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Milwaukee, WI family law firmMilwaukee, WI divorce and child custody attorneyBy Attorney Max T. Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney M. Hess

If you are getting a divorce or attempting to establish a child support or child custody order with your child’s other parent, you may have at least considered the idea of representing yourself throughout the legal process. Perhaps you are worried about the costs of hiring an attorney, or you may feel that you and the other party are in agreement to the extent that legal representation is not necessary. However, choosing to represent yourself can have many unexpected consequences, and it may prevent you from achieving your desired outcome. Here are five reasons why trying to represent yourself in Wisconsin family court could be the wrong decision:

Representing Yourself Is a Large Time Commitment

If you decide to represent yourself, you will need to be prepared to invest a substantial amount of time in your case. Ensuring that you are well-informed about the legal process may require many hours of research, and you will also need to be present for all required court hearings and appearances. If you have other important time commitments, like working a job or caring for your children, finding time to represent yourself can be difficult.

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Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney for intoxicationBy Attorney Ray Dall’Osto

The intoxicating effects of alcohol and controlled substances (prescription and illegal) have been demonstrated to lower a person’s inhibitions, alter behavior, and impair a person’s mental and physical abilities, including the ability to operate motor vehicles steadily and safely.  Unfortunately, alcohol and substance use sometimes lead to situations where a person is arrested on criminal charges.  For example, in State v. Christen, 2021 WI 39, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment does not protect an intoxicated person's right to possession of a firearm for self-defense, in a drunken altercation with roommates inside defendant’s residence). 

If you have been arrested while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may wonder whether your state of intoxication could be a mitigating factor or perhaps even be raised as a defense that might help avoid a conviction. At first glance, it seems reasonable that the effects of a substance on a person’s mental state would impact on specific intent and possibly absolve you of personal responsibility for your actions. However, in Wisconsin, this is only true under limited circumstances, because the legislature and courts have determined that the intoxication defense should be greatly limited on public policy grounds. Thus, it is important that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to determine whether such a defense may apply in your case.

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Milwaukee, WI professional license defense lawyer for criminal chargesBy Attorney Kristen N. Nelson

In the State of Wisconsin, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are required to fulfill high standards of knowledge, skill, and professional and personal conduct in order to achieve and maintain their license to practice. A professional may be at risk of losing their license for a variety of disciplinary reasons, but one of the most serious threats to a healthcare professional’s license and career is the possibility of a conviction for criminal charges. If you are under investigation, or if you have been charged with a crime, it is crucial to have a skilled attorney who can help you avoid both criminal and professional penalties.

When Can a Conviction Result in Professional License Discipline?

According to Wisconsin law, both the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) and specific licensing boards have the authority to deny or revoke a professional license from a person who has been convicted of any crime or offense that is related to the practice of their profession. This can include both felonies and misdemeanors. Additionally, some licensing boards have standards in place to discipline professionals who are convicted on charges that are not necessarily directly related to their practice.

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Milwaukee, WI wrongful death lawyerBy Attorney Chris Strohbehn 

In Wisconsin, injury victims have the right to file a personal injury claim seeking compensation from the negligent parties who were responsible for their damages. Unfortunately, not all injury victims survive long enough to initiate the process, let alone benefit from the compensation. However, this does not mean that there is no way of holding the negligent party accountable. The victim’s surviving family members can also pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have recently lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you should be sure to understand your rights to pursue financial compensation.

Protections for Minor Children of the Deceased

According to Wisconsin law, a wrongful death action must be initiated by either the personal representative of the victim’s estate, or the victim’s next of kin who is entitled to compensation. Often, this is the victim’s spouse or domestic partner. However, when the victim has children under the age of 18 at the time of their death, the court responsible for hearing the wrongful death case will seek to ensure that those children have access to the resources they need now that their parent is no longer able to provide them. When determining an appropriate amount to set aside, the court will consider factors including the children’s ages and needs, as well as the capacity of a surviving parent to provide for them.

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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee child custody lawyer for establishing paternityBy Attorney Max T. Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney M. Hess

Until recently, Wisconsin parents seeking to establish the legal paternity of a child could do so in one of three ways. Two of those methods, a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment and an Acknowledgment of Marital Child, require the consent of both parents, which is not easy to obtain when the parents are in disagreement. The third method, petitioning for a court hearing, can help to resolve disagreements between parents, but it may come with a significant investment of time and money on the part of the parties to the case.

However, since August 2020, a new method known as Conclusive Determination of Paternity can help parents resolve paternity cases without requiring the extensive involvement of the court. If you are an unmarried or alleged parent, it is a good idea to learn about the process of conclusive determination to understand how it could affect your case.

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Milwaukee personal injury law firmMilwaukee, WI rollover car crash lawyersBy Attorney Christopher L. Strohbehn and Paralegal Ruth M. Campos

Rollover accidents can happen for a number of different reasons, and injuries suffered by vehicle occupants are often severe. Though vehicle safety features are continuing to improve in order to better protect drivers and passengers, the force of multiple impacts is still capable of injuring nearly every part of the body, potentially resulting in high medical bills and a long, difficult recovery process. If you have suffered serious injuries in a rollover car crash, it is important to determine whether you can pursue compensation from a negligent party.

Rollover Injuries Vary in Nature and Severity

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other research organizations have studied rollover accidents extensively over time in order to better understand their outcomes and promote measures to mitigate injuries. Through their research, they have determined that certain types of injuries are more common depending on the characteristics of the crash. Some of the most frequently occurring injuries include:

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Milwaukee criminal defense law firmMilwaukee, WI drug charges attorney for diversion programsBy Attorney Cameron Weitzner and Paralegal Rachel Sweet

The circumstances leading to criminal charges for drug possession can be complicated, and in many cases, they involve a history of substance abuse on the part of the alleged offender. The State of Wisconsin recognizes that treatment, education, and rehabilitation are often more effective responses to drug offenses than a harsh prison sentence. As such, the state allows a one-time conditional discharge and dismissal of charges for certain first-time drug offenders. This treatment option is an alternative to a prison sentence for offenders who are dependent on a controlled substance.

Some Wisconsin counties, including Milwaukee County, take these measures a step further by offering pretrial diversion programs for drug offenders. If you are facing drug charges, your attorney can help you understand whether you are eligible for one of these programs and take the necessary steps to fulfill your requirements.

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Milwaukee County spousal support law firmMilwaukee, WI divorce attorney for spousal maintenanceBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney Hess

In a Wisconsin divorce, spousal maintenance or alimony is sometimes ordered to provide support for a spouse who is likely to have difficulty providing for themself without their former partner’s income, perhaps due to their health, childcare responsibilities, or lack of education and work experience. When maintenance is ordered, the paying spouse has an important legal responsibility to make the payments on time and in the full amount. However, they should also be aware of other obligations that are likely to be included in the court order.

How Is Spousal Support Paid in Wisconsin?

Typically, rather than making payments directly to their former spouse, the paying party in a maintenance order will be required to make payments to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) or a party designated by DCF. The recipient of the payments is responsible for ensuring that they are disbursed appropriately to the receiving party. Failure to make full, on-time payments to DCF or their designee can result in enforcement proceedings against the paying spouse.

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Milwaukee criminal defense law firmMilwaukee, WI multiple OWI attorneyBy Attorney Cameron Weitzner and Paralegal Rachel Sweet

Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a serious criminal offense, regardless of whether you have a prior history of convictions. Consequences of an OWI conviction include fines, driver’s license revocation, and a lasting criminal record, even for first-time offenders. However, the consequences can become much more severe if you are facing OWI charges a second, third, or subsequent time. If you are arrested for OWI with a previous conviction on your record, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who can help you avoid the full extent of the penalties you may face.

Second OWI Offense Penalties Depend on the Timeframe

In Wisconsin, if your second alleged OWI offense comes more than 10 years after your first conviction, the potential penalties will likely be the same as if you had no prior conviction. Namely, you may face a fine of up to $300, a $435 OWI surcharge, and revocation of your driver’s license for up to nine months, but you are unlikely to be sentenced to any period of confinement or imprisonment. However, if the second offense comes within 10 years of the first, the possible penalties become more substantial. Fines can increase to up to $1,100, the license revocation period can increase to up to 18 months, and the sentence can include up to six months in prison.

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Milwaukee, WI business insurance litigation lawyerBy Attorney Chris Strohbehn

If you or your business is the subject of a claim or lawsuit, and you have insurance, there is a good chance you might receive one of these letters from the insurance company. What is a “reservation of rights letter,” and how does it impact you or your business?

Often, an insurance company is willing to provide a defense to these claims to protect its insured, as well as the company’s own interests in mitigating damages or disputing liability. However, some of these interests can come into conflict when the insurance company discovers pursuant to its review of the file or further investigation that it may not cover some or all the claims against you or your business in a lawsuit. 

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