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Defense Win! COA holds that circuit court improperly required defendant to reimburse attorney fees related to dismissed case

State v. Aman Deep Singh, 2022AP1202-04, District I, 7/5/23, 1-judge decision ineligible for publication; case activity (including briefs)

In a somewhat messy pro se appeal, the court of appeals agrees that the circuit court improperly required Singh to reimburse attorney’s fees but rejects his remaining claims.

Singh managed to pick up three OWI cases within the same year. (¶¶2-4). All three cases apparently used a prior “implied consent conviction from Illinois” as well as a 2005 first-offense Wisconsin OWI as countable offenses. (¶5). Following State v. Forrett, which held that a prior refusal to consent to a warrantless blood draw cannot be used as a countable offense under Wisconsin law, the circuit court dismissed the pending OWI charges without prejudice. (¶5).

If you are trying to figure out why these cases were dismissed outright instead of amended to second offenses, recall that Singh’s 2005 first-offense cannot be used to make his 2017 OWI a second under § 346.65(2)(am)2.

Singh then raised a battery of post-dismissal challenges. With the exception of a challenge to an order requiring repayment of attorney’s fees, COA wastes no time in swatting aside Singh’s legal challenges. First, COA rejects Singh’s argument that dismissal should have been with prejudice, concluding that while Singh may have arguments about the municipal court’s ability to convict him under the applicable statute of limitations, those arguments will have to wait until any municipal citations are filed. (¶12). A somewhat-vague claim for “remedial sanctions” against State actors also goes nowhere. (¶15). However, COA agrees that the circuit court erred when it required Singh to repay attorney fees for his court-appointed lawyer. While § 973.06(1)(e) allows the court to order repayment of attorney fees as part of a sentence, here, there was obviously no sentence which resulted from the circuit court’s dismissal order. (¶16).

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