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Why McCarthy Law Office? When you need a lawyer, you need the best. For 25 years Scott McCarthy has helped people with family issues, litigate contract disputes, recover losses from injury and wrongful death and manage their mistakes. He is an experienced attorney who knows the system.  He has the passion, breadth of experience and knowledge, that gives his clients their best possible results. Scott has a reputation for sharp, honest evaluations, calling people back promptly, being on time to meetings and court appearances, meticulous preparation for trial and his desire to see their case through so his client's lives can continue on their best possible course forward.

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Crimes and Fines

Every so often while perusing our state laws, I find some statutes that are interesting. In Wisconsin, there are two classifications of crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. A crime is conduct which is prohibited by state law and is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both. An activity which is prohibited by state law but is only punishable by a forfeiture is not a crime. However, it can still hurt the pocketbook. A felony is a crime which is punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin State prisons. Every other crime not punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin State Prison System is a misdemeanor. Generally speaking, the punishment for felonies involve potential incarceration in excess of one year while misdemeanors involve incarceration of less than one year.

At any rate, here are some prohibited acts you may find interesting.

  1. It is illegal to carry or display a toy gun in a manner that could reasonably be expected to alarm or intimidate another person.
  2. There is a specific statute making it illegal to remove a shopping cart from its shopping area or parking area.
  3. It is a felony to possess a Molotov cocktail.
  4. It is a felony to loan money to somebody with the understanding that violence will be used if timely re-payment is not made.
  5. It is a felony to commit adultery.
  6. It is a misdemeanor to make a bet.
  7. It is a misdemeanor to refuse to aid a police officer, upon command, without a reasonable excuse.
  8. It is illegal to make a false complaint regarding the conduct of a law enforcement officer.
  9. It is illegal to tattoo a child.
  10. It is illegal to charge money for the use of a bathroom.
  11. It is illegal to use a fluoroscopic or X-ray machine for the purpose of shoe fitting.


I got a call the other day from someone who was asking me to start writing my •law notes• article again. I was so excited, that I tape recorded the conversation. Now, anybody who actually believes I recorded a telephone conversation as just described would probably also believe that Doug Welch is still a good softball player. However, it does pose an interesting question.

Is it illegal to record a telephone conversation?

The short answer is Yes and No. It is illegal and, in fact, a felony, to record two people who are having a conversation if they do not know the conversation is being recorded and thus do not consent to being recorded. However, it is not illegal for a person to tape record a conversation with another person if they are part of the conversation themselves. In other words, it is not illegal to tape record a conversation between yourself and another person. But, if you recorded a conversation between two other people without their knowledge, it would violate both state and federal law.

Wisconsin Statute 968.31(2)(c) states that it is not unlawful for a person to intercept a conversation •where the person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given consent to the interception . . . .

However, the admissibility of that conversation in a court proceeding is yet another question. If a person attempted to use that tape recording in Court, it would be inadmissible pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 885.365. However, if it were being offered into evidence solely to impeach the prior testimony of the recorded person, it may be allowed.

Sufficiently confused? Just read the statutes. Those 3,000 words are clear as day.