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News And Blog Posts From Our Wisconsin Law Firm

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.

3 essential boating safety guidelines

Boating in the summer is a staple activity in Wisconsin. When the warm weather hits, it is time to go out on the lake. No matter how many times you have gone boating, it is always smart to review some boating safety guidelines before departing. 

According to the National Safety Council, there were 2,613 boating injuries and 626 fatalities in 2015. Here are some safety tips to follow to reduce your chances of getting in a boat accident:

When co-parents disagree over elaborate gifts

When you co-parent children with someone who lives in a different household, it is good to be on the same page as far as bedtimes, house rules and internet use go. This consistency helps keep children on an even keel, but children can thrive even when their lives are different at both homes.

Of course, disagreements with your co-parent over these issues bother you, but there might not be much you can do about it when your child is at the other house. However, what about elaborate gifts? Say that you want to give your child a top-of-the-line phone while your co-parent prefers a budget phone. The opposite type of situation could apply, in which your co-parent purchases your teen an expensive car while you prefer a budget model. How can co-parents handle such disagreements, especially since the child will want to bring the gift into both households?

How can I get the other parent to comply with child support?

One frustrating thing that many divorced parents deal with is the other parent not paying court-ordered child support or even child support that both parents agreed to with the help of lawyers.

If you are in the middle of such a situation, you have several options. However, one mistake to avoid is to withhold visitation from the other parent. If you try this tactic, it could backfire on you, both legally and in the eyes of your children. Here is a look at what you can do with the assistance of your lawyer:

Can your TV and other items in the home harm your child?

A few weeks ago, a tragedy at a Payless ShoeSource claimed the life of a toddler. You may have heard about the well-publicized story, in which a wall mirror fell on top of the girl when she was shopping with her mother; she later died of her injuries. Investigators determined the company had not ensured proper mounting of the mirror on the wall. You and other Wisconsin parents are very cautious about keeping your homes safe for your young children, but there are some common dangers that you may not be aware of.

When you childproofed your home, you probably blocked unused electrical outlets and put locks on cabinet doors that contained harmful objects. While these are certainly effective and responsible safety measures, you might have missed other hazards. Did you know, for example, that a child is seen in a U.S. hospital every 45 minutes due to a television set falling on top of him or her? It may be easy to think that modern flat-screen TVs are not dangerous, but they are heavy, and a child can easily topple one if you do not properly secure it. Safety authorities recommend that parents secure their televisions to the wall with strong brackets or position them on cabinets that a child cannot pull over, out of reach.

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