Ordinances are municipality-specific laws. Although they can be similar across municipalities, ordinances and the penalties for their violation vary from city to city. Ordinance violations can be charged as criminal or civil offenses, depending on the type of offense and whether the individual charged is a repeat offender. In many cases, ordinance violations are fairly minor offenses, like parking where parking is prohibited or violating a local noise ordinance. But sometimes, they are for more serious offenses, like shoplifting. If you are charged with an ordinance violation, work with an experienced Appleton criminal defense lawyer to defend your case.
A few examples of ordinance violations include:
Generally, ordinance violations are punishable by fines. Certain offenses, such as OWI, have steeper penalties. For example, a first offense OWI is punishable by a driver’s license revocation.
In most cases, ordinance violations do not require booking or fingerprinting of guilty defendants. Instead, they are kept on the individual’s personal file. But in cases of more severe violations, penalties can include jail time and fairly steep fines.
Contact an Appleton criminal defense attorney as soon as you can to determine the best strategy for fighting the charge. Depending on the type and severity of the charge, it could be easiest for you to simply pay the fine and move on with your life. But for charges that can stay on your record and potentially impact your future, consider testifying in court to have the charge amended or dismissed. The prosecutor must provide evidence to demonstrate that you violated the ordinance. A lack of evidence or a lack of probable cause to charge you with the violation can invalidate the charge. Remember, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution.
Although an ordinance violation might not seem like a big deal, the truth is that having one or more ordinance violations on your record can lead to fines and jail time. If you are facing an ordinance violation charge, do not simply accept it – fight the charge with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact our team of criminal lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation with a member of our firm.