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Appleton Area Law Blog

Convictions for small crimes can have big consequences

It is becoming increasingly clear that there are major problems with the criminal justice system in the United States, including racial and socioeconomic bias, wrongful convictions and overly harsh prison sentences. But there is also a problem with the way that the criminal justice system influences life in the rest of society.

A criminal record of any kind can have consequences that reach far beyond just serving jail time or paying fines. Even minor offenses can haunt someone for years to come. This problem was discussed in a recent opinion piece about how misdemeanors are and should be dealt with. 

No death with dignity in Wisconsin

"Death with dignity" is a popular phrase used to describe situations in which a patient requests a medical practitioner to help him or her die. This is common in patients with a terminal illness or a severely debilitating condition.

Wisconsin law does not allow these assisted suicides. However, you can gain some control over how your life is handled in these circumstances through your estate plan.

Slip and falls are more dangerous for older people

In the United States, falls are a leading cause of death and injuries for seniors over 65. What might seem like a minor fall for a younger person, can be a very dangerous event for an older person.

Not only can a fall cause death and injury, a fall can threaten a senior's independence and result in costly medical bills.

Don't let celebration lead to regret

Alcohol is a common part of celebration in Wisconsin, but the celebrating can get you in trouble if you choose to get behind the wheel after drinking. Driving when you're drunk is not only illegal but dangerous.

Each year in Wisconsin, drunk driving kills hundreds and injures thousands more. According to the US Department of Transportation, the number of fatalities from alcohol-related crashes increases by about 300 nationally during the time between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, which emphasizes how celebration can quickly turn into tragedy. In December of 2016 alone, 800 people died in drunk driving crashes.

Wisconsin bill would make a first time OWI a crime

Wisconsin is the only state in the country where a first-time drunk driving charge is a civil violation and not a criminal offense, but two Wisconsin lawmakers are proposing to change this.

In early January, Representative Jim Ott and Senator Alberta Darling introduced a bill to the Wisconsin legislature to make a first time OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) offense a misdemeanor. This charge would result in a $500 fine and 30 days in jail when convicted. The current penalties for a first time OWI are a suspended driver's license for six to nine months and a fine of up to $350, but no jail time.

Snowmobile safety

Winter in Wisconsin brings accumulating snow and for many, the opportunity to get outside and experience it. For snowmobilers, the chance to enjoy the trails can't come soon enough. As the birthplace of snowmobiling, one of our favorite pastimes in Wisconsin is exploring the trails on our machines.

More than 200,000 registered snowmobilers hit Wisconsin's 25,000 miles of trails each winter. With all of that traffic, it's important to keep snowmobile trail safety in mind.

Drugged driving leads to serious car accidents and injuries

Each day you get in your vehicle, you never know if it will be your last time doing so. Every day, in Wisconsin and all across the nation, motorists and pedestrians lose their lives to drugged driving accidents. Individuals who survive them often have to deal with the long-term and devastating medical, emotional and financial consequences of another person’s negligent driving actions due to drugs, alcohol or both.

Drugged driving is not exclusive to drivers who use narcotics before getting behind the wheel. It also involves people who drink alcohol or use marijuana, over-the-counter supplements or prescriptions medications like opioids, assuming doing so is okay. Any substance that alters a person’s brain can cause driving impairment and recklessness. The symptoms often manifest as altered perception, poor decision-making skills, cognitive impairment and the impairment of other skills essential for safe and responsible driving.

3 types of damages you can seek after a car accident

Although no one ever plans to have a car accident, the risk of a crash exists every time you get behind the wheel. While you certainly do not want to anticipate an injury, if you do suffer an injury after a car crash, you should have a basic idea of what to do.

Oftentimes in motor vehicle accidents, injuries occur due to the negligence of another driver. If you suffer an injury due to the carelessness of another driver, such as distracted driving or driving while intoxicated, you may have grounds for pursuing specific types of compensation and damages as a result.

High net worth divorce and hidden assets

Couples with a high net worth who are facing divorce have a number of particular issues to face that require specialized attention. When a couple shares a substantial asset profile, oftentimes, one spouse will make an effort to secure a majority of the assets in the divorce settlement.

In an attempt to retain assets that the courts would order a couple to divide, one spouse may orchestrate a plan to hide assets. This is a serious breach of trust and is not a legal practice. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce, you should move in a strategic way to prevent losing your fair share of your marital property.

Should I safeguard my property to keep children from harm?

If you heard that you may be held responsible if a dangerous feature on your property harms a neighborhood child, this might conflict with what you know about trespassing. Nobody, including children, should come onto your property without your permission, so it isn’t your fault if a child enters your yard and gets hurt, right? Unfortunately, you could be wrong in this case. You and other Wisconsin residents need to understand how attractive nuisance law differs from trespassing law.

FindLaw explains that the law recognizes that children do not always obey rules, especially when they are younger or influenced by their peers. Therefore, attractive nuisance laws exist to protect neighborhood children from dangers on private property.

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