charge on the basis that they believed she was drunk driving.  It was a concern that if the jury focused on the drunk driving, even though that issue was not before them, they would convict on the firearm charge.  Second, I needed the jury to understand just how many steps it would take before this firearm could be used.  One of the major issues with the case was that the jury instructions changed during the pendency of the case.  Originally the jury instructions, which tell a jury exactly what the State has to prove to convict someone of an offense, indicated that the firearm had to be immediately available for use and depending on how many steps it takes to use the firearm the immediacy can be called into question.  The jury instruction that I was stuck with was simply that the firearm was within my client’s reach.  The firearm in question did not have a round in the chamber, it was inside of a zipped fanny pack, that fanny pack was inside of the center console, and it was not immediately accessible as it was underneath papers within the center console.  By focusing on all the steps a person would have had to take in order to use the firearm I was able to call into question whether my client had gone armed with the firearm.

After the trial the jury found my client NOT GUILTY after deliberating for about an hour.  I was able to speak to the jury after the trial and found out that the fact that the Wisconsin OWI was not criminal and likely the more dangerous conduct along with just how many steps my client would have had to take to fire the gun were the deciding factors in their verdict.

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