Temporary Restraining Orders Revisited

About a week ago I wrote a post on this blog entitled I have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order, now What? It received a fair amount of attention so I thought I had better write a follow up. There are two types of TRO’s granted in anticipation of an injunction hearing in Wisconsin regularly. Those related to harassment which often arise out of neighbor disputes and those related to domestic abuse. This post will address the domestic abuse variety. If you have been served and you are asking yourself if you need a lawyer don’t think about it any more, you do. If the court grants an injunction, there are serious consequences. These are serious cases that require the attention of a skilled professional. Some of the consequences you face include:

* Not being able to go to certain places or to do certain things.

* Losing control of certain property.

* Having to move out of your home.

* Not being able to see your children, go near other relatives or near others that live with you.

* Losing possession, care and control of your family pet.

* Not being able to own a gun or ammunition. If you already own a gun, it may have to be turned in or sold.

* If the TRO is violated, you may go to jail, pay a fine or both.

With all of these potential consequences, your hearing will come up rather quickly on the court’s calendar. You will need to consult with an attorney immediately in order for him to represent you effectively. Sometimes these matters arise out of emotional situations. Other times they are filed as a means of gaining advantage in an anticipated placement Often in the light of day, cooler heads prevail and an amicable settlement can be reached. Often, your spouse or significant other does not want to terminate that relationship and an effective negotiator can get help to get you back on track. You will not be able to have these discussions as there is a court order preventing you from doing so.

Unfortunately, often settlements cannot be reached and these cases need to go to hearing. You need a skilled litigator to advance your position and protect you from the direct consequences of this order and any potential criminal penalties. It is also worth noting that these cases appear on ccap. A future employer may not want to hire someone who has been on the wrong end of a TRO. You will need to provide your attorney with accurate information and any witnesses available. Many of these cases are nothing more than a “he said, she said.” The court will be likely to see things your way if you can support your claims.

Lastly, keep a cool head. If you lose in front of the Court Commissioner, you can always file a de novo appeal which gives you a second opportunity to be heard. You must file for this within the required timelines, so please see an attorney. Good luck.

I have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order, now What?

In my years of practice, I have handled quite a few Harassment and Domestic Violence restraining order cases. They are emotionally charged and often involve significant consequences. They are not to be trifled with. If you receive a temporary restraining order there is no question that your first call needs to be to a lawyer. Here is a brief outline of points to remember.

1. Keep a cool head:Conflict causes emotions to run high. When we act on these emotions, we often get ourselves in trouble. Sometimes in worse trouble than we were in in the first place. A good lawyer will analyze your situation and counsel you avoid precipitous behavior.

2. Comply with the restraining order: A temporary restraining order pending a final hearing is just what it says it is, an order of the court. If you choose to violate any of its directives, you are in violation of the law and likely to be prosecuted. This also puts you in a much worse position as far as the underlying injunction case goes.

3. Prepare your case thoroughly: These are real cases with real consequences. A negative finding could affect placement if your case is moving in the direction of divorce and you may be subject to loss of gun privileges. Here in Wisconsin, where many of my clients are hunters, this is a very big deal.

4. Behave yourself in court: Despite what you may think, disrespectful behavior such as gesturing, dirty looks and profanity will not endear you to the court official hearing your case. In fact, that type of inappropriate conduct may earn you an opportunity to sample the sheriff’s hospitality!

So in short, calm down and cooperate with the able lawyer you retain and things are likely to get better. Fail to do so and you may be playing into your adversary’s hands. Good Luck.

An empty inbox is a happy inbox.

If you are like me. You get a lot of email. You probably have multiple email addresses. Email can be overwhelming. Between legitimate business, spam and the many email lists you have fallen prey to, it can be difficult to dig out. I recently got out my shovel and did just that. It made me so happy that I thought would share.


As a criminal defense lawyer with a busy practice, I had amassed a whopping 3500 emails distributed between several email addresses. Much of it was garbage that I saved for later and was not likely to get to. Some was important but not very accessible without using the email search engine. Enter Evernote. Evernote is an increasingly popular app for managing your notes. These can take a variety of forms and get filed into notebooks where you tag them. The more you add, the more useful the growing database become. So here is the secret to email freedom. I must give credit to Attorney David Ward’s book, Evernote for Lawyers: A Guide to Getting Organized and Increasing Productivity.

He promotes this system and it is truly liberating. The goal is to have an empty inbox by close of business day. First, empty your inbox of all of the emails you don’t want. This took me a while. Next, forward those you want to your Evernote inbox. Once a day, review the inbox and assign these emails to an appropriate notebook, I mainly use one called “My Notes” and then tag the notes for future searches. Done. That’s it. You email inbox is empty and you have a worthwhile searchable database for those emails you can’t do without. Ward uses Evernote to run his practice. I’m not sure I would go that far, but I feel much less stressed with those emails under control. Give it a try!





Do I need a Lawyer or Don’t I?

That’s right. I said it. There are times when you don’t need a lawyer. You should be talking to one if you are asking yourself whether or not you need to hire one. Many lawyers will discuss your case with you over the phone or even meet with you for an initial consultation free of charge. I do this all the time. During the course of this meeting we will certainly cover the specifics of your case in detail. I will also advise you whether you need to hire a lawyer at all. As much as I want your business, I will give you a straight answer to this question. Even if it costs me a few bucks. I would rather have you call me when you really need me than pay me a large fee when you don’t.

Every criminal defendant needs a lawyer, no ifs ands or buts about it. If you are facing the possibility of jail time, even if that possibility is remote, you need a lawyer. Civil forfeiture cases (traffic and other matters heard in municipal court) raise interesting questions for the accused. There are technical defenses that the average layman is not equipped to argue.

In most cases, a lawyer can be helpful even if counsel merely relieves you of the stress associated with a court appearance or missed work. In other cases, an experienced attorney simply has means at his disposal to get the accused the best possible outcome. You may not need a lawyer, but you do need to make an educated decision before you go into court unrepresented.

Truck Overweight Tickets

Anyone who has ridden on the interstate has driven by a roadside scale where tractor trailers are weighed to assure that they are in compliance with weight restrictions. Local municipalities have set limits on some roads generally because of the damage caused by these large vehicles. The fines for driving a large truck on these posted roads are astronomical. I have had four calls in the last two days where drivers received fines ranging from $3,500 to $6,000. This is definitively an area where an experienced lawyer can save a client a great deal of money. The savings can be in the thousands. Based on conversations I have had with drivers and their employers, the investment in legal fees here can mean the difference between keeping and losing a means of livelihood. Give our office a call for this and any issues related to commercial motor vehicles.

Happy Thanksgiving

That first Thanksgiving when the Pilgrims sat down to eat with the Wampanoag Indians who shared in a time of giving thanks for their good fortune celebrated the fact that they had survived. Half of those 130 souls that sailed the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean for 66 days and struggled to eke out a living that first year died of a variety of misfortunes. Those who were left laid the groundwork together for a new country dedicated to freedom.

As you sit down to your Turkey with friends and family remember those hardy souls and give thanks for your good fortune. Give thanks for friends, family, food in your belly and a roof over your head. Honor the sacrifices of those who have gone before you. Remember those who are less fortunate. Above all, resist the temptations that endanger you and others. Family holidays seem to precipitate conflict. Conflict often leads to use of alcohol and other substances. Stress and impairing substances are a recipe for disaster. This mix leads to drunk driving, domestic violence and other violent crime, sometimes with tragic conclusions. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday

May God’s Blessings be upon you and yours,


Do I really need a Lawyer for a First Offense DUI?

If you are arrested for a repeat offense drunk driving or DUI in Wisconsin and convicted, there is no question that you are going to spend some time in jail as part of your sentence. Get convicted enough times, you are going to prison. On a first offense, the penalties are not as severe. In fact, there is no incarceration associated with a first offense conviction. So why invest in the services of an qualified attorney who is likely to cost more than a few bucks?

Wisconsin remains the last holdout in the criminalization of these offenses. In all likelihood this is because of the very strong lobby of the Tavern League in a state where drinking is a way of life. Drive into most unincorporated towns, you will see a convenience store, a church and two bars at the only four corners in town. While this is somewhat amusing, it is also a contributing factor to our significant problem with alcoholism and therefore drunk driving in Wisconsin.

So, first offense DUI’s a little more than a serious traffic ticket and I don’t need a lawyer for that, right? WRONG! A skilled advocate can accomplish a lot for you in one of these cases. First of all, traffic ticket or not, these are cases that require a lawyer whose practice focuses on this highly technical area of law. From constitutional challenges to scientific evidence, you need someone on your side with a strong understanding of all of the issues. In addition, even a first offense conviction can be devastating to employment in many occupations and in this economy no one needs to lose a job.

Most people arrested for DUI in Wisconsin are convicted so it’s not worth the expense, right? Once again WRONG! Even if you do not have a case that you might beat throughout pretrial motions or a jury trial, a skilled advocate is still essential. A lawyer can lessen penalties, like loss of license or fines and most importantly, might be able to help you with the issue of ignition interlock. In Wisconsin, if your blood alcohol level is found to be .15 or greater at the time of driving you are required to install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle you own. Imagine how happy your spouse who is already angry with you about the DUI will be when he or she has to blow into an IID in order to drive. Another issue many of my clients face is the shear embarrassment of driving with an IID if they drive clients around as part of their job.

I tell all of my clients that even if they hire an attorney the odds are generally against them. I’m honest. However, without a lawyer, a conviction and perhaps worse consequences at sentencing are practically guaranteed.

Call me with your me with your questions about drunk driving defense or any other criminal/traffic matters at 262.569.8300 or email me at [email protected]

Should I agree to performing field sobriety tests?

Here’s a question. You’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. The officer has asked you if you’ve been drinking and asked you to step out of your car. What’s coming next is a series of tests to determine whether you are impaired, right? Wrong. The officer, in most cases, has already decided you are intoxicated and is gathering evidence against you to use in court. So the big question is whether you should provide him with that evidence by performing the tests. In short, the answer is unfortunately, yes. In Wisconsin, if you refuse to complete the field tests the officer is deemed to have probable cause to arrest you whether you are impaired or not.

You are probably asking yourself why comply with the testing if your arrest is a foregone conclusion? Many defense lawyers take the position that once you are out of the car, you are far more likely to take a ride in the back of a police car in handcuffs than to be sent on your merry way. However, while you may be arrested, a good lawyer can mount a defense through careful cross examination on the issue of police procedures during the course of your arrest. If you refuse, there is nothing to work with. It will be assumed that the arrest is valid.

If you drink, don’t drive. If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, take the tests and then call an experienced dui attorney.

Call me with your questions. (262) 569-8300

Family Lawyers: Keep a Criminal Lawyer on Speed Dial

Emotions run high in all actions affecting the family. Perhaps the relationship was abusive, there were addiction issues that led to the divorce, or their were financial issues that keep tensions high. Regardless of the reason, it is not uncommon for litigants in divorce cases to be on the brink of activity that could land them on the wrong side of the law. Children of divorcing couples tend to act out. Adolescent children often get into adult trouble.

If you are a a lawyer representing clients in these matters, and these types of issues come up, you need a practitioner you can turn to for help. Clients tend to regard their lawyers as trust agents, or distributors of counsel for all all things legal and many things that are not. Your contact list can be valuable to you and your clients. When criminal or forfeiture issues arise, have a lawyer at your fingertips who you can consult with and still service your client. An experienced criminal defense attorney who practices primarily in this field will be your best bet. You can see my web site here. I have been working in this field for nearly twenty years. My firm Schober Schober & Mitchell, SC, is an A-V rated firm with offices in New Berlin and Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and represents clients in who have virtually every type of matter.

Keep it confidential

Attorney’s are required to protect their client’s confidential information. In fact, a lawyer can put his license to practice in jeopardy if he discloses privileged communications. So why do so many clients make the mistake of making this type of information public? We have become a society of people who love to communicate. We text, email, Tweet,blog and Facebook. What so many clients fail to appreciate is that our adversaries are out there lurking in cyberspace waiting for a slip-up. Many times I have entered a court room confident in my case only to have my position weakened by the loose lips of a client on the internet.

Many people get the the idea that they should not speak to an interrogating officer without their lawyer present. Anyone who has watched a police drama should be familiar with their Miranda rights. Why then would anyone make the mistake of putting information out there available to law enforcement, and anyone else who may happen to be looking in? Text messaging has also been the downfall of many a client as the content can be preserved and used later, sometimes with devastating results. The old adage “loose lips sink ships” is worth observing today. Control your typing fingers and keep information regarding your case between you and your attorney. Our firmcan help you with your legal questions. Check out my website for more information on finding a criminal lawyer.

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