Tracey Wood & Associates - Criminal Defense and Immigration Law

Defense Attorney Tracey Wood Drunk Driving Attorney Tracey Wood is a Super Lawyer in Wisconsin
(608) 350-1004

     Attorney Tracey A. Wood , owner of Tracey Wood & Associates is an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Madison, Wisconsin.    She focuses her practice on defending the rights of individuals whether they are charged with drunken driving or more severe criminal charges including murder, sex crimes in Wisconsin, federal conspiracy or seeking an expungement of a previous conviction.
   She is known throughout the legal community as the foremost authority on Wisconsin OWI DUI laws and has been hailed for her defenses and successful trial and case record.
   Ms. Wood has been pioneering new frontiers for women in law since she entered practice in 1992. She is the first attorney from Wisconsin ever appointed as a Standardized Field Sobriety Test Instructor, and first Wisconsin attorney to be appointed to the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense held at Harvard Law School. She chairs the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Strike Force for the state's largest association for criminal defense lawyers and has previously served as the President of that organization. She has authored several articles on defense against drunk driving charges including Challenging Prior Under Influence Convictions, an article discussing U.S. v. Gant in the Wisconsin Law Journal, and she has contributed to the national DUI attorneys' bible by Taylor & Oberman, entitled "Drunk Driving Defense".
   She has also won many appeals in both the Wisconsin Appellate System (most recently City of Beloit v. Steven Herbst) and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago (i.e. U.S. v. Andres Perez).

Super Lawyer Tracey Wood defends people charged with OWI or DUI
Super Lawyer Tracey Wood defends people charged with OWI or DUI
Super Lawyer Tracey Wood defends people charged with OWI or DUI
NCDD National College for DUI Defense: Tracey Wood
(608) 350-1004

Backlog At State Lab Stalls Criminal Cases

Tracey Wood & Associates
Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyers

Backlog At State Lab Stalls Criminal Cases

Backlog At State Lab Stalls Criminal Cases

The backlog at the state lab continues to be an ongoing issue in 2009. It was the subject of a very lengthily interview of Attorney Tracey Wood back in 2002. Today, the problem not only remains an issue, but it has grown.

Madison defense attorney Tracey Wood said some of her clients have had to wait months for tests that sometimes help their case and occasionally lead to charges against them being dropped.

"It's not preferable for anybody," Wood said of the delay. "The state obviously has an interest in getting its tests back, and defendants have an interest as well."

See Blood Test Backlog Bogs Down System.

Huge Demand For Tests Also Delays Insurance Claims, OWI's

Attorney Tracey Wood Commenting

A growing backlog at the state public health laboratory is stalling criminal cases and snarling insurance claims across Wisconsin.

Some toxicology tests are stalled at the state Laboratory of Hygiene for as long as four months, toxicology supervisor Laura Liddicoat said.

The backlog is delaying or even derailing impaired driving cases, attorneys say. And Dane County Coroner John Stanley says families may have to wait for coroners to declare a cause of death, holding up insurance claims and probate.

The budget repair bill pending in the Legislature would provide emergency staffing at the lab in a crisis, but that won't address some other trends:

* Police and attorneys are more often seeking blood tests, rather than breath tests, in drunken driving cases. After a 1997 legal challenge to breath testing, police started to switch to blood tests, which have proved to be cheaper and more practical for police, Liddicoat said.

* Staff chemists are putting in more hours testifying in court. Dane County Deputy Coroner Gary Moore said he's seen lab staffers wait in the hallways of the City-County Building for hours for their turn to testify.

* Last fall's anthrax scare reverberates. "We are still seeing 5 to 10 anthrax specimens a week," said lab director Ronald Leasing. "We anticipate this will continue. The theory is another anthrax event will occur, and we expect to be on 24-7 operation again."

Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard said the basic alcohol blood work is usually done in a week. "The delay we see is on the screens for prescription drugs," he said. "The delay for that is somewhat substantial. For our clocks, that can be a real challenge."

Blanchard said there have been times when a trial will have to be delayed because of a backup in the hygiene lab.

Defense lawyers say the same thing.

"In cases of alleged 'operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or combination of controlled substance and alcohol,' there can be a wait of six months or more," said Madison criminal defense attorney Tracey Wood.

"That puts a huge stress on the system because cases are dismissed and then recharged when the test results come back," Wood said. "By that time, memories have faded regarding the incident, and the case is a lot tougher for both the prosecution and defense. There's also the chance that the case can get lost in the shuffle and never be prosecuted."

Wisconsin's public health laboratory is not alone. Across the country, public health labs were experiencing delays even before anthrax testing increased.

"In general, there are long delays in forensic toxicology tests from most, if not all, state laboratories," said Ralph Imperil , director of the State Laboratory Institute in Massachusetts.

"The general problem is that demand for testing has increased exponentially as technology has made more and more tools available to aid both prosecution and defense positions."

Testing is more often used to determine the truth of facts in court, Timperi said. "And the test methods have become more complex, which increases the time, staff expertise required and cost of doing the test. ... So there are more tests available, testing is used more frequently and testing methods are more expensive. These factors have increased costs significantly, while state funding for this testing has in general been level or reduced."

In Wisconsin, the hygiene lab provides free alcohol and drug testing in traffic-related incidents. But that's less than 5 percent of the testing done, said Laessig, the lab director. The lab also tests for everything from water quality and mold to chemicals in the workplace.

State crime labs in Madison and Milwaukee do tests in most felony cases. Private labs will test a variety of substances for a fee.

The state hygiene lab, with about 350 employees, also serves Wisconsin's county coroners.

"The backlog is a problem for us because we can't rule on deaths," said Stanley, the Dane County coroner. "There are all kinds of legal issues that can't be dealt with because the death certificate is pending."

Workloads at state public health labs mushroomed after last fall's terrorist attacks. "I know they had all been working through backlogs throughout the winter," said Scott Becker, director of the Association of State Public Health Laboratories.

Anthrax edges out other activities. "We are chronically short-staffed or understaffed," Laessig said. "When there is an extraordinary event such as the anthrax outbreak, it places tremendous strain on the system."

Laessig said the lab can just do so much. "But it isn't as simple as putting on more staff."

Drug testing is complicated. "Alcohol tests are straightforward," he said. "The paperwork takes longer than the testing, quite frankly. But drug testing is a whole different matter. Drug testing takes time."

If an initial screen finds drugs, which happens about 60 percent of the time, then the chemist must hunt for specifics, he said. "By the time you get all that done, you are looking at long turnaround times -- and it gets worse as our chemists have to go out to court to testify," Laessig said.

The lab takes each sample as it comes in, without prioritizing, Laessig said. After screening, tests to identify specific drugs are scheduled on a rotating basis -- blood samples wait their turn, he said.

It can take a while. "The drug testing process ... is designed to detect literally hundreds of drug substances ranging from over-the-counter medications to prescription medicines and illicit drugs," toxicology supervisor Liddicoat said. "When the screening tests are negative, the turnaround time averages 5 to 10 working days."

But when drugs are found, "the time to complete can range from seven to 80 working days, depending on the number of drugs found, with an average time of 10 to 40 days," she said.

Moore, the Dane County deputy coroner, said that's a problem. "The lab is very important in the chain for us," he said. "They slow us down, and we're not happy with it."

-Published in cooperation with the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, WI.

Free but professional "first-impression" analysis

If you are under investigation or have been arrested for any crime, or if you have already been convicted of a crime and believe your conviction to be wrong or your sentence too harsh, please call (608) 350-1004 or email the Attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates right away. An Attorney at Tracey Wood & Associates will provide you with a brief but professional free "first-impression" analysis of your appeal based on the facts that you are able to convey. You can also submit your case online or email the attorneys.

OWI DUI Attorney Tracey Wood commonly works in the following Counties: Adams, Ashland,Barron,Bayfield,Brown,Buffalo,Burnett,Calumet,Chippewa,Clark,Columbia,Crawford,Dane,Dodge,Door,Douglas,Dunn,Eau Claire,Florence,Fond du Lac,Forest, Grant,Green,Green Lake,Iowa,Iron,Jackson,Jefferson,Juneau,Kenosha,Kewaunee,La Crosse,Lafayette,Langlade,Lincoln,Manitowoc,Marathon,Marinette,Marquette,Menominee, Milwaukee,Monroe,Oconto,Oneida,Outagamie,Ozaukee,Pepin,Pierce,Polk,Portage,Price,Racine,Richland,Rock,Rusk,Sauk,Sawyer,Shawano,Sheboygan,St. Croix,Taylor,Trempealeau, Vernon,Vilas,Walworth,Washburn,Washington,Waukesha,Waupaca,Waushara,Winnebago,Wood

Please take notice that although the law firm of Tracey Wood & Associates website contains a large amount of accurate and useful legal information about drunk driving, OWI, DUI, Sex Crimes, Expungement and other serious crimes, it is not intended to be used as legal advice. Only an attorney can counsel you on your specific case. Please contact the attorney at Tracey Wood & Associates immediately should you find yourself charged with a Drunk Driving in Wisconsin, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), OWI (Operating Under the Influence) or any other serious crime in Wisconsin at (608) 350-1004. Even if your researching drunk driving laws or sex crime laws in Wisconsin, Lawyer Tracey Wood can assist you.

Attorney Tracey A. Wood , 6605 University Ave Suite 101 Middleton Wisconsin. (608) 350-1004

OWI DUI Sex Crimes Expungement Defense Lawyer Attorney Tracey Wood