Our Law Firm's Mission
Welcome to the website of Mark D. Richards S.C. Our firm specializes in all areas of criminal law in Federal and State court; as well as appeals stemming from criminal convictions. Criminal law is a specialized area and requires someone with the experience, knowledge, and know-how to provide the best possible representation. Our law practice specializes in the representation of people accused of all types of criminal law matters. The goal is to provide intelligent and aggressive representation so the client benefits in their battle with the government.
We have represented clients in both Federal and State courts charged with a variety of crimes from First Degree Intentional Homicide, major drug conspiracy, Vehicular Homicide, Sexual Assault, as well as misdemeanors, Operating While Intoxicated and minor infractions. The cornerstone of these representations has been a thorough investigation both factually and legally of all defenses so that no potential defenses are left unexplored or unlitigated. This “leave no stone unturned” type of representation has led to numerous successful outcomes for our clients.
Today, more than ever before, criminal charges and convictions can turn life upside-down.
Even before a conviction, criminal charges impact your life, loved ones, and liberty. If charged with a criminal offense, the court will set a cash or signature bond to ensure the client returns to court and behaves during the pendency of the case. The conditions of this bond vary greatly from case to case, and a criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in securing conditions that minimize the impact to a client’s family and loved ones. A client can continue working, engage in treatment, or otherwise demonstrate good behavior—better positioning themselves for a favorable resolution in the case.
As our client testimonials reflect, Attorney Richards and Attorney Dimmer have extensive experience representing clients against criminal charges from traffic violations to homicide. They work at both the State and Federal level, combining litigation, investigation, and negotiation to either secure a favorable agreement, or pursue trial when necessary to protect the client from criminal allegations.
Most criminal cases resolve without a jury trial, and the terms of the agreement to resolve a case, and the corresponding sentence, have immense consequences on a client’s future. This link provides a searchable database with the collateral consequences of a conviction both in Wisconsin as well as other states: http://www.abacollateralconsequences.org/ or http://www.wispd.org/images/AppellateFolder/FelonyConvictionsandEmploy.pdf
Each client’s needs our different when it comes to agreements—some clients need to avoid drug charges to keep student loans; some clients need non-domestic abuse enhancers to protect their right to own firearms; some clients need lower fines. Whatever the specific need, our firm has experience in arguing for a resolution that protects our clients’ futures.
To schedule a free consultation with either Attorney Richards or Attorney Dimmer, call today at 262-632-2200!
Homicide defense, unlike any other area of criminal defense, requires hiring an attorney with experience and skill in defending these highest stake cases. Attorney Richards has represented numerous clients charged with homicide over the past 25 years. He has combined litigation with thorough investigation to secure dismissals. He knows that these cases require mastery of the facts, relentless investigation, and a willingness to see cases through to jury trial when a client is backed into a corner.
Here is a great news story from the Racine Journal Times regarding one such case: http://racinedefense.com/news-stories/homicide-charges-against-jaime-rojas-dismissed/ Contact Attorney Richards today at 262-632-2200 for a free consultation.
Why hire us to handle a DUI/OWI case here in southeast Wisconsin?
1. Keep you license privileges while the case is pending. You have 10 days to request an administrative suspension hearing, which the Department of Transportation holds to determine whether to suspend your license. This happens BEFORE you are convicted of an OWI. If your license is suspended, then you must contact your insurance company for SR-22 proof of insurance. To avoid or delay getting your insurance company involved, and the likely higher premiums that go with it, contact us to help keep your license.
2. Even if the OWI is your first offense, you will face mandatory license revocation. This can range from 6-9 months, or 12 months if you refused to take a breath or blood test. An attorney can help argue for the least amount of revocation time.
3. If this is your second OWI offense or more, or your blood or breath test results are above .15, then you will be subjected to an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), for at least 12 months. IID's are very expensive, and cost drivers around $1,000 a year in maintenance, installment, and calibration. An attorney can work to get out from under this requirement, whether through negotiation or a jury trial.
4. If this is your second OWI offense or more, or you had a child under 16 years in your vehicle at the time of driving, then you will be subjected to mandatory jail time (for a fourth offense, you could be facing prison time). An attorney can help craft the terms of this mandatory jail--where, when, and how. Have a job? We can help you keep it by arguing for Huber privileges during your jail sentence. Have a job outside of Racine County? We can argue that you be able to serve your sentence in your county of residence or employment.
5. OWI cases usually involve other traffic violations, with expensive tickets. We can help reduce or eliminate those other tickets, saving you driving demerit points, costly fines, and potential suspensions.
People are often surprised how technical and scientific OWI defense work is. Just because the final blood or brteath sample is above .08, we can still challenge how that sample was obtained or whether it accurately measures your level of intoxication at the time of driving. In fact, OWI cases tend to go to trial more than other cases, because judges are bound by sentencing guidelines that limit the sentence range. At Mark D. Richards, S.C. we have the experience and skills to properly and effectively challenge OWI cases. Call today at 262-632-2200 for a free consultation.
Whether federal or in Wisconsin, drug offenses break down into three primary groups: simple possession, delivery of a controlled substance, and manufacturing of a controlled substance. Penalties for committing a drug offense vary greatly, depending on the amount of drugs, whether the offender has an underlying substance abuse problem, whether the offender is willing to participate in treatment, and what type of drugs were involved.
A drug conviction can have substantial, negative effects on a person's future. Primarily second and subsequent drug convictions are chargable as felonies, with possible prison time. For first-time offenders, drug convictions can mean the end of student loan or financial aid opportunities. Finally, a drug conviction can add to an offender's criminal history, making them more likely to become a habitual offender, even if they never commit another drug offense.
Hiring a drug defense attorney like Attorney Richards or Dimmer is the first step in addressing the above-issues. We can work to challenge the State or Federal government's case, how they obtained the drug evidence. We can act as a facilitator between the State, the court, and you, for obtaining vital treatment and direct the case toward a rehabilitative (rather than punitive) sentence. Finally, we can prepare for trial, if we cannot come to a resolution that meets your goals in resolving the matter.
Either way, the 30+ years of experience in drug-offense cases makes the attorneys at Mark D. Richards, S.C. the best choice for representing someone with a state or federal drug charge. Call today at 262-632-2200 for a free consultation.
Sexual Assault Defense
Perhaps no other area of criminal defense requires skilled representation than sexual assault defense. Short of homicide, sexual assault carries the highest penalties. Specifically, here's why hiring experienced sexual assault defense attorneys, such as Attorneys Richards or Dimmer, makes all the difference in resolving these matters:
1. Sex offender registration. If convicted of a sexual assault offense, an offender may face years or a lifetime of registering as a sex offender. This carries with it immense stigma and responsibility. We can work to resolve your case in a way that minimizes or perhaps even eliminates the need for registration.
2. Sexual assault cases involve complex investigation and litigation. In no other criminal defense case does the information admitted at trial have a bigger impact. This can include information about the complaining witnesses prior sexual conduct, the defendant's prior criminal history, the complaining witnesses treatment records or juvenile records, and allegations that the defendant committed a similar crime against someone else. We have successfully litigated motions concerning these types of information, which better-positions our clients at trial.
3. Sexual assault cases require professional representation. Due to the nature of the charges, sexual assault defense requires being very professional when dealing with the client, the client's family, and the other involved parties. At trial, experience defense attorneys can explain the client's defense to the jury appropriately and convincingly.
Again, sexual assault charges require more than some experience in criminal defense work. These cases require successful investigation, litigation, and trial representation. At Mark D. Richards, S.C. we have over 30 years of handling these high-stakes cases. Call today for a free consultation at 262-632-2200.
Domestic Violence Defense
Altercations between parents, roommates, family members, spouses, significant others, or even close friends could be charged as a domestic violence case. Here's why someone charged with a domestic violence offense should immediately contact our firm to represent them:
1. No contact bond conditions: In most domestic violence cases, the court prohibits or limits the contact between the complaining witness and the charged defendant. The terms of contact can have immediate and substantial negative effects on families, creating rifts and financial burdens. We can work with the prosecutor to shape the terms of contact in a way that minimizes the negative impact of no contact conditions until the case is over.
2. Treatment options help negotiation: In many domestic violence cases, the prosecutor and the court will look positively on immediate anger management or anti-violence treatment. Obtaining treatment can also make the difference between a jail or probation sentence and simply receiving fines. We have direct contact with several programs that offer these services, so we can best-position our clients to resolve their cases with the benefit of treatment.
3. Get both sides of the story: If the charged defendant disputes what actually occurred, then we have private investigators ready to turn over each stone in the case, to learn about the history of the parties, possible motives, and assess their credibility and statements. We have resolved many cases with lesser charges because our investigation has poked holes in the witnesses' statements or provided a full picture of what happened to the prosecutor. In short, investigation matters.
4. Domestic violence can carry substantial penalties. Some domestic violence charges, like strangulation or stalking, can carry penalties that include prison. Others include the potential for jail or probation. Even if you only receive a fine, a domestic violence conviction can prevent you from owning or possessing a firearm in the future--for life.
If you know someone who is charged with a domestic violence offense, please have them contact us for effective defense representation. Call today at 262-632-2200 for a free consultation.
Even drivers charged with traffic offenses can benefit from legal representation. Here's why:
1. Avoid taking time out of your day for court appearances. We can represent you at all court appearances without you being present. Even a run-of-the-mill traffic ticket can take 2-3 hearings, so hiring an attorney can save you precious vacation time or time with your friends and family. Not to mention the stress of going to court.
2. Tickets can be negotiated. We can work to negotiate a different citation with the prosecuting agency, whether that means a non-moving violation, a violation with less demerit points, or simply less fines. We can also seek to have additional tickets dismissed as part of resolving all your citations. Either way, hiring an attorney can save you money.
3. Missed a court date? We can help try to reopen those defaulted tickets. Even if the court defaulted your tickets, we can ask the prosecuting agency and the court to reopen them and seek a more favorable resolution.
4. Insurance woes. Your insurance company would much rather see a non-moving violation, with less demerit points, than a moving violation with high points. Even if the fine isn't much, the name and nature of the ticket can have lasting financial consequences.
5. Keep your license. As mentioned above, demerit points can add up. Whether a person with a probationary license, a commercial license, or a standard license, you need a valid license to drive. Losing demerit points can cost you those privileges for months or years.
Whether a speeding ticket or even a minor traffic violation, we can help reduce points, fines, and lasting financial consequences. If nothing else, we can take your place at court in handling the matter. Call today at 262-632-2200 for a free consultation.
Juvenile Delinquency Defense
At Mark D. Richards, S.C. we represent juveniles who have been charged with criminal offenses. These cases are handled differently than adult criminal cases, but many of the same benefits to hiring a skilled defense attorney can make the difference in how the case resolves. Here's why:
1. Avoid waiver into adult court. Depending on the age, maturity level, and nature of the charge, the prosecution could seek to waive or send the juvenile into adult court. Adult records, unlike juvenile records, are virtually permanent, so hiring an attorney experienced at preparing and handling waiver hearings can make the difference between a confidential criminal record and a public record.
2. Range of court sentencing/disposition options. The court can still send a juvenile to corrections (like prison) if found delinquent of a criminal act in Wisconsin. As juvenile defense attorneys, our job is to recommend and argue for lesser sanctions, such as in-home supervision, programming, and strict court-supervision. Removal from the home can be a painful and very detrimental experience, so hiring a juvenile defense attorney can keep your family intact.
3. Juveniles have a right to trial. Although juveniles do not have a right to a formal jury trial, juveniles still have a right to a court trial. The prosecution must still prove that the juvenile committed the charge offense, so the same benefits to hiring a skilled and experienced trial attorney apply in providing a solid defense.
4. Expungement is available in juvenile cases. Even though juvenile records are held confidentially, the court still has authority to expunge or remove from the record a juvenile's case. This great outcome is not automatic. Hiring a defense attorney can best-position you to argue for expungement.
Whether arguing against corrections or for expungement, hiring one of our attorneys can substantially benefit your child or family member facing juvenile delinquency charges. Call us today at 262-632-2200 for a free initial consultation.
Harassment Injunctions and Restraining Orders
Today, many disputes between co-works, co-parents, or even family members results in one party filing a harassment injunction or restraining order request. Although different than criminal defense, our attorneys have both the experience and skills to defend against these actions. Here's why you should hire an attorney to handle these matters.
1. Harassment injunctions and restraining orders become part of your record. These actions show up on CCAP, so the public can access them from home or at work. Avoid embarrassment from these records by defending against them.
2. Injunctions and restraining orders last for years. Courts can issue these orders and injunctions for more than a few weeks. They can affect a person for months or even years.
3. You have the right to an formal hearing, with witnesses and evidence. Although temporary restraining orders are relatively easy to obtain, you have the right to challenge the final order at an evidentiary hearing. Much like a trial or motion hearing, skilled defense counsel can help prove that the petition has no case against you and that the matter should be dismissed.
4. You could lose your firearms. In Wisconsin, you could lose your firearms if subjected to a harassment injunction or restraining order. This makes defending against them even more important.
Even if you have no objection to avoiding a person who files a harassment injunction or restraining order action against you, the negative affects of these orders make defending them a must. Call today at 262-632-2200 for an initial consultation.
Litigation and Appeals
Our firm represents and advises clients who are or might become involved in an appeal while the case is pending, as a result of a criminal conviction, or revocation of probation/parole/extended supervision. Our firm has filed interlocutory appeals seeking relief while a case is pending, sought Writs of Habeas Corpus in both state and federal courts post-conviction, filed appeals from Wisconsin Circuit Court rulings and taken them through the state appellate process all the way to the 7th Circuit for relief.
Moreover our firm is not only capable of filing for such relief, but has had the opportunity to argue cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, 7th Circuit, and Federal Court. Attorney Richards successfully argued a search warrant case in State of Wisconsin v. Tye, 248 Wis.2d 530, 636 N.W.2d 473, 2001 WI 124 (2001), before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Attorneys Mark Richards has been successful in overturning jury trial verdicts and obtained the right to a new trial in Wisconsin Circuit Courts. In State v. Adrial White, Racine County Circuit Court Case #2006CF95, our firm was successful in overturning a jury verdict and the life-sentence on one count of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide While Armed and one count of Attempted 2nd Degree Intentional Homicide While Armed. In State v. David Scott, Kenosha County Circuit Court Case #2007CF228, our firm’s post-conviction motion at the trial court level was successful in obtaining a new trial for our client and overturning a jury verdict and 15 year prison sentence on two separate counts of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child, and a count of Sexual Assault of a Child under the Age of 13. The State appealed the trial court’s decision in State v. Scott, No. 2009AP3072-CR (Wis. App. 12/29/2010), and in its unpublished decision our firm convinced the Court of Appeals a new trial was warranted. In February 2012, Attorney Mark Richards re-tried that case, and the client was acquitted of all charges.
Particularly in drug-trafficking cases, the State or Federal government may file a separate civil action to seek the forfeiture of the profits or means of drug-dealing enterprises. This can include money, vehicles, or other personal property. When this happens, you have a right to contest whether that property stemmed from drug trafficking or was otherwise lawfully obtained. Our firm has successfully defended against these civil forfeiture proceedings, saving our clients tens of thousands of dollars in vehicles and other property. See, e.g. Racine County Case No. 11 CV 1861. If you face civil forfeiture tied to criminal charges, contact us immediately or you could lose your right to protect your property and assets. Call 262-632-2200 for a free consultation.
Over that last 25 years our firm has represented people accused of
- Murder/ Homicide
- OWI Homicide/ OWI Injury
- Drug Offenses/ Conspiracies
- OWI/ DUI/ Refusals
- Sex Assaults/ Child Pornography
- Domestic Abuse/Stalking/Strangulation/
- Battery/ Disorderly Conduct
- White Collar Offenses/ Embezzlement/ Forgery/ Uttering
- Theft/ Fraud
- Probation/Parole/Extended Supervision Revocations
- Criminal Traffic/Ordinances
This is not an exhaustive list; no case is too big or too small. Ask us, I’m sure we’ve handled the type of case you need help with.
Wisconsin v. S. Ingram, First Degree Intentional Homicide - Dismissal
United States v. Ellis, Heroine Conspiracy - Acquittal
Wisconsin v. King, First Degree Intentional Homicide - Dismissal
Wisconsin v. Robinson, Three counts of First Degree Sexual Assault with three different victims - Dismissal
Wisconsin v. Scott, Three counts of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Child - Acquittal
Wisconsin v. Rojas, First Degree Intentional Homicide - Dismissal
United States v. Carter, Armed Robbery with Hostages at Post Office - Acquittal
Wisconsin v. Toscano, OWI-2, Hit and Run - Dismssed
State v. E.D., Felony Retail Theft - Dismissed
State v. D.K., OWI-Refusal - Dismissed
State of Wisconsin v. Dean C. 2014CF1587, Hit-and-run - Acquitted
Racine County, OWI-2nd - Not-Guilty at Jury Trial
**If you or someone you know has potential criminal exposure, do not hesitate to call or email for a free consultation. The sooner representation is secured, the sooner your rights can be protected.