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There are a variety of legal issues that may affect college students. Addressing these matters properly can aide students in protecting their rights, continuing receiving education, and pursuing future opportunities. Like all adults, university students can take inadvisable actions, and they may face consequences for certain types of behavior. In addition to addressing violations of school policies that may lead to disciplinary action, students may also need to defend against accusations that they have violated the law. By understanding the potential criminal charges that students may face, they can determine their best options for defense that will help them minimize legal and administrative penalties.

Common Charges That College Students May Face

There are multiple situations where students may be accused of violating the law including:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_attn-chris-1.jpgBy: Attorney Christopher L. Strohbehn  

As the temperature drops during the winter, Wisconsin residents may encounter a variety of safety issues. Snow and ice that accumulates on sidewalks or other walking surfaces may lead to slip and fall accidents that result in multiple types of serious injuries, such as broken bones or traumatic brain injuries. Victims of these types of accidents may experience a number of difficulties, including costly medical treatment and loss of income if they are unable to work while they are recovering. In these situations, victims will want to determine whether they can take legal action to recover financial compensation from the owner of the property where their injury occurred.

Liability for Slip and Fall Injuries Caused by Snow or Ice

A person’s ability to pursue compensation for a slip and fall accident will usually depend on whether the injury occurred at an establishment that was open to the public, a private residence, or a public area such as a sidewalk. Private property owners are required to take steps to protect the safety of visitors, including addressing slipping hazards on walkways, porches, patios, or decks. If a visitor to a person’s home slips on snow or ice that was not properly cleared, they may be covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, or they may be able to take legal action to recover compensation for injuries that occurred because of the property owner’s negligence.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_attn-kristen.jpgBy: Attorney Kristen Nelson

There are many situations where healthcare professionals may need to address legal issues, and many of the most serious and consequential cases will involve controlled substances, specifically, opioids. Doctors and other medical providers who prescribe medications may be accused of overprescribing. This may lead to investigations from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or other authorities, criminal charges, civil penalties, discipline to a person’s medical license, and other issues that may affect a person’s ability to continue practicing medicine. To address these issues, medical professionals can work with an attorney who is experienced in healthcare law

Addressing Issues Related to Over Prescribing

Over-prescribing may include any situations in which controlled substances are prescribed or dispensed to patients and used for purposes above and beyond their accepted medical uses. In some cases, patients may engage in “doctor shopping,” in which they visit multiple providers in order to obtain prescriptions in excess of what would normally be allowed and use these drugs for personal purposes or sell them to others. Doctors or other medical providers may also be accused of operating “pill mills” and prescribing and dispensing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, as part of an illegal drug distribution scheme or in return for additional compensation.

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wisconsin business attorneyBy:  Attorney Chris Strohbehn

Insurance companies across the country do not like to pay claims. Here in Wisconsin, it is no different. 

Once your business is on notice of a loss or a legal claim against it, you should consult with our Milwaukee counsel or notify your insurance company.  While the insurance company will start the claims process and open a file, it is also likely that the company will evaluate whether it can avoid coverage based on the terms and conditions of its policy. 

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milwaukee car crash lawyerDriving in the winter can be more dangerous than at other times of the year. Traction can be reduced significantly on snowy or icy roads, and drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles and become involved in car accidents. Throughout the United States, more than 150,000 accidents take place every year on roads with snow or ice, and these result in an average of more than 1,800 fatalities and 130,000 injuries. Wisconsin is one of the most dangerous states for winter driving, averaging 17.7 fatalities for every 100 days when temperatures are below freezing. Those who are involved in winter car accidents will want to understand how they can pursue financial compensation for their injuries to ensure that they will be able to recover following a collision.

Causes of Winter Auto Accidents

Multiple parties may be responsible for car accidents that take place in the winter. Drivers, passengers, or others who are injured in these collisions may be able to take legal action against parties whose negligence led to a collision, including in cases where accidents were caused by:

  • Negligent drivers - Anyone who drives in winter weather should take precautions to ensure that they can operate their vehicle safely and respond correctly to cold weather conditions. Drivers should avoid speeding or following too closely behind other vehicles, since reduced traction may make it difficult to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. Other unsafe practices, such as distracted driving or drunk driving, can be even more dangerous during the winter, and drivers who failed to drive safely may be held liable for injuries and damages caused to others.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_attn-karnes-1.jpgBy Russell J. Karnes

Property owners, creditors and other interested parties who have been named in a foreclosure action due to an interest they have in real property may have the right to make a claim for any remaining surplus proceeds. 

When a bank or mortgage loan servicer files for foreclosure, they are generally required to name all necessary parties as defendants in the lawsuit. Necessary parties in foreclosure actions include owners of the property, as well as any other party that holds a mortgage, lien or other interest in the property. After the judgment of foreclosure is entered and the applicable redemption period expires, the property can be sold at a sheriff’s sale. If the price obtained at sale is greater than the amount of the judgment, a surplus is created. 

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Students have the right to pursue an education and other opportunities while attending college, and they are protected against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This discrimination may come in a variety of forms, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender-based violence. Students who have experienced harassment or who have been accused of harassing or assaulting someone else can work with a lawyer who provides legal representation for students. An attorney can provide guidance on how the laws apply in a particular situation and ensure that students understand the options for resolving these matters successfully.

Protections Against Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct may involve unwelcome sexual actions, sexual harassment, and verbal or physical abuse based on a person’s sex or gender identity. Title IX, the federal statute that addresses sexual discrimination at educational institutions, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual misconduct may be considered discrimination if it interferes with a student’s ability to pursue educational opportunities or participate in activities on a college campus.

Sexual misconduct can take many forms, including:

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Historically, the NCAA has prohibited college student-athletes from accepting money in return for endorsements to ensure athletic programs were not “pay for play.”  Until recently, the only way student athletes could legally receive compensation was through scholarships. Many believed that this was unfair to student-athletes, since universities could make a great deal of money from TV broadcasts and licensing deals, and even though these earnings would not be possible without students’ participation, the rewards received by many students were very limited. However, this has changed in recent years as multiple states have passed laws allowing students to earn money through licensing rights for their name, image, and likeness (NIL). In response to these laws, the NCAA created a new policy in 2021 allowing student-athletes to engage in these types of endorsements. For those who are considering earning money or other compensation with their NIL, it is important to work with an attorney who can provide representation for college student athletes and ensure that their rights and interests will be protected.

NIL Licensing for Student-Athletes in Wisconsin

Under the NCAA’s new policy, college athletes can benefit from the use of their NIL, and they can use professional services providers such as agents, accountants, marketing companies, or attorneys. Any NIL activities must be consistent with the laws of the state where the college is located and the activities should be reported to their school.

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It is not uncommon for college students to pursue sexual relationships with others. However, despite best efforts to ensure consent, there can sometimes be mixed signals or miscommunication.  There are also unfortunately instances where no form of consent is obtained. In some cases, students may be accused of committing sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct. These students will need to understand the potential consequences they may face, including criminal charges and administrative penalties at a university. To ensure that their rights are protected, those who have been accused of misconduct should work with an attorney who is experienced in representing college students.

Administrative Penalties for Sexual Misconduct

A student who is accused of committing sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct may face penalties from their school, even if they are never charged with or convicted of a crime. Once a complaint of sexual misconduct is made to a school’s Title IX office, the school will perform an investigation to gain information about the facts of the case.  In some cases, the school holds a hearing to determine whether misconduct occurred, and issue penalties, which may include suspension, expulsion, or restrictions on the types of activities a person can participate in or their contact or communication with the alleged victim. 

In a college setting, “sexual misconduct” includes more than just sexual assault. These cases can involve sexual harassment such as unwelcome sexual advances or offensive comments, sexual exploitation such as taking or distributing photos or videos of private body parts or sexual activity without a person’s consent, stalking, or dating violence committed against a romantic partner.

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As students pursue a college education, they should all be treated fairly and equally. Unfortunately, there are a variety of situations where students may face discrimination, and they may be treated differently based on their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. In cases where a student has experienced discrimination, they will need to understand how Title IX, a federal civil rights law, addresses their situation and provides them with protections. By working with an attorney who can provide representation for college students, victims of discrimination can take legal action to protect their rights.

Protections Under Title IX

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at educational institutions. In addition to discrimination based on sex or gender identity, schools are also prohibited from treating students differently based on issues such as marital status, pregnancy, or parental status. This law applies to any school or program that receives financial assistance from the federal government. Title IX provides protections against discrimination in multiple situations, including:

  • Harassment - Students are protected from sexual harassment and sexual assault or other forms of harassment based on their gender or gender identity. A college must respond promptly and effectively to reports of harassment. Students should be aware of their various options both under Title IX and within the criminal justice system if they are the victim of any form of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual violence.
  • Admissions - Male and female students who apply for admission to a university cannot be treated differently. A college cannot limit the number of admissions for a certain sex or rank applicants separately by gender. However, a college can take affirmative steps to address existing disparities.
  • Financial aid - Different types or amounts of financial assistance cannot be provided to students based on their gender. Eligibility for financial aid cannot be limited on the basis of sex, and a university cannot apply different criteria for financial aid based on a student’s gender. Certain types of sex-restricted scholarships may be administered by a university through wills, trusts, or bequests, but the overall effect of these scholarships cannot result in discrimination on the basis of sex.
  • Athletics - Male and female students should have equal opportunities to participate in athletic programs. Students should also be treated equally in terms of the quality of equipment provided, scheduling of games and practices, financial support for travel expenses, opportunities for tutoring, and locker rooms, sports fields, or other facilities of comparable quality.
  • Employment - Colleges cannot treat employees, including students who participate in work-study programs, differently based on their sex. Hiring practices cannot disproportionately affect one sex, and a university cannot provide different benefits based on a person’s gender identity.

Contact Our Milwaukee Title IX Attorneys

If you have experienced discrimination while attending or working at a college or university, the attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP can help you understand your rights and the best ways to address these issues. We will help you take legal action to ensure that you will be treated fairly and equally and that any negative effects you have experienced due to discrimination are mitigated as much as possible. Contact our Milwaukee, WI college student discrimination lawyers at (414) 271-1440 to arrange a confidential consultation.

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