Selling Marijuana versus Paraphernalia in Wisconsin

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the US. There have been studies that suggest its use is less harmful than that of alcohol and tobacco, which lend to its abuse. According to the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, 44% of all drug related crimes have to do with marijuana. Possessing drug paraphernalia, with or without intent to sell, is always a misdemeanor and has less severe consequences. Possession with intent to sell, or being caught selling the drug, is always a felony and has severe consequences. These cases affect a lot of lives every year, so it is important to be familiar with them and to know how to act.

Paraphernalia is defined as being any equipment, product, or material that can be used to make, use, or conceal drugs. This can include common household items such as plastic bags, spoons, measuring bowls and cups, and envelopes. However, charges are most often made against the possession of bongs. Possession of these items is always a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, but can still carry imprisonment time from 30 days to 9 months and fines from $500 to $10,000.

Selling marijuana, or having the intention to sell, is a serious offense in Wisconsin. The penalties vary based on the amount in possession. Penalties start at possessing 200 grams with a penalty of up to 3.5 years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines and go up to possessing more than 10,000 grams with a penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines. Even just being accused of intent to sell can lead to your driver’s license being suspended for up to 5 years. The possession of hash is treated identically to the possession of marijuana.

Whether you have been accused of the possession of paraphernalia or with the intent to sell the drug, the consequences can be serious and negatively affect your life and job outlook in the future.

Expunction for an Arrest

Criminal law is a funny thing, except that it is not really a laughing matter. A criminal record has a bad-penny way of cropping up to mess up a person’s life, and in some instances the record isn’t even for a conviction!

When a person is arrested, it creates an arrest record. That’s fine as far as that goes, but the thing is the arrest record does not go away even when the charges are dropped, dismissed, or not even made at all! There are instances when a person gets arrested for being mistaken for someone else, or for suspicion of doing something criminal but without enough evidence to sustain the arrest.

In such cases, you would think that the records will be automatically deleted or expunged because there was no basis for the arrest. Well, you would be wrong. In order to clear your record of even an arrest, you need to petition for expunction. And that is not as easy as it sounds.

It may seem like a small thing, but as pointed out at many finds that having a criminal record can impact on education, career, or financial opportunities. The presumption is that if you got arrested, although not convicted, there must have been a good reason for it.

To qualify for an expunction, you would have to satisfy a set of criteria and then only can you file what is called an ex parte petition in the county where you were arrested. That means that if you live in Houston but are arrested in Allen, you would have to file it in Collin County. You would have to go to a hearing after the details of the case has been verified, and the order of expunction is sent to the responsible state agency, which will then be required to get back all the files and records of the arrest. A petition for expunction can be appealed by the state. All in all, it’s a lot of work so it would be advisable to retain a criminal defense lawyer to undertake expunction for you.

Social Security Claims Denial

After a close friend of mine suffered a catastrophic, tragic injury in a car wreck, she became a quadriplegic. She lost her ability to work (she was a bartender) and has astronomical medical bills. After going through the arduous process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, her claim was denied despite her obvious disability and inability to work. It was an incredibly frustrating ordeal, but she appealed the denial and eventually landed her much-needed benefits. Being denied in your initial application for a disability benefit claim can be heartbreaking, but these cases are often appealed in court. Most disability claims often result in denials, and depending on the place where the victim lives (like at San Antonio, Texas) denial rates are nearly 65 percent, with first applications’ denial rate being 85 percent. Although it may not be necessary to have a lawyer when you request an appeal for your denied claim, it would be beneficial since they understand the system and know how to proceed. Generally, denial notices from the Social Security Administration will inform you of important information necessary to help you know how to go about requesting a Social Security appeal. First, the notice will contain the short explanation of your medical situation, the impairments/medical/non medical records which were all considered, and most especially the reason for the denial of the claim. If these notices did not come with a rationale detailing the reason for the denial, you can ask for them at the Social Security office so that you and your lawyer can review your claim. Some reasons why these claims are denied are because you may seem fit to perform other jobs that you had before the disability or medical explanations about your physical health which can still affect your employment options. Being denied of your Social Security disability claim does not mean you are fit to go to work or you are not disabled. Denials often occur because the Social Security Administration sees lack of medical evidence to support your claims. Generally, denied disability claims are frequent, they are often appealed and are more prone to having successful results than having to reapply again. The sooner you appeal a denied Social Security claim, the faster you will have you disability claim approved.

What You Should Know: Sources for Long Term Disability Benefits

You never think it is going to happen to you, but when long-term disability strikes it can be devastating. It would be irresponsible to yourself and your family not to be prepared for this possibility, because it can happen at any time. It could be due to a work-related injury, as a result of an accident, or because of a disease or medical condition. At the very least you should know what the possible sources for claiming long-term disability benefits are and what you can expect.


Most larger companies have some type of long term disability insurance as part of their employee benefits, although it is not required by law. When it is offered, it is usually regulated by the rules laid down by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA.

Workers’ compensation

When the cause of a disability is work-related, then you may be able to claim disability benefits from your workers’ compensation insurance, which many employers are required by law to provide. It applies for both short- and long-term disability as well as partial and total disability.

Social Security

You may also make a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as well as  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in some cases. However, only those who require in-home or residential health care are eligible for SSI. SSDI and SSI payouts will depend on the living situation of the claimant, their disability, and their work history. However, it is important to note that it can take a long time for a claim to be approved at both the federal and state levels.

These sources of financial assistance for long-term disability are not mutually exclusive, so you may be able to receive benefits from one or more of them. Because making a claim for long-term disability can be complicated and tedious, it is usually a good idea to get some assistance when filing a claim or disputing a denial.

Marked for Life

Most people accumulate minor scars in the course of their childhood and while they may occasionally be unsightly, they are usually unnoticeable. However, there are times when an injury is severe enough to leave scars that are disfiguring. In a society that values regular features and smooth skin, scars can have a deep psychological impact on an affected individual, lowering self-esteem and promoting humiliation.

Aside from the aesthetic aspect, scars can also lead to limited mobility and function. Burn accidents can twist limbs, fuse fingers, and damage tendons necessary for both macro and micro movements. Compound fractures can also impede a person’s ability to walk normally or have a full range of motion even when fully healed due to scar formation on bones, tendons and joints. These types of severe injury and scarring may require multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy to correct, and even then function is seldom fully restored.

Such accidents do happen, and it is unfortunate. But when it occurs because of someone’s negligence, then it becomes doubly horrific, because in all probability it was preventable. Some of the most common causes of scarring include:

  • Work accidents
  • Surgical error
  • Automobile accidents
  • Defective products
  • Electrical or chemical fires

Even when victims of these types of third-party negligence survive their ordeal, they are marked for life. Such reckless conduct must be punished by making the responsible party pay for the harm they had done. A personal injury lawyer can address these issues by bringing your claim to civil court to sue for both economic compensation (present and future loss of income, medical expenses, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain, suffering, psychological and emotional distress) appropriate to your case. While nothing can erase the pain and suffering that individuals have endured from a scarring or broken bone injury, pursuing a lawsuit can help provide the financial compensation necessary to pursue recovery.

4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Like It

If I know anyone who’s a picky eater, I’d definitely have to say it’s my son. Typically, if something is good for Tommy, he doesn’t want to eat it. Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon ways to get him more excited about and involved in mealtimes. If your kids are picky eaters like mine, try some of these ideas to get them to enjoy eating healthy.

One of the best ways to get a kid to eat something is to let them help you prepare it. Even if they do something as simple as adding a sauce or cracking an egg, that minimal involvement in the process of making a meal is often enough to get them excited about eating it.

eating healthy

You can also make fruits and veggies, foods that kids are notorious for rejecting, more appealing by adding a slight amount of sugar to them. They say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and that holds for veggies as well. Using dipping sauces is also incredibly helpful. Try using salsas or hummus to expose your kids to different kinds of foods and the wonderful world of dips and condiments. As a kid, I absolutely hated carrots, but when my mom offered them up with a little bit of ranch dip, I couldn’t turn them away.

In the same vein as adding condiments to foods they don’t like, you can also add these foods into those that they do. For example, adding onions to a meatloaf or including vegetables in a pasta can get your kids to eat their veggies without even realizing what they’ve done.

Kids are often afraid of new foods, so introduce them slowly. Talk with your kids to find out what they like and why. This can help you decide which foods to try to add to their diet, which can widen their acceptance of other foods, even those they’ve previously rejected.

Remember that some people simply don’t like certain foods, so don’t take it as a defeat when some of these ideas fail. Just know that your child’s tastes may one day change, and they may one day grow to love those healthy foods that they once resisted.

A Family Decision: Child Custody Options

The decision regarding custody of children is perhaps the hardest one to make when the parents are not willing or unable to come to an agreement. In most states, the judge must decide where the best interest of the child or children lie, and that involves a myriad of factors especially since the mother is no longer given automatic custody for young children.

The court infinitely prefers that the parents make their own arrangements for custody and visitations. When this does not happen, the judge will then appoint a mediator who will attempt to get the parents together long enough to come to an agreement. Failing that, the parents will be subjected to a Judicial Custody Conference where the judge will discuss the case again. If no resolution is reached at this point, the judge will order an Assessment, and based on the results of this in-depth process, the judge will decide on custody and visitation issues.

Types of custody

There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody is the right to make decisions concerning a child’s well being, such as education and health matters. Physical custody is the actual residence of the child with one parent. There are four combinations of custody: sole legal custody, joint legal custody, sole physical custody and joint legal custody. One parent can have both sole legal and physical custody; alternatively, one parent can have sole legal custody while the other parent has sole physical custody, and so on. In most cases, one parent has sole physical custody but both parents share legal custody.

Too often, the conflict in child custody is not so much consideration for what is in the best interests of the child but the desire of parents to exercise control, making it necessary for legal professionals to help a couple reach an agreement on custody.

Stressing Over Overtime?

Most states do not have their own rules and regulations governing overtime pay. Instead, the regulations imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply. What does this mean for overtime claims in individual states?

This fact actually makes it less complicated for overtime claims to be made. Under the FLSA, employees are divided into non-exempt and exempt employees. Non-exempt employees are paid 1.5 times their hourly wage as overtime for all hours they work over and above 40 hours a week. The FLSA supersedes any company rule or policy which prohibits the rendering of overtime, or requires prior approval for overtime work. If a non-exempt employee does work beyond the 40 hours a week, he or she is entitled to overtime pay. It should be noted that the FLSA rules on non-exempt employees apply only to “white-collar” or office-based employees. Other types of employees are governed by different state or federal statutes, whichever applies.

Exempt employees are those whose job description and/or wage level renders them ineligible to receive overtime pay. These employees are not entitled to overtime pay because the nature of their work is considered a salaried (monthly-basis) position rather than on an hourly wage. In consequence, they are also exempt from certain rules that govern employees paid by the hour. Employees who fall under this category include:

  • Executives
  • Administrators
  • Professionals
  • Outside sales employees
  • Some computer-related employees
  • Highly compensated employees (annual compensation of $100,000 or more)
  • Blue Collar Workers
  • Police
  • Fire Fighters
  • Paramedics
  • Other First Responders

There are specific criteria for these FLSA exemptions, but can sometimes vary based on an individual’s position and job description. Fortunately, individuals who have been denied the fair and full compensation they have worked for may be able to take action against their employers to recover unpaid overtime wages.

Listeria-Contaminated Meat Recalled

Louisiana meat packing company Manda Fine Meats issued a massive recall of its products yesterday, a first in the company’s 65-year history, after learning that its products may be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can have life-threatening effects on humans.

The recall affects over 230 tons of meat, including turkey, pastrami, roast beef, ham, and corned beef. These products were distributed across a huge area that includes Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Georgia.

meat recallThe company is offering cash refunds to individuals who bought recalled meats and encourages customers to return the meats to the stores where they were purchased. Potentially affected meats will have a sell-by date on the packaging between May 13, 2013 and July 2, 2013.

Listeria is a bacteria that can cause headaches, muscle aches, confusion, and loss of balance. Infections are most likely to appear in pregnant women or those whose immune systems are compromised.

Remember to keep your eyes open for food recalls, since using contaminated ingredients in your cooking is a recipe for disaster!


Botox: Killer or Fountain of Youth?

The answer is: both. Botox is formulated from a neurotoxin (specifically botulinum toxin A) produced by Clostridium botulinum. When ingested in food, such as improperly handled meat, the toxin leads to a condition called botulism, which in serious cases leads to respiratory failure in humans and animals. The first sign of botulism is paralysis of the facial muscles, which is precisely the effect of Botox injections, but in a controlled way.

The therapeutic uses of Botox have been well-established since the 1960s. The use of Botox as a cosmetic treatment, however, only received US Food and Drug Administration approval in 2002. Other medical applications received FDA approval in 1989. The most common usage for Botox includes treatment of:

  • Blepharospasm
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Severe underarm sweating
  • Strabismus
  • Wrinkles
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)

As mentioned earlier, Botox is a neurotoxin that paralyzes specific muscles or blocks neurotransmission, but the effects are usually temporary. Treatments are effective for up to four months in some cases, such as wrinkle removal, and require regular applications.

The rationale behind Botox is relatively simple: prevention of certain muscles from moving. Wrinkles develop through the regular contraction of certain muscles that become more pronounced with age and loss of skin elasticity. What Botox does is to paralyze the muscles in the forehead, for example, to keep them moving and continually creasing the skin. Over time with regular treatment, the depth of the wrinkles will decrease. Any remaining creases can be smoothened out using “fillers.”

The application of Botox may seem like a simple enough procedure, but it is best administered by a medical doctor specializing in cosmetic procedures or a dermatologist. There are cases when complications may arise. Botox is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, those on blood-thinning medication or certain food supplements, and those with Lou Gehrig’s disease.