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Milwaukee civil litigation attorneyMilwaukee fraud lawyerBy Ray Dall’Osto and Chris Hayden

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide individuals with a free copy of their credit report, at their request, once every 12 months. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 2020 also gives consumers some credit protections. It dictates how companies that send data to the credit bureaus will report accounts for which consumers have payment accommodations in place. If a consumer has an accommodation, and they live up to their end of the deal, an account that had been current previously will continue to be reported that way for both account status and payment history, assuming compliance with the accommodation. A consumer can also ask lenders to add a code to their credit report to indicate that they were “affected by a natural or declared disaster.”

The Federal Trade Commission announced in May 2020 that an agreement has been reached with the nationwide credit reporting companies to allow for free, weekly credit reports, not just one free report per year. Given the increase in the number of scams and frauds that are accompanying the coronavirus pandemic (e.g., fraudulent unemployment compensation applications using hacked personal information), individuals should be more careful, and they can now make themselves better aware, by more frequently checking their credit histories at the official website noted below.

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Milwaukee, WI domestic battery defense lawyerBy Attorney Nicole Masnica

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, nearly 30,000 domestic violence incidents were reported in 2017, and 21,000 arrests were made. Domestic abuse, as defined under Wis. Stat. § 968.075, involves a person intentionally inflicting pain or injury or committing sexual assault against a family member or causing a person to reasonably fear that these types of offenses would occur. Domestic violence may be committed against a spouse, a former spouse, an adult living in a person’s household, or an adult who a person shares a child with. 

Domestic Violence Charges

There are a variety of criminal charges that can be associated with domestic violence, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and homicide. However, battery is the most common charge that a person may face when accused of domestic violence, and it will typically fall into one of the three following categories:

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Milwaukee criminal defense attorney for pardon applications

By Raymond Dall’Osto, Brianna Meyer, and Jason Luczak

In June 2019, newly-elected Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers reversed the eight-year moratorium on criminal pardons imposed by the former Governor Walker, who refused to issue pardons during his two terms in office. Governor Evers issued Executive Order #30, which reversed Walker’s unprecedented shutdown of executive clemency. This Order reopens an avenue of potential relief for those who have lost some of their rights due to a criminal conviction.

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Milwaukee, WI criminal law attorney for expungement

By Ray Dall’Osto

After passing the Wisconsin Assembly earlier this year as A.B. 33, the Wisconsin Senate adjourned this year’s legislative session, without taking action to approve the parallel bipartisan expungement bill pending before it, S.B. 39. The proposed expungement reform bill, which has long been supported by the State Bar of Wisconsin and was favorably considered in previous years and legislative sessions, would change state law involving getting a criminal record expunged. If passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Evers, the expungement reform bill will significantly help alleviate the negative impact a criminal record can have on individuals seeking employment, housing, volunteer work, and in other areas where the stigma of a conviction can pose a roadblock, even in cases where the crime was nonviolent, a misdemeanor or lower-class felony, and/or committed many years ago. 

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Milwaukee theft charges defense attorneyBy Attorney Brianna Meyer

The definition of theft varies greatly, and so do the offenses that fall under this category. From taking a candy bar from a store shelf to providing false receipts to obtain a loan, there are a wide range of theft charges that a person may face in Wisconsin. For those accused of shoplifting, it is important to know the charges that may be tied to retail theft, especially since they depend upon the value of the items that were allegedly stolen and the type of theft being alleged. 

What Are the Different Types of Shoplifting and Theft Charges?

Shoplifting, a.k.a. “Retail Theft”, includes more than just taking an item off the shelf. In fact, Wisconsin statutes list eight different ways in which a person’s actions can be considered retail theft. According to Wisconsin statute 943.50, a person can be penalized if they do any of these actions without a merchant’s consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the item or the full purchase price of the item:

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Milwaukee gun crime defense attorney

By Brianna Meyer and Max Stephenson

In the wake of widespread mass shootings across the United States, advocates and lawmakers in many jurisdictions are pushing for new gun laws to curb gun violence. “Extreme Risk” or “Red Flag” laws are one type of new gun legislation that targets gun violence problems and have been enacted in several states.

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Milwaukee WI domestic abuse charges defense laywerFalse accusations of domestic violence are more common than one might think. They can be devastating to someone’s personal reputation and professional life. It is important to take these types of sensitive criminal charges seriously by hiring an experienced attorney who has defended clients against such accusations and understands the best way to proceed with a case. 

How Does the Law Define Domestic Violence?

While you may have an idea about what acts are commonly considered to be domestic violence by the general public, Wisconsin law specifies exactly what must transpire for a charge to be properly labeled as “domestic violence.”

Wisconsin State Statute 968.075(1) defines “domestic abuse" as any of the following engaged in by an adult person against his or her spouse or former spouse, against an adult with whom the person resides or formerly resided, or against an adult with whom the person has a child in common:

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circumstantial evidence, direct evidence, Wisconsin criminal cases, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer, facing criminal chargesBeing arrested and charged with a crime can be a frightening prospect. A criminal conviction has serious consequences to a person’s life, finances, career, and freedom. However, those who are facing criminal charges may not understand the laws involved in their case, the processes followed during an investigation, or their options for defense.

One aspect of criminal prosecutions that can often cause confusion is the different types of evidence that can be used to show a person’s guilt. During a Wisconsin criminal case, it is important to understand the difference between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. 

Direct Evidence

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giving an oath, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer, appellate attorney, court testimony, taking an oathBy: Kenneth Baker

Joseph Jakubowski, notorious in Wisconsin last year for his 161-page handwritten manifesto he sent to President Trump, was in Rock County circuit court on January 28th on charges of burglary while arming himself, theft, and possession of burglary tools. In the course of the proceedings, he was barred from testifying as a witness in his own case because he refused to raise his right hand while being sworn in. While he promised to tell the truth, he nevertheless refused to raise his right hand. The trial judge thus barred him from giving testimony in front of a jury. This raises serious questions that could lead to an appeal; the main question being - is there an affirmative rule that forces witnesses to raise their right hands prior to giving testimony in court?

What about when the president or any federal officer is being sworn in to duty? What are the requirements that must be met? There is no constitutional requirement for any federal official—firefighter, ambassador, or President—to take the oath of office over a particular text or, in fact, over any text at all. President Theodore Roosevelt did not use a bible when he was sworn into office in 1901. Both John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce swore on a book of law with the intention that they were swearing on the constitution. In 1973, Henry Kissinger swore on a Hebrew bible while being sworn in as secretary of state. In 2006, Keith Ellison swore on Thomas Jefferson’s English translated copy of the Koran while being sworn in as America’s first ever Muslim congressman. In 2014, Suzi LeVine swore on an Amazon Kindle tablet showing the bible while being sworn in as Ambassador to Liechtenstein and Switzerland. It is clear that the use of a bible is not a requirement but is often the book that is used in swearing in ceremonies, less so in courtrooms.

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government regulate bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, money laundering, fraud, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy: Kenneth Baker & Jason Luczak

If you haven’t heard of Bitcoin by now, you haven’t been paying attention. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple have dominated headlines for the past six months. Cryptocurrencies are digital assets designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets. What does that mean? Basically, it is a computer generated asset that is capable of being bought and sold. There is a finite number of Bitcoins, which creates demand, and therefore creates value for the crypto-asset. The Blockchain is what secures the cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology is a public ledger that tracks Bitcoin transactions. Every second, millions of people are buying and selling Bitcoin. Every transaction has a specific transaction code and is part of the Bitcoin Blockchain. This procedure creates a record of authenticity that is verifiable by a user community, increasing transparency and reducing fraud. This is where miners come in.

Bitcoin miners utilize highly-advanced supercomputers, much greater than your common PC, to “mine” for Bitcoins. However, this characterization is a tad deceiving. Miners do not find Bitcoins on the internet, rather, the miners are tracing the Blockchain transactions, and once the transactions reach a certain threshold, and the miners complete a “block,” they are rewarded in, you guessed it, Bitcoins. Bitcoins are thus a form of currency that is capable of being used to purchase goods and services on the internet. While this is a simplistic explanation for how Bitcoin operates, it is helpful to understand that this entire process is completely free from governmental intervention. Therefore, there is currently no recourse for any person that is cheated out of a transaction using Bitcoin.

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