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Adult Child Arrested?!

Oh my God, my adult child is charged with a crime.

What do you do if your adult child is charged with a crime? The first thing that comes to mind is probably panic. However, the first thing you should be doing is contacting a criminal defense attorney well versed in the law. This is not the time to call the family attorney that did your mother-in-law’s will or an attorney that helped you do documents for the closing of the purchase of your home. You need someone that concentrates their practice in criminal defense. Criminal defense is a very unique area of the law and knowledge in one area of the law does not mean that attorney knows other areas of the law. If you needed your hip replaced, you would not go to your general practitioner but you would go to a surgeon skilled in that type of surgery. The law is specialized, just like the practice of medicine.

Your adult child has probably received a Criminal Complaint. This is probably scaring the living daylights out of both your child and you. For instance, even if it’s a Class A Misdemeanor, the complaint will likely tell you that your child is facing up to a $10,000 fine and up to nine months in jail. Worse yet, if it is a felony, the complaint could say something like, “Upon conviction, the person may be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned not more than 40 years in prison or both.” Obviously, this is scary. First, take a deep breath. Second, get an attorney.

Some people think they do not need an attorney because their child may have committed the offense. If they committed the offense, an attorney won’t be worthwhile, would it? Well, the answer is, yes, the attorney could be worthwhile. Just because someone is charged with an offense, it doesn’t mean they are going to be convicted of same. Sometimes, the State has trouble with their case when it comes to proof of the crime. While it is best if someone doesn’t commit a crime, just because they have committed a crime doesn’t mean they are going to get convicted. An attorney well versed in criminal defense can find defenses that a non-attorney would not know. For instance, if your adult child is accused of battery to an individual and is facing nine months in the county jail, just because they hit somebody doesn’t mean they are going to be convicted. There are defenses to battery such as self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property. It may be that someone came at your child aggressively and your child simply defended themselves. Self-defense is a complete defense to the count of battery. Therefore, even if your child won the fight, it doesn’t mean they are guilty of doing anything wrong. Potential defenses are possible in almost any charge imaginable. If your child got caught selling drugs to a police officer, a defense of entrapment might be available. Even if your child shot someone, self defense is allowed by law under certain situations.

In addition, even if there aren’t any applicable defenses under the facts of your child’s case, sometimes matters can be pled down to a lesser offense. For instance, your adult child might be age 19 and had consensual sex with a girl at a party. He may find out later that the girl was 15 years of age. Imagine your horror to find out that your child is now facing a sexual assault, with up to a $100,000 fine and 40 years in prison and inclusion on the sexual offender registry for at least 15 years. That certainly is a nightmare. However, many times, in these types of situations, as long as we can show that things happened consensually, we can find ways to avoid that felony conviction or have it amended to a misdemeanor, even if there are no defenses to the charge. There is common sense in the law and many times prosecutors will charge a matter at the highest level to amend it down to a lower level later.

In most cases, things are not as bad as they appear on paper. One should remember that the complaint is drafted by the District Attorney’s office. Many times, in the complaint, they will put all the bad facts and leave good facts out of the complaint. The complaint isn’t the end all when it comes to criminal cases. The police reports, audio, video, scientific testing results, further investigation by the defense attorney and other expert reports may refute the allegations and prove that your child isn’t guilty or your child is guilty of a lesser offense.

Many times people don’t want to spend the money on criminal defense and they will use the public defender’s office to represent their child. The idea is that they could always appeal it later if they get a negative outcome. Waiting to “fix things” on appeal is absolutely the wrong approach. While appeals can be helpful and can overturn some bad results, most appeals are unsuccessful. It is much wiser to spend the money upfront at the trial level representation rather than saving money later for an appeal. A person is presumed innocent before trial and, therefore, it is easier to mount a defense. Once someone is convicted, on appeal, the burden then shifts from the State having to prove evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that your child is guilty rather than your child having to prove on appeal that there is clear and convincing evidence that they should get a new trial or have the matter reopened. It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, the money spent before trial is like purchasing the ounce of prevention to avoid having to spend money for a pound of cure.  

Many times, you haven’t received a complaint yet but your child might tell you that the police want to talk to them to complete their investigation. This is not the time to have your child, or anyone else, make statements to the police. That doesn’t mean that a statement may not eventually be made, but it is much better to seek advice of counsel first and have an attorney with you if a statement is going to be made. The best advice when the police come calling is to get an attorney first and not talk to the police. Even though the police may insinuate that you are acting guilty if you “lawyer up”, that is just a police technique to have the person talk to the police without representation. Everyone in the United States has an absolute right to representation under the 5th and 6th Amendments of the United States Constitution. You have a right to remain silent. Your silence cannot be used against you in a court of law. While these warnings are frequently told to people, people, unfortunately, ignore those rights. They feel like they are guilty if they don’t talk to the police. The police can always get a statement later from your child and his attorney. However, it is hard to get back the statement later if it proves to be incriminating. It is better to think first and act second.

Long story short, if your child is charged with a crime, or if the police come knocking, have your child assert their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to make any statements without an attorney present. At Petit & Dommershausen, we defend people charged with crimes. It would be our pleasure to represent your child and we would do everything we could to assist them. We treat our clients as if it was our own child that is facing a criminal charge. We can be contacted at:

Phone: #920-739-9900

Fax: #920-739-9909

Appleton Area Location:                      Oshkosh Area Location:           Green Bay Area Location:

1650 Midway Road                             2001 Bowen Street                   2830 Curry Court, #2

Menasha, WI 54952                            Oshkosh, WI 54901                 Green Bay WI 54311

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We Can Help with Divorce in Wisconsin Step by Step

Each county, and sometimes each court, does things a little bit differently. You should check with your local attorneys for complete information.

Our legal team can help you understand the process, your options, and assist you in selecting the options that are best for your circumstances. Our firm will help you analyze and pursue your interests throughout the following steps:

1. We can help you decide how to file. Will you start the action on your own as the petitioner? Or, will you and your spouse sign the documents together and file the action jointly?

2. We can help you file the divorce. The summons and petition (or joint petition) for divorce or legal separation and confidential petition addendum must be filed with the court and appropriate fees paid to the Clerk of Circuit Court.

3. We can help you decide whether you need a temporary order. A temporary order is a court enforceable outline of the rights, responsibilities and obligations of parties undergoing the divorce process. We can help you pursue a temporary order if you and your spouse cannot agree on the following issues:

  • Child Custody
  • Use of automobiles or other personal property
  • Child Placement Payment of bills
  • Child Support Payment of maintenance or spousal support
  • Use of the family residence

4. We can help you serve the necessary paperwork for divorce and temporary order on your spouse. A court cannot hear the action until your spouse is provided with copies of the materials and proof of that service must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court.

5. We can represent you and your interests at a temporary order hearing. We can assist you in negotiating a stipulated temporary order (agreed upon order) or if needed we can advance your positions and arguments at a contested hearing before the court.

6. We can help you through the divorce process. Is your case languishing? Waiting for a final hearing? Our legal team has the knowledge to assist you in obtaining the necessary pretrial information, pretrial orders, and scheduling to complete your divorce as efficiently as possible. We can help get you to final hearing in a manner that advances your interests.

7. We can help you prepare, negotiate and finalize all the paperwork for your final divorce. These documents include:

  • Marital Settlement Agreement (if you and your spouse can agree on everything) or a Proposed Marital Settlement Order (if you don’t agree).
  • Financial Disclosure Statements
  • Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment of Divorce
  • Vital Statistics Form (from the Clerk of Circuit Court office).

8. We can help you at the final hearing whether its contested, partially stipulated/contested, or a full agreement.

9. We can help you complete any post divorce work or documents after the final hearing. We will assist you in the preparation and transmission of deeds, titles, and the documents needed to divide retirement accounts such as pensions, 401ks and IRAs.

Call Petit & Dommershausen, SC today. 920-739-9900.

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Thinking about your Estate Plan during the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Have you been considering your Will? Trust? Powers of Attorney? Advanced Directive?

Petit & Dommershausen, SC, law firm is here to help with your legal needs during these difficult times. A Well Crafted Estate Plan is an important consideration for everyone, especially now. While considering one’s death and dying or incapacity is unpleasant, a Well Crafted Estate Plan can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will have clear directions regarding your property and assets. A Well Crafted Estate Plan can give you the needed assurances that your property and assets may be managed or distributed in accordance with your wishes.

Are you concerned about social distancing while receiving legal services?

Petit & Dommershausen, SC, is open and ready to help. We are happy to schedule a teleconference or video conference with you to provide legal assistance.  We are able to draft documents after our consultations and provide you with working copies to review as we continue the drafting process. We can hold the documents until we have an opportunity to meet in person to finalize and execute the materials.

If you work in a high risk employment position or have healthcare circumstances that require more immediate completion of your planning documents, our firm is offering creative solutions that may permit your documents to be fully completed while adhering to the strictest social distancing precautions.

Petit & Dommershausen is here for you.

We are very hopeful our community will be able to work through these difficult circumstances as soon as possible. With additional direction from the CDC and the Governor’s office, we hope to soon be able to offer in our regular in-person consultations to address your legal needs.  In the meantime, we will be here for you on the phone or via video conference.

Call us today at 920-739-9900.

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Is CBD Oil Legal in Wisconsin?

               If you have driven through, or live in, any medium to large-size city in Wisconsin, chances are you have seen at least one “CBD Oil Sold Here!” banner hanging in a store window. The use of CBD oil has become increasingly trendy over the last year, and many users claim that it can help promote sounder sleep, reduce inflammation and pain, and help reduce stress and anxiety. But one thing many Wisconsin consumers wonder is whether it is in fact legal to possess and use CBD oil.

The most recent bill addressing the legality of CBD oil was passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature in 2017. The bill allowed for citizens to possess CBD oil if a doctor confirmed, in writing, that the product was being used to treat a medical condition. This law is embodied in Wis. Stat. § 961.32(2m)(b) and remains in effect to this day. What that means is that possession of CBD oil without a valid note from a doctor can technically be prosecuted as a misdemeanor criminal offense.

At this point, you may be wondering how none of your friends and family members have been charged with some sort of possession offense after leaving the CBD store on the corner with a bag full of CBD gummies, oils, or vapes without first obtaining a doctor’s note. You may also be wondering how that CBD store on the corner has been allowed to remain in business in the first place.

In 2018, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a bill authorizing farmers throughout the state to grow industrial hemp. The hemp produced by farmers can be used to produce and sell CBD oil. Due to the conflict this created in the CBD law, the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office released a statement in May of 2018 advising law enforcement officials throughout the state to refrain from enforcing the requirement that consumers must possess a physician’s note in order to use CBD oil. In other words, while you are still technically required to have a physician’s note to use CBD oil, you will most likely not be charged with any criminal offense if you do not have one. If you’d like to play it safe, obtaining a doctor’s authorization is your best option!

While the use of CBD oil seems to be trending towards complete legalization, possession of marijuana remains illegal in the state of Wisconsin. If you or a loved one has been charged with a marijuana-related offense, call Petit & Dommershausen for legal assistance today at (920) 739-9900.

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What Are the Consequences of a Misdemeanor?

What will happen if I am charged with a misdemeanor? What happens after a misdemeanor conviction? Can I go to college after a misdemeanor conviction?
These and many other important questions are asked when dealing with a misdemeanor charge. Unfortunately, many people don’t fully understand the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction in Wisconsin. A conviction for a misdemeanor – especially a violent or drug-related misdemeanor – can carry serious penalties and deeply impact your life.

What Is a Misdemeanor?

Wisconsin Law States that a misdemeanor offense is an offense for which the maximum possible penalty is 12 months or less jail. A misdemeanor offense could include:

Domestic violence, like battery or disorderly conduct
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI aka DUI)
Prostitution and solicitation, and
Resisting or obstructing arrest

Misdemeanor Sentences

A misdemeanor conviction could carry a significant sentence. A sentence could include jail time, probation and other consequences that may affect your finances and freedom. Community service, fines, and other obligations could be imposed on your by the court at sentencing.

Firearm Rights

Certain misdemeanor offenses can affect your firearm rights. Even though you haven’t been convicted of a felony, certain domestic abuse offenses may impose federal prohibitions on firearm possession.

Work or School Issues

If you are sentenced to jail or have other conditions imposed on you, it may be difficult to meet the expectations of your employment or school. Following a conviction, it may be hard to find suitable employment or gain acceptance into certain types of schooling or maintain certain professional licenses.

The Petit & Dommershausen, SC, team will work with you to mitigate or lessen the harsh consequences of a misdemeanor conviction. We can employ legal strategies to review your case for potential defenses, conduct assertive negotiations on your behalf, advise you on steps that may assist the resolution of your case, and obtain outcomes that may circumvent difficulties that may arise with a charge or conviction.

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How much will a Child Support Attorney cost?

Cost considerations are an important factor in the selection of any good or service. Making an informed choice necessarily includes an assessment of possible costs. These questions often are raised when considering hiring a lawyer to assist with a child support matter.

Child Support Lawyer from the Child Support Agency

Many folks first experience with a lawyer connected to a child support case is the lawyer who works with and for the county child support agency. You should be aware, that lawyer is not a lawyer representing you. That lawyer may advocate for you to receive child support, but the lawyer does not owe a client duty to you. That lawyer is a representative of the county and its child support agency in its capacity as an advocate for children.

While it may save some legal fees in the short term to handle a matter on your own and let the attorney from the child support agency do all the talking and legal work, it may not be in your interest. You have the right to a lawyer to assist you and be your representative.

Child Support Attorney Fees

Child Support attorney fees can be based on either a per-hour or flat-fee basis. To find out more about child support attorneys and how much they cost, continue reading.

Reasons to Hire a Child Support Attorney

Before we get to how much it may cost, lawyers will often need to understand the type of case and the legal work that may be necessary. There are certain circumstances that we advise you strongly consider hiring an attorney.

  • Establishing paternity. If Dad is on the birth certificate, that may just be the first step in the process. A child support hearing may be scheduled, but at that hearing additional important legal issues may be considered by the court. The court will presume you are able to handle these issues regardless of whether you have consulted an attorney. The issues for review may be Child Legal Custody, Child Placement, Child Support, Variable Expenses, Birthing Expenses, and numerous other issues.
  • Child Support matters with variable income. Is a parent self employed? Works a few jobs? Changes jobs frequently? These additional areas of complexity require additional legal analysis that may not be completed at your hearing.
  • Need to Modify an existing agreement or order. If changes are needed, the court may require a specific legal showing to occur before it even considers the need for a change. In these cases, a lawyer may be able to present law and facts that may meet the court’s expectations and then also necessitate a change in support.
  • Collecting outstanding child support. Does a parent owe back support? In those circumstances, a lawyer can assist in understanding how a back amount is calculated and how it may be resolved.

But How Much Does It Cost?

Short answer = it depends. A consultation with a lawyer would get you the best understanding of the potential costs. It may be far more affordable that you think.

The ultimate costs depend on your circumstances, the parents placement arrangements, the other areas of dispute between the parties, and the conflict level. If some of the circumstances described above are present plus a high level of conflict, legal costs can be high. It may be in a parent’s interests to negotiate, but that doesn’t always happen.

At Petit & Dommershausen, SC, we pride ourselves on good legal service and a transparent billing process. Our lawyers will directly outline the nature of our representation agreements and the retention costs. Once we are on board as your lawyers, you will be kept up to date with all financial circumstances and our Office Manager and staff will be happy to respond to additional inquiries.

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Bay Beach | Big Wheel | Ferris Wheel

Petit & Dommershausen, SC, is grateful for the warm welcome our Green Bay Area office has received. We would like to extend our appreciation by joining Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin in GREEN BAY’S GREATEST COMEBACK by donating to the Bay Beach efforts at restoration and revitalization efforts.

For each new like Petit & Dommershausen, SC receives on Facebook from June 21, 2019 to September 1, 2019, we will donate $1 to Bay Beach with a maximum donation of $500. Be sure to like us and share this post with your friends! Bring Back the Beach.

Find more information here.

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