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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-weitzner-1.jpgBy: Attorney Cameron Weitzner

You may be surprised to learn that even if you are not caught in possession of an illegal narcotic, you can still end up in jail over drugs. In Wisconsin, you could be charged with a misdemeanor for having drug paraphernalia - or a felony, if the paraphernalia relates to methamphetamine. The definition of what does or does not count as drug paraphernalia can be quite a source of confusion. Paraphernalia is not limited to items specifically designed for the sole purpose of using drugs. Almost anything has the potential to become paraphernalia if it appears that you intended to use it for that purpose. 

If you have been charged with a crime related to drug paraphernalia, it is important that you take it seriously and seek out an experienced attorney. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_JAKheadshot.jpgBy: Attorney Jaclyn Kallie

Being asked to sign a non-compete contract when you start a job may seem like standard procedure, or it could be a big risk for you, depending on your location and what line of work you are in. Non-competes may include any number of restrictions related to what type of work you can do, where, and when. While generally enforceable, in some cases these agreements may not be enforceable in whole or in part. If you feel that your non-compete clause is truly hindering your career progress and opportunities, it may be worth consulting an attorney for an evaluation. The agreement you signed may not be as ironclad as you may think. 

When is a Non-Compete Clause Unenforceable in Wisconsin?

In determining whether non-compete clauses are enforceable, Wisconsin law attempts to balance the freedom to move within the labor market with the protections companies seek to obtain with these agreements.  If every company was allowed to require every employee to sign a non-compete as a condition of employment, it would be quite difficult for the labor market to function.  Changing jobs could become quite difficult if this were the case.  Therefore, to be enforceable the terms of a non-compete clause must be reasonable and allow an employee to obtain employment, albeit with restrictions.  A few things you should know about non-compete clauses include: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-nicole.jpgBy: Attorney Nicole Masnica 

Even the more serious forms of criminal trespassing are generally charged as a misdemeanor, carrying no more than a year in jail at the worst. Burglary, however, is at minimum a Class F felony, punishable by up to 12 years and six months in prison. The punishments for these offenses are wildly different, but these Wisconsin offenses themselves can be strikingly similar. The line between trespass and burglary is less clear than most people realize. Both involve entering or remaining in another’s property without consent. The difference may hinge on what the state thinks you were planning to do in there. If you are facing either charge, it is important to seek out a skilled defense attorney who can fight to minimize the legal jeopardy you are in. 

What is the Difference Between Criminal Trespass and Burglary?

First, it is important to note that in Wisconsin, there are different categories of both offenses depending on the type of property unlawfully entered and any offense you allegedly planned to commit inside. The degree of the felony or misdemeanor charged can vary based on a number of factors. That said, the definition of “burglary” may be much wider than you would expect. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1906998922.jpgBy: Attorney Ray Dall’Osto

Scams are growing more and more sophisticated with each passing year. Avoiding scams can be difficult, due to both how common they are and how convincing they can appear to be. The elderly are perhaps the most common targets for Social Security and Medicare scams, although people of all ages can and do fall victim to scam artists. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that victims lost millions of dollars to social security scams in 2018 alone, and that number is only increasing. Keeping yourself, your family and your elderly or more vulnerable loved ones up to date and educated about current common scams is one of the best ways to stop these predatory criminals from victimizing more individuals. Read the governmental agency links on how best to avoid scams.  Contact a lawyer knowledgeable about consumer protection laws for help if you or a loved one were the victim of a scam or identity theft. 

What Are the Types of Social Security Scams?

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that no one from any government agency will ever call you and ask for your personal information such as your social security number. Anyone who does so is almost certainly a criminal attempting to steal your money, your identity or personal financial information. Some common scam techniques are as follows, which you can pass on to your family and friends as a caution:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-weitzner.jpgBy: Attorney Cameron Weitzner

It is often - but not always - fairly obvious when someone is drunk. The telltale lack of coordination, slurred speech, and of course, the smell can quickly tip off the police that they are dealing with a drunk driver. From there, measuring how drunk the arrestee is fairly straightforward and can be done using a blood test or breathalyzer. When the substance involved is something other than alcohol, determining whether a driver is under the influence can be a lot more complicated. If you are dealing with a drug DUI charge, your defense could be complicated and require the skill of an experienced lawyer. 

What Signs of Drug Intoxication Do Police Look For?

Many of these signs could be explained by something other than intoxication, but may still be used as evidence of a driver’s impairment. Police may suspect drug use if they see:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1692105757.jpgThe pandemic has brought out the best in a lot of people. Communities have banded together to help each other out and look out for the most vulnerable. Sadly, there are those who have taken advantage of the pandemic by inventing creative new scams. Many of these scams are designed to take advantage of more vulnerable people, especially the elderly. Spotting scams can be tricky. Scammers are often adept at creating a sense of panic, forcing victims to act quickly before they have a chance to fully evaluate and think through the situation. People who are already aware of these new scams and techniques stand a better chance of avoiding falling prey to them. 

If you already have been a victim, do not be too embarrassed. Scam artists are good at what they do and it happens to a lot of people. If you were harmed by a COVID scam, a lawyer may be able to assist you. 

What Scams Based Around COVID Should I Be Aware Of?

A little knowledge can go a long way towards avoiding scams. Make sure to pass on these warnings to anyone you know who may be more vulnerable to them. COVID scams include: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_GRGB-Kristen-Nelson.jpgBy: Attorney Kristen Nelson

Doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals work extremely hard to obtain their professional licenses. Between schooling, practical training, and undergoing background checks or even enduring questions about mental health, it is not easy to get a professional license in the health care industry. Losing a license can be devastating, and it can happen for a number of reasons. Both criminal charges, whether or not they are related to your work, and some civil issues can lead to the loss of a medical license. In many cases, successfully defending against a criminal or civil accusation will preserve your license. You may need the skill of an experienced attorney to help you protect your career. 

What Criminal Issues Can Lead to the Loss of a Healthcare Professional License?

The biggest reason medical professionals lose their licenses is for committing a crime related to their profession. This can involve anything from stealing narcotics from a hospital to assaulting a patient. Over-prescribing addictive drugs to the extent that patients are harmed is taken extremely seriously. Financial crimes by medical practices, like illegal kickback schemes entered into with pharmaceutical company representatives are not entirely uncommon. Various types of fraud related to billing or in dealing with health insurance companies can result in criminal charges leading to a revoked license. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1585042099.jpgSlip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury in the winter. Sometimes, these accidents are the unavoidable result of harsh weather conditions. Other times, it is someone’s carelessness that leads others to fall and get hurt. Many slips and falls are entirely preventable when property owners and business operators use reasonable care to keep those on their premises safe. A number of careless practices when it comes to managing winter weather conditions can make accidents more likely. 

Demonstrating liability for a slip and fall can be challenging, due to a number of Wisconsin state laws. Whether you will be able to recover is highly dependent on the specific facts of your case. You will most likely need to speak with an attorney first to determine whether you may be eligible for compensation. 

What Causes Winter Slip and Falls - and Could I Recover?

Wisconsin land and business owners may not be liable for every slip and fall that happens on their property due to active weather conditions. However, Milwaukee and a number of other Wisconsin cities have local ordinances that require those with properties abutting a sidewalk or other public walkways to clear snow and ice accumulations after the winter storm has stopped. Common reasons people are injured after slipping and falling in the winter include: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2826279.jpgDuring the winter, the roads in Wisconsin and throughout the United States can become very dangerous. Storms may cause snow to accumulate on roads and highways, and cold temperatures may cause ice to form. These conditions can make roads very slick, and drivers will be much more likely to lose control of their vehicles and become involved in collisions. These issues are especially dangerous for large trucks and commercial vehicles, and truck drivers will need to take extra care to drive safely and avoid collisions. When truck accidents occur, victims can work with an attorney to determine who was responsible and take action to recover compensation from the liable parties.

Causes of Winter Truck Accidents

Truck crashes that take place on snow or ice can be deadly. When a massive tractor-trailer truck cannot slow down or stop correctly, it may collide with other vehicles at high speeds, resulting in severe injuries or wrongful death. These accidents may occur because of:

  • Truck driver negligence - During winter weather, truck drivers need to be sure to remain aware of potentially dangerous conditions and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that they are driving safely. Unfortunately, issues such as driver fatigue or distracted driving will often cause truck drivers to fail to notice dangerous issues such as black ice. A truck driver may be liable for their failure to follow the correct safety practices, or a trucking company may be held responsible for failing to ensure that drivers were properly trained to drive safely in cold weather conditions.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Capture.JPGBy: Attorney Jaclyn Kallie

The winters in Wisconsin can be brutal. Extremely cold temperatures and major storms involving snow, ice, and strong winds can affect people’s lives in multiple ways, and these issues can also have an impact on construction projects. In cases where winter weather resulted in delays or other issues that caused one or more parties to experience financial losses, construction litigation may be necessary. For those who are looking to recover losses or who need to defend against claims related to cold weather, it is crucial to work with an attorney who has experience addressing these matters both inside and outside of the courtroom.

Addressing Delays or Damage Related to Winter Weather

Construction projects may encounter delays for a variety of reasons, and when delays are unreasonable, a property owner, developer, or other parties may take action to address their financial losses. If certain types of work are not completed within the expected time frame, this may affect a contractor’s or subcontractor’s ability to begin other types of work. A delay in the completion of a construction project can affect an owner or developer’s plans to use the property. If a delay results in a violation of a contract, one or more parties may pursue litigation to address the breach of contract.

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