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Defense structure, 2017

  • Organization


  • Oversight

    Full oversight

Wisconsin provides counsel to indigent youth through a statewide public defender office.  Visit the National Juvenile Defender Center's Wisconsin state profile for more details.

Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile who is alleged to be delinquent or held in a juvenile detention facility must be represented by counsel at all stages of proceedings. However, a juvenile who is 15 years or older may waive his or her right to counsel if the court is satisfied that the waiver is knowingly and voluntarily made. Once the court accepts such waiver, it cannot place the juvenile in a detention facility or transfer jurisdiction to adult court.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    Under 15

  • Crime

    Juveniles cannot waive right to counsel if alleged to have committed specified act that would be specified crime if committed by adult.

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    Juveniles cannot waive right to counsel if possibility of specified placement(s).

Timing of counsel, 2013

In Wisconsin,, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Custodial Questioning / Talk with Intake Officer; Detention Hearing / First Court Appearance / Arraignment; Once a Petition is Filed / Hearing on the Petition; Loss of Freedom / Institutionalization / Commitment / Imprisonment; All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Indigency determination: Legislatively

In Wisconsin, juvenile indigency law is governed by both juvenile and adult statutes, which provide a determination of indigency and some useful definitions. Wisconsin's indigency law applies when juveniles are being transferred to criminal court. Indigent defense training available for appointed counsel. Juveniles are legislatively presumed indigent.

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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