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Drunk Driving a Wheelchair September 17, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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Doesn’t this story just make my point that taking the keys from a drunk driver probably won’t stop the offender?  Jail time or prison takes the multiple drunk driver off the streets…that is really the only to guarantee a drunk driver won’t drive.  This guy had 4 prior convictions.   Cars or a wheelchair – the guy, for some reason, had to drive.

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Progress On Drunk Driving Laws? September 11, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I’m hopeful that this story from the Badger Herald isn’t just wishful thinking!  It appears that both Republicans and Democrats are making headway to strengthen Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws.  As you probably know Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws are among the most lax in the United States.

According to the article:

Some of the changes put forth in the bills include requiring repeat offenders to have an ignition interlock on their car, increasing minimum fines and time of imprisonment, and allowing multiple offenders to pursue alcohol treatment with parole instead of being sentenced to time in prison.

Now, I’m not sure about the details especially the part about “increasing the time of imprisonment” but at the same time allowing multiple offenders to “pursue alcohol treatment” instead of time in prison.

I’ll keep you updated.

Update On Efficacy of Drunk Driving Laws October 29, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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Mike and Sean commented on my earlier drunk driving post.  They asked whether stiff drunk driving laws reduce accidents and injuries.  Good question.  I did my usual google search and found a study that dates way back to 1987.   It was a Purdue University study that found that drunk driving accidents decreased by 20% after stiffer laws were enacted.  But, the number of hit and run accidents increased by 8%. 

I’ll keep looking for a recent statistic.  If you find one please comment!

Thanks for the comments!

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Marinette, Milwaukee, Milton and Wauwatosa.

Series on Drunk Driving October 22, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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If you haven’t read the Journal Sentinel these past few days you are missing out on a good five part series on drinking in Wisconsin.

Tuesday’s article talked about Wisconsin’s lax drunk driving laws.  You can get a sense of my opinion on this topic by checking out my tag cloud over on the bottom right of my blog. 

Listen to this.  I hope you are as shocked as 

In 1999, the maximum penalty for a fifth offense translated to 40 months in prison.  After that, it changed to a three-year prison term with the possibility of three more years for those who break the law again.  But in Milwaukee County, no five-time drunken driver received the maximum, the Journal Sentinel found.

So, if a 5 time drunk driver doesn’t get the maximum then who will?  The reports talks about how sentencing varied widely between judges.  In short some judges are more liberal and some are more conservative when it comes to sentencing. 

I don’t want to cut and past the entire article here.   I hope you’ll read it and keep pressure on our legislators to make a change in the right direction.  

http://www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Marinette, Milwaukee, Milton and Wauwatosa.

Editorial on Drunk Driving October 6, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Mike Nichols wrote an editorial last Saturday about drunk driving.  It was kind of a follow up to his story on the collision Cimermancic caused.

I agree with the jist of Mike’s editorial:  Drunk drivers in Wisconsin get way too many chances to get back in their cars, drunk, and endanger the rest of us. 

http://www.jonpgroth.com

Update on Cimermancic September 30, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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A while ago I posted about a young man who had a long history of Operating After Revocation and drunk driving.  While driving drunk (BAC .168) he drove the wrong way on the highway and hit my client head on. 

He was sentenced by Judge Mac Davis last week, September 26, 2008.  The sentence included one year in jail with work release privileges and 5 years probation.

The Journal Sentinel sent a reporter to the sentencing hearing:

Driver gets one year in wrong-way crash

Waukesha — A Richfield man who was intoxicated on Jan. 8 when he drove the wrong way on Highway 41/45 and collided head-on with another vehicle, seriously injuring the driver of that car, has been sentenced to one year in jail with work release privileges.

John D. Cimermancic, 26, pleaded guilty in July to injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and was sentenced Friday by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis.

According to the criminal complaint, the crash occurred about 11:40 p.m. Jan. 8 on Highway 41/45 at County Line Road in Menomonee Falls.

Two vehicles crashed head-on in the northbound lanes of the highway.

What the Journal Sentinel didn’t report was some outrageous comments by John Cimermancic’s attorney.   This attorney said he didn’t believe that prison does much as a deterrent.  I just don’t get this comment.  Look at Mark Benson for example.  He wasn’t supposed to be on the road.  His license was revoked.  That didn’t stop him from driving?   If he was in prison would we be talking about how he killed a mother and her kids? 

The same goes for this case.  John Cimermancic should NOT have been on the road.  He didn’t have a license and didn’t own a car.  He borrowed his girlfriend’s car and got drunk and drove the wrong way on the highway.  Prison is a deterrent in the sense that it takes a multiple drunk driver off of the road.  That in itself deters drunk driving.  It should be said that in September of 2007 John Cimermancic was charged with drunk driving.

Judge Davis was thoughtful and, at least it appeared to me, that he was concerned about the victim in this case.  He said that impact on the victim is very substantial and that nothing we can do will make the victim whole.  Judge Davis disagreed with Cimermancic’s attorney, saying there is more protection of the public if the defendant is in prison. 

But Judge Davis points out, if Cimermancic is out working there is the potential for the victim to be compensated sooner rather than later.   

Cimermancic is now a felon.  He can’t vote.  Can’t own a gun.  Must maintain sobriety.  Must attend AA or some other program.  Must maintain full time employment.  Loses his driver’s license for 2 years.  And he must pay restitution starting immediately.

As a father I feel badly for the family of the John Cimermancic.  He was pretty badly injured also.  He is an Iraq war veteran.  He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   According to Judge Davis he has a better chance of successful rehabilitation because of his family support. 

All in all this is a terrible situation. Was the Judge’s decision on sentencing correct?  Let me think about it.  Ask me when my kids turn 16. I’m sure I’ll have a different opinion then.  

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Kansasville, Marinette, Milton and Wauwatosa.

Who’s Driving Drunk In Sheboygan, WI? August 8, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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A lot of personal injury law is investigating the facts of a collision.  We’ve come across this useful website that identifies drunk drivers in the Sheboygan, Wisconsin area.

It’s presented by the Sheboygan Press.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Sheboygan, Slinger, Pleasant Prairie and Wauwatosa.

And the bond goes to the victim. July 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Where does a bond go?  When someone charged with criminal activity posts bond what happens to the money?

According to Section 969.13(5) of the Wisconsin Statutes when a defendant posts a bond that amount of money shall go first to the victim of the crime.  For example, when a drunk driver injures someone and is charged with a crime the money he/she posts as bond must be saved by the court to pay to the victim as a form of restitution.  Sounds like a good use of the money to me.

If you are the victim of a crime be sure to ask the victim witness advocate working on your case to keep you informed about the status of the bond. 

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Kenosha, Crivitz, Sheboygan and Wauwatosa.

Hurray for Tony Staskunas of West Allis, WI. June 12, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Groth.
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I like Tony.  He was opposing counsel in an estate dispute a number of years ago.  He is one of Wisconsin’s Legislators that has a “full time” job besides his job representing West Allis and surrounding areas in Madison.

But now I like him even more.  He is one of 5 Wisconsin Legislators who have proposed making 1st time drunk drivers subject to an interlock device.   An ignition interlock system makes a driver blow into a tube to check their blood alcohol content before they are able to drive. Good job Tony Staskunas. 

I hope that the drunk drivers are the ones that pay for these devices and NOT the rest of us. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states that he proposes that the maker of the interlock systems be forced to set up a fund to pay for the drivers who can’t pay for it themselves.   Why penalize the makers of the companies? The drivers should be the ones penalized.  Again, why not put them in prison or work release (working somewhere where they don’t have to drive obviously) until they pay for the interlock system.  When they pay for it they can join the rest of free society.

Just my two cents.

www.jonpgroth.com

 

Sooner Would Be Better! May 29, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth.
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Just in case anyone didn’t really believe Wisconsin’s laws are inadequate regarding multiple drunk driving offenses check this out

The Sheboygan Pressreports that a man was recently convicted of his 10th drunk driving offense.  Now this won’t make the headlines like the Doctor Mark Benson case from Waukesha.  But, I hope some state legislator is taking notes and educates the rest about our flimsy drunken driving laws.  It’s a fact, people are going to continue to be injured and killed by drunk drivers unless these drivers are taken off the roads. 

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Waukesha, Beaver Dam,  Wauwatosa and Wausaukee.