S Y D N E   F R E N C H

Aggressive Criminal
& Drunk Driving Defense

Initial Consultation



"Sydne was very informative and made me feel at ease from the moment we first met. I would definitely recommend her to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation as I." Former OWI client

"Sydne was always available to answer every question I had throughout the entire process, but most importantly she worked not just for me, but with me. I feel like this was the difference between just being a client, and being her client. " R.E.

Attorney Sydne FrenchI try to take a personal interest in every person who calls me for help. I do my best to make sure they do not feel like they are just a case number or just another "defendant." I make the time to really listen to their side of things, their perspectives, and their concerns. I do my best to stay in touch, and I welcome my clients to do the same. They know they can call me 24/7 and that I am there for them 100%.

"Sydne's commitment to her clients,
to the ideal of justice, and to the goal
of zealous representation is unparalleled.
" Keith Findley, President, International Innocence Network; Co-Director, Wisconsin Innocence Project


Winner of the Baldwin Award for Excellence in Criminal Law
Frequently Asked Questions



Criminal Drunk Driving Attorney Sydne French on Google+
Criminal DUI OWI Defense Attorney French on Twitter
Attorney Sydne French on Facebook
Criminal Defense Attorney Sydne French on LinkedIn LinkedIn
Not Guilty Law Blog
Not Guilty Law Blog









The National Trial Lawyers

Expertise 2018 Badge

Superior Results

Solid Success Rate
Hundreds of Cases Won

We are passionate about what we do and it shows.  We have earned  a solid reputation for negotiating significantly reduced charges, penalties, and dismissals while aggressively defending our clients against the power and resources of the State.

Visit our News Room and take a look at some of the results we have achieved for our clients.  You'll see why we are one of the most well respected criminal and drunk driving defense firms in Wisconsin.


The Law Offices of
Sydne French

200 South Executive Drive
Suite 101
Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005

  250 East Wisconsin Avenue
18th Floor
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Contact Us

Criminal Appeals
Post-Conviction Remedies

The Law Offices of Sydne French
Aggressive Defense Against the Power & Resources of the State

Criminal Appeals Lawyers
Post Conviction Attorneys

Criminal appeals is one of the toughest areas of practice in criminal defense.  There are many factors that work against the criminal appellant. Legal doctrines and procedures in place make it all too easy for an appellate court to find a reason to deny relief.  Challenging a criminal conviction is an uphill battle requiring a thorough knowledge of the relevant legal issues and procedures, and there is no room for error.  We believe that any battle worth fighting, is worth fighting well enough to win!

Attorney Sydne French is known for her aggressive, no-nonsense approach to her appeals and postconviction remedies.  She has won awards for her work with the Wisconsin Innocence Project and she has been invited to speak at numerous functions on the importance of pursuing justice through criminal appeals.  She is dedicated to seeing that justice is done for her clients, and she is ready to do the same for you.

Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation with Attorney French in our Waukesha office or Milwaukee office.  She will give you a fair and honest evaluation of the legal rights and options you may have to challenge your case.


Postconviction remedies are divided into two main types: direct appeal and collateral review.

In Wisconsin, every defendant has the right to one direct appeal.  Once a defendant has had a direct appeal, or has waived the right to a direct appeal, the defendant no longer has a "direct" avenue to challenge the conviction and sentence.  Thus, any other forms of relief are called "collateral," rather than direct.

There are two major collateral avenues that a criminal defendant may use in an attempt to vacate his or her conviction.  These are:

What follows is an overview of the different circumstances in which the 974.06 motion or a habeas corpus is appropriate.  This overview also briefly discusses three other remedies that come up less often:


Direct Appeal

Every person has the right to a direct appeal following his or her conviction and sentencing.  On direct appeal, the convicted person has a right to the appointment of an attorney at state expense if he or she is indigent (unable to afford an attorney under the standards set by state law).


Primary Forms of Collateral Relief

This postconviction remedy statute may apply to convicted persons who have never had a direct appeal.  It may also apply to defendants who have had a direct appeal, but who, for some "sufficient reason," were unable to bring the claim they now want to assert as a part of their direct appeal.  Section 974 relief is limited to constitutional or jurisdictional issues.

Federal habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. section 2254 is designed to allow federal courts to provide oversight of the way state courts are implementing (or refusing to implement) federal constitutional rights. It is available to correct state court decisions that flagrantly violate the federal constitution.  To file a federal habeas petition, a defendant must demonstrate that the issue(s) raised in the federal habeas petition have been pursued as far as they can be pursued in the stat court, and that they are based on clearly established federal constitutional law.  A federal habeas corpus motion must be filed within one year of the date that the defendant's state conviction became final.


Other Forms of Collateral Relief

In addition to state post conviction motions under section 974.06, and federal habeas corpus petitions, three other forms of collateral challenges are available to Wisconsin defendants.  They are: certiorari petitions, state habeas corpus petitions, and motions for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.

A petition for a writ of certiorari is the primary avenue to challenge an administrative decision to revoke probation or parole.  Certiorari petitions are discussed in the information sheets on revocation of probation and parole/ES supervision, and on conditions of confinement issues.

State habeas corpus petitions are available to any person in the state who is under an illegal restraint of liberty.  These petitions are governed by Chapter 782 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  To file a state habeas, an inmate must show that there is a constitutional or jurisdictional error relating to his or her custody.  State habeas is a broader remedy than section 974.06 (which is limited to criminal convictions or sentences) because state habeas also applies to persons under mental heath commitments, or other types of custody.

The standards are strict for the types of evidence that count as "newly discovered evidence":

The deadline for bringing motions for relief from judgment on the ground of newly discovered evidence is one year after the judgment is entered.  In some cases, however, the courts will allow a "newly discovered evidence" motion to be filed more than one year after the judgment, if the new evidence is not discovered until after that time.

Attorney French has devoted her practice to defending adults and juveniles who are under investigation for, have been charged with, or convicted of, criminal or drunk driving offenses.  She handles cases across southeastern and northeastern Wisconsin, most frequently covering Brookfield, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Jefferson, West Bend, Fond du Lac, Ozaukee, Washington, and Dodge counties.


Home | Attorney Profile | Drunk Driving | Practice Areas | Winning Cases | Blog | Contact Us | Site Map

The information contained in this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own unique situation.
Submission of information via this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. For more specific legal information regarding your case, call
The Law Offices of Sydne French at 262.748.7008 for a free consultation / case evaluation.

Copyright © 2017 The Law Offices of Sydne French.  All rights reserved.
You may reproduce materials of this site for personal, non-commercial distribution only. All copies must include this copyright statement.