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Eau Claire Criminal Defense Blog

How to avoid an OWI this Halloween

Halloween is a holiday enjoyed by children to go trick-or-treating and get free candy. However, plenty of adults enjoy the holiday and will typically host parties where guests consume alcohol. One study found that fatal drunk driving crashes are more likely to occur on Halloween compared to New Year's Eve. If you plan on partying for Halloween this year, you need to be safe. 

Halloween falls on a Wednesday in 2018, which typically results in fewer drunk driving crashes than when the holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday. Regardless of what day it is, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you plan on drinking Halloween night

Why is binge drinking associated with college life?

Like many other college students in Wisconsin, you are kicking off your first year in university by participating in activities involving alcohol. While you may have every intention of drinking responsibly, you should understand the potential liabilities that can result from campus drinking.

Students have considered drinking in college to be a rite of passage for generations. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that nearly 60 percent of college students across the country between the ages of 18 and 22 drank during the past month. About two out of three binge-drank during that time. You may not consider that very surprising. After all, most people consider drinking at parties, sporting events and bars to be part of the college experience. However, it can help to understand that binge drinking can involve a lot more than harmless fun.

Man facing OWI charges in Wisconsin

As summer winds down in Wisconsin, many motorcycle enthusiasts are getting as much road time as they can, often taking passengers along for their rides. Many say there's nothing like being out on the open road, soaring along on two wheels through a cool, summer breeze. Such an adventure can come to a screeching halt, however, if an accident occurs, which is what happened to one motorcyclist and his passenger; in fact, the driver is now facing OWI charges because of the incident.

A 40-year-old male biker had a female passenger at the time. Although officials did not provide specific details about what caused the motorcycle to crash, they did say they believe that the motorcyclist had something to do with it. The woman traveling on the back of the bike was hurt and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Three in Wisconsin charged with drug crimes after recent incident

Police say they just happened to be in the neighborhood to conduct a search of an empty house when they witnessed several people exhibiting suspicious behavior nearby. One person apparently entered a parked vehicle that contained the other two people involved. All three people are now facing charges for suspected drug crimes in Wisconsin.

Officers had been dispatched to the empty residence to execute a search warrant in connection to a separate shooting incident. However, one of the officers says he noticed the suspicious activity happening at the parked car, so he and his colleagues tried to get nearer to see what was going on. The officers all agree that they witnessed what they believed was an illegal drug exchange.

Factors known to impact Breathalyzer accuracy

If a Wisconsin law enforcement official pulls you over and believes you were drinking before getting behind the wheel, he or she is likely to administer a breath test using a device known as a Breathalyzer. While, in many cases, Breathalyzers give accurate results, they are also sometimes prone to error. Because the stakes associated with an Operating While Intoxicated conviction are so severe, you want to have complete faith that the results your Breathalyzer produces are 100-percent accurate.

If your breath test indicates that you consumed alcohol before driving, but you dispute its results, know that the following factors have the capacity to throw off Breathalyzer accuracy:

Wisconsin man charged with drug crimes involving heroin and meth

A person could be out in public in Wisconsin one minute, then facing serious legal problems the next. This is especially so in situations where police claim to recognize someone as a person with a warrant out for his or her arrest. A man was out and about on a recent Monday in Baraboo, and is now facing serious charges for suspected drug crimes.                

Local police officers who were apparently in the area at the time say they saw the man along West Street and recognized him as someone wanted by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections on a felony warrant. Officers pursued the man and took him into custody. As often happens in such situations, the man's circumstances got worse instead of better.  

Why there is a different BAC standard for drivers under 21

The law treats drivers 21 and older differently than drivers younger than 21 when it comes to driving under the influence. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says, "Drivers under 21 years of age are required by law to maintain 'absolute sobriety,' and, for them, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal."

Meanwhile, drivers 21 and older may be able to avoid an OWI charge with a BAC just below 0.08 percent. Why the different treatment?

Majority of Wisconsin residents think marijuana should be legal

Immigration aside, if there's one topic that tends to incite contentious debate in Wisconsin and throughout the nation, it is cannabis. Some agree with the U.S. government that marijuana should always be classified as an illegal drug. Others believe the opposite: that it never should be categorized as such but should be 100 percent decriminalized, even for recreational use. Then there are those whose opinions fall somewhere in between, thinking perhaps that certain uses of the cannabis, such as those that are medicinal, are acceptable but should be strictly regulated.  

Recent polls show that nearly 60 percent of Wisconsinites believe marijuana should be legal in this state. The same percentage of people also say they favor some sort of state regulations similar to those now in place for alcohol. One state representative has been spearheading an effort since 2014 to get the bill she introduced passed through the legislature.  

Drug convictions can impact financial aid eligibility

If you are planning a return to a Wisconsin college or university this fall and are relying on federal financial aid to help you, it is critical that you understand how the choices you make can impact your financial aid eligibility.

Sometimes, students who leave home for the first time find themselves experimenting with alcohol or drugs, but if you experiment with drugs and the authorities catch and charge you with a drug-related crime, a subsequent conviction could mean the end of your financial aid.

Report: Midwest seeing increased meth use

It appears that meth use may be on the rise in the Midwest.

Take the numbers from a recent report. The report looked at how common positive tests for meth were in job-related drug screenings in the Midwest. The report estimated that the number of such positive tests in the region has increased 167 percent between 2013 and 2017.

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