Big Firm Experience. Small Town Care.

Why McCarthy Law Office? When you need a lawyer, you need the best. For 25 years Scott McCarthy has helped people with family issues, litigate contract disputes, recover losses from injury and wrongful death and manage their mistakes. He is an experienced attorney who knows the system.  He has the passion, breadth of experience and knowledge, that gives his clients their best possible results. Scott has a reputation for sharp, honest evaluations, calling people back promptly, being on time to meetings and court appearances, meticulous preparation for trial and his desire to see their case through so his client's lives can continue on their best possible course forward.

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Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney


Be very careful in comparing rates among attorneys. Often more experienced attorneys can resolve the case more quickly resulting in significantly less attorney fees in the long run. Scott was the former elected Rock County District Attorney. He has worked with many of the prosecutors for more than 20 years. That experience often helps reduce costs.Clients can pay in one of two ways; a flat fee or based on an hourly rate. Please click on the "fee arrangement" section to the left for an explanation of the two different fee arrangements.Essentially the flat fee is exactly that. The client pays a flat amount that is determined based on the nature of the case. The client never has to pay more no matter what happens in the case.If the client chooses to proceed on an hourly basis, the retainer is generally $3,000 for misdemeanors and $5,000 for felonies. That money is placed into a trust account and withdrawn as earned.


A crime is defined as an illegal act for which a person can be incarcerated. If the possible penalty is one year or less, the crime is identified as a misdemeanor. If the potential punishment is more than one year, it is a felony. The nature of the crime and the penalty will be listed on the criminal complaint.

If you are arrested and given a ticket for which no incarceration is possible, you are facing a municipal or county ordinance violation. An ordinance violation is not a crime. Typical ordinance violations are disorderly conduct and sometimes battery. Many illegal activities can be charged as either an ordinance or a criminal matter. Please call Scott at 608 352 3366 or email scott at to discuss the nature of your ticket.

Generally speaking, when an individual is arrested they are given a piece of paper telling them when to appear in Court. This is the initial appearance. In a misdemeanor matter, the Court will require the defendant to enter a plea. You will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or stand mute. If you stand mute, the Court will enter a not guilty plea on your behalf.

The matter will then be set for either a scheduling hearing or a calendar call hearing. That often occurs 4-6 weeks after the initial appearance. During that time, Scott will meet with the prosecuting attorney in an attempt to resolve the matter. This is where Scott’s experience with local prosecutors and prosecutors around the state becomes especially important.

Most cases are resolved by way of negotiations. If an agreement is reached, there will be a hearing in front of the judge at which you will be required to plead guilty or no contest. If you plead no contest, the Court will find you guilty. However, the finding of guilt cannot be used against you in any non-criminal matter.

Felony procedure is very similar with a couple of twists. First, at the initial appearance you will not be required to enter a plea. Rather, the matter will be set for a preliminary examination. In felony matters, a preliminary examination is held at which the State must produce evidence that you probably committed a felony.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court Commissioner must take all inferences raised from the evidence in favor of the State of Wisconsin. In almost every case, you will not be testifying at the preliminary examination. However, the preliminary examination can be a critical part of the case. It is an opportunity to cross examine some of the State’s witnesses and obtain information that will be helpful in negotiating a plea or at trial.

The Court Commissioner finds in favor of the State in almost every case at the preliminary examination stage. You will then be required to enter a plea as noted above. The procedure thereafter is identical to that of a misdemeanor. Plea negotiations will be ongoing and a trial date will be set. If the matter is resolved, a plea hearing and sentencing will take place. If it is not resolved, the matter will go to trial.

There is nothing more important than your freedom. Don’t take chances. Use Scott’s experience to your advantage. Call (608) 352-3366.

Scott has a private investigator with more than thirty years experience investigating crimes and interviewing witnesses. If you are charged with a crime, it is imperative that you contact Scott immediately. Witnesses forget significant matters over time. DNA evidence, surveillance footage, etc., all dissipate with time. It is important to contact Scott immediately.

Call your lawyer - Attorney Scott McCarthy - 608-352-3366 - 205 S. John Paul Rd. Milton, WI

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