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What is the legal alcohol limit for drivers under age 21?

When discussing drunk driving charges, people often talk about the so-called legal limit. This term is misleading in several ways, and totally out of place when discussing drivers under age 21. Under Wisconsin law, people younger than 21 may not legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.

For drivers 21 and older, the so-called legal limit refers to a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08%. When police pull over a driver on suspicion of drunk driving, they typically ask the person to perform a road sobriety test in which they must walk a straight line, stand on one leg and perform other simple acts of coordination or balance. After this, they often ask drivers to submit to a BAC test, usually through a chemical breath analysis device.

How federal and state marijuana charges can differ

Despite the continuous conversation around legalization, marijuana remains illegal under both U.S. law and Wisconsin law. The thresholds and penalties outlined in federal and state law, however, are different.

That means an individual charged with a marijuana-related crime by Wisconsin authorities will likely be facing a completely different type of case than if the charges had come from the federal government. How significant might the differences be? Here is a brief overview.

Brothers charged in alleged massive THC vaping operation

The news this summer has been filled with alarming reports about people contracting lung disease after using vaping devices to smoke tobacco or marijuana products. At least seven people around the country are reported to have died, and public health officials still are not sure what is causing the problem. No deaths have yet been reported in Wisconsin.

Several state governments have moved to restrict the sales of flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, and the White House has indicated it may support banning some of the products altogether.

State law still tough for "Romeo and Juliet"

The authorities in every state agree that minors cannot legally consent to sexual activity, and therefore any sexual activity between an adult and a minor is statutory rape. Beyond that baseline however, the states vary widely in how their laws deal with the issues involved, and sometimes these laws change over time.

One area where Wisconsin law has changed recently is in the way it treats relationships between a minor and a young adult when they are close in age. Last year, the state enacted a law designed to somewhat roll back what critics said was an overly harsh treatment of these "Romeo and Juliet" relationships.

First alleged space crime under investigation

What may be the first crime committed in space is under investigation. Federal authorities are investigating whether US Army astronaut Lt. Col. Anne McClain committed federal fraud charges for accessing her estranged wife's bank account during McClain's six-month tour on the International Space Station.

Her estranged wife, former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, questioned how McClain could mention specific purchases during arguments. At her request, Worden's bank confirmed that her account was accessed with credentials inputted on a computer network that was registered to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She then filed a complaint against McClain with the Federal Trade Commission. Worden alleged that McClain committed identity theft while she was in space, even though McClain did not tamper with any of the bank funds. Worden said that the FTC did not respond to her identify theft complaint, but investigators were gaining access to her family's complaint to NASA.

High school students face sexting enforcement

Police officers were called to Pewaukee High School in southeast Wisconsin at least once a week over the last few years because of alleged "sexting" among students. However, the state does not have laws addressing these types of sex offenses and, as a result, the Village of Pewaukee adopted an ordinance to combat this behavior.

Sexting usually occurs between two consensual people. However, relationships end and one of students in that relationship may share that sexually explicit photograph with other people. The high school in Waukesha County has 800 students. Police were routinely called to deal with teenagers transmitting explicit images of students. According to local police, the volume of calls put a strain on their resources.

College sex assault charges are defended on different fronts

Sexual assault charges are usually pursued in a criminal trial court. But, as colleges deal more with sexual assault or harassment allegations, a legal defense against sex offenses must go beyond criminal law. Charges against a high-profile former Wisconsin Badgers football player has involved Title IX and campus legal procedures.

The 21-year-old athlete will be tried in Madison on charges that he sexually assaulted two students in April of 2018. On August 20, he was charged with one felony count of second-degree sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and another felony count of third-degree sexual assault. He may argue that the sex was consensual and that the victims were not intoxicated, as they claimed.

Synthetic fraud crime under surveillance

The growing interconnectivity in our economy and new technology has led to expanded federal law enforcement activities. The Federal Reserve recently issued a whitepaper discussing synthetic identify fraud and identified it as the most rapidly growing type of crime in the United States.

Experts estimate that synthetic identity fraud is the most rapid growing type of financial crime in this country. But, it is difficult to detect. It is often unreported because its victims are children, the elderly, the homeless and others who are less likely to seek access to their credit information and discover this fraud. This offense occurs when synthetic identities are created by combining valid information about consumers with fake information. For example, a real Social Security number may be combined with a fake address or birth date.

Top five computer crimes

Any illegal activity that is conducted through digital technology is a computer crime, often known as cybercrime. Computer crimes pose a growing threat to Americans. Last year, over 70% of U.S. citizens said they were afraid they could become a victim of cybercrime. Nearly 30% of citizens said that they had already been affected by data breaches.

In order to protect your data, you should know the top five most common cybercrimes.

Supreme Court allows blood test from unconscious DUI suspect

Police do not have an unlimited right to use testing procedures on suspected drunk drivers. There are constitutional protections against invalid or unlawful tests. However, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling in June that allowed Sheboygan, Wisconsin police to administer a blood test to a driver while he was unconscious.

Sheboygan Police received a report that the suspect appeared to be very drunk and drove away in a van. They later located him wandering around a lake and appearing drunk. He exceeded Wisconsin's legal limit by three times in a field sobriety test and was taken to a police station for a blood test and breathalyzer. He lost consciousness at the station before the tests were administered. Police took him to a hospital and administered a blood test without obtaining a warrant. It resulted in a blood alcohol content of 0.222 percent around 90 minutes after his arrest.

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Kirk Obear, Attorney at Law
603 South 8th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081

Phone: 920-395-3004
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