Tel - 414.207.4426
Tel - 608.320.6710
Many times when a bicyclist gets hit by a driver there are little or no penalties for the driver. Police often seem to side with the motorist. Local D.A.’s may claim their hands are tied and refuse to file criminal charges or agree to a light punishment as part of a plea deal. If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a motor vehicle vs. bike collision, know this:
Police cannot file criminal charges against drivers. Although police can recommend criminal charges or no charges to the D.A.., the D.A. is the one who makes the final decision on whether criminal charges will be brought and what specific charges if any. Therefore, if you are getting nowhere with the police, contact the D.A. for the county. A D.A. can file criminal charges even when a police officer only writes a citation for the driver or does not cite the driver at all. Judges in Wisconsin can sometimes bring a criminal complaint if the judge feels it is appropriate and the D.A. has refused. Therefore if you are getting nowhere with the D.A., consider contacting a lawyer to help you decide if appropriate to petition the court to ask for criminal charges. Wisconsin has a victim’s rights statute that requires certain rules throughout the criminal court process including the right of the victim to provide statements concerning sentencing and disposition.
Regarding sentencing in a criminal case, there is a presumption for probation. To overcome this presumption an injured person must persuade the judge that based on the severity of the offense, the character and rehabilitative needs of the defendant, and the need to protect the public, the defendant should receive jail or prison and not probation. Even when there is a plea deal between the driver and the D.A. a judge never has to follow the deal, and can sentence the driver to jail or prison, even if there is an agreement for probation. Although many injured persons want to see the person who injured them in jail or prison, most injured people try to obtain justice in civil courts. The only way to obtain justice in civil courts is to obtain money to fix, help, and make up for what happened.