Monthly Archives: March 2017

Consequences of Multiple DUI Convictions in Wisconsin

Drunk driving remains a major problem in Wisconsin. According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 24,000 drivers are convicted of drunk driving offenses in the state every year. Wisconsin drunk driving offenses are charged as OWIs (operating while intoxicated). While all intoxicated driving charges need to be taken seriously, it is especially important for those who already have a prior OWI conviction. Indeed, after a first conviction, any subsequent Wisconsin OWI conviction will carry heightened penalties.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Wisconsin

On January 1st, 2017, Wisconsin put in place new drunk driving penalties. The new legislation, which was signed in April of 2016 by Governor Scott Walker, is designed to try to reduce the rate of intoxicated driving in the state. The updated penalties are substantially more harsh on repeat offenders. As of now, the consequences for multiple Wisconsin DUI offenses are as follows:

Second Offense

  • Skyrocketing insurance costs;
  • Financial penalties, including up to $1,100 in fines;
  • Jail time, between five days and six months;
  • License suspension for up to 18 months; and
  • Possible installation of an interlock ignition on your car.

Third Offense

  • Skyrocketing insurance rates;
  • $2,000 in fines, which can be increased further depending on your level of intoxication;
  • Jail time, between 45 days and one year;
  • Loss of license for up to three years; and
  • The mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device on your car.

Fourth Offense (Plus Additional Offenses)

  • Skyrocketing insurance premiums;
  • Mandatory felony charge;
  • In excess of $10,000 in fines;
  • Substantial jail time, likely to be at least five years starting at your fifth offense; and
  • Automatic license revocation, lasting for at least three years.

Defending an OWI Charge

As the penalties for multiple drunk driving convictions can be extremely harsh, you need to take immediate action following an OWI arrest. It is imperative that you work with an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer who can help to protect your legal rights. In crafting a defense strategy, you attorney will consider several different things, including:

  • Your due process rights, including assessing the existence of probable cause in your case;
  • Whether or not there is sufficient evidence to sustain the charges against you; and
  • The existence of opportunities to seek a reduction in your charges or your penalties.

Ultimately, a proper legal defense strategy should always be narrowly tailored to the individual circumstances of each case. In some cases, it may make sense to aggressively fight the OWI charges. Whereas in other cases, the best strategy may be to focus on seeking a reduction in punishment.

Contact Our Office Today to Speak with a Skilled Appleton DUI Lawyer

At Hammett Bellin & Oswald LLC, our experienced Appleton criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience handling DUI cases. If you need legal assistance, please get in touch our team today by calling 920-720-0000. We offer initial consultations are free of charge. From our offices in Appleton and Neenah, we represent clients throughout Northeastern Wisconsin, including in Wautoma and New London.

Proving Your Slip and Fall Case in Wisconsin

Slip and fall accidents remain far too common in Wisconsin and around the country. Indeed, the (CDC), reports that nearly three million Americans require emergency medical attention for fall accidents each year. Property owners need to do a better job removing safety hazards on their premises. If you slip and fall on another person’s property, you may be able to hold that property owner liable for your damages. Here, our Appleton personal injury attorneys discuss what you need to know about proving liability in a Wisconsin slip and fall case.

Slip and Fall Liability in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, slip and fall accident cases, like all premises liability cases, are based on the negligence standard. This means that in order to hold a property owner liable for your damages, you will need to be able to prove that your accident occurred as a result of their negligence. In broad terms, negligence is the failure to take proper care in a particular situation. In premises liability cases, proving negligence requires proving each of the following three legal elements:

  • Danger: First, you will need to prove that an unreasonable safety hazard was present on the property. Property owners are not automatically liable for a fall accident. For example, a property owner cannot be held liable simply because a person tripped over their own feet. Dangerous conditions must have been present to prove liability.
  • Knowledge: Next, the property owner (or manager) must have had knowledge of the dangerous condition. To be clear, in Wisconsin you can satisfy this element by proving either ‘actual knowledge’ or ‘constructive knowledge’. In other words, you must prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the unreasonable safety hazard.
  • Failure to act: Finally, your slip and fall attorney will need to prove that the property owner could have taken action to remove (or reduce) the safety risk, but that they failed to take those actions. Property owners cannot be held liable if there was nothing they could have done to prevent the accident.

Slip and Fall Cases Can Be Complex

Fall accidents victims may seek compensation that covers the full value of their damages. This includes everything from medical bills to lost wages to pain and suffering. However, property owners, and their insurance companies, usually fight slip and fall accident cases very aggressively. To actually recover the compensation that they rightfully deserve, victims need to have an experienced attorney by their side early on in the claims process. Without thorough investigation early on in the claims process, you will have a difficult time obtaining the evidence necessary to support your claim.

Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer in Wisconsin

At Hammett, Bellin & Oswald LLC, our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling slip and fall accident cases. To request a free review of your case, please call our team today locally at 920-720-0000 or toll free at 866-720-0009. We represent victims throughout Northeastern Wisconsin, including in Green Bay, Oshkosh and DePere.

2017 Law & Justice Scholarship Winner Announced

Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC is pleased to announce that Hannah Krueger is the recipient of the 2017 Law & Justice Scholarship.

This scholarship was offered to all first-year college freshman who planned on attending an accredited College/University during the 2017-2018 school year to assist with college education expenses. Judges selected the scholarship winner based on school activities, special honors and awards, community involvement, interest in pursuing a law degree, academic performance and an essay.

On behalf of the lawyers and staff at HBO Law Firm, we would like to congratulate Hannah Krueger on being the 2017 winner of the Law & Justice Scholarship. We wish her the best of luck in all her educational endeavors.