Criminal Law

questions & answers

Question: I found out I was charged with a crime through attorney promotional mail saying I needed an attorney. How long from that day does the state of WI have to actually serve me the papers or does it matter?

Answer: Below are two separate links...the first is Wisconsin's criminal procedure rules and how the process works in Wisconsin.
Here is a brief excerpt from the article...
Criminal charges usually originate in one of two ways: (1) a law enforcement officer makes an arrest on probable cause; or (2) a district attorney files a criminal complaint before the person charged (the defendant) is in custody. Law enforcement officers may make an arrest after learning of or witnessing a crime. Following an arrest, the criminal case is referred to the district attorney’s office in the county where the offense was committed. The district attorney, also known as the prosecutor, represents the state of Wisconsin in criminal cases and decides whether to charge a person with a crime. If the district attorney decides to pursue criminal charges, he or she will file a criminal complaint in circuit court to formally initiate criminal charges. The complaint
must show probable cause that the defendant committed the crime that is charged, and must specify the legal elements of the crime charged, including the possible penalty for each crime. The complaint must also detail the factual basis for the charges; in many cases, the complaint will contain the law enforcement officer’s written report. The district attorney may file a criminal complaint before the defendant is in custody if the district attorney learns of a crime from another person, such as a business owner who received a worthless check from a customer. In these cases, the district attorney may issue a summons to direct a person to appear in court on a particular date and time to face criminal charges. When the judge determines it is necessary, or when the defendant does not respond to the summons, the judge may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest if the district attorney has shown probable cause that the defendant committed the crime."

Also, according to the American Bar Association, Rule 7.3,
"(a)  A lawyer shall not by in?person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:

(1)  is a lawyer; or

(2)  has a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer."


In regards to your situation, Rule 7.3 also states:

"(c)   Every written, recorded or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from anyone known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter shall include the words "Advertising Material" on the outside envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication, unless the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2)."

In general terms, the mail you received should have said "advertising material" on it.

Here is the link:


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