Protect Your Rights in South Dakota DUI/DWI Cases

Have you been charged with a DUI/DWI in South Dakota? Consult with Wilka & Welter, LLP, highly experienced lawyers in Sioux Falls, and have their law firm represent you so that your rights are protected.

Why Wilka & Welter, LLP Offers the Best DUI/DWI Representation

There are serious consequences to DUI/DWI. If you have been charged in a DUI/DWI accident in Sioux Falls or elsewhere in South Dakota, there is no time to waste – it’s vital that you work with lawyers with experience in these types of cases. You potentially face loss of your driver’s license (and all the repercussions that can cause, including possible loss of your job), or even a jail sentence if convicted. Our lawyers in Sioux Falls provide a vigorous defense. They will help protect your rights as you face the prosecutor and criminal court, especially if the case involves personal injury that your actions may have inflicted on one or more victims in the accident.

DUI/DWI – A Serious Matter Requiring Experienced Lawyers in Sioux Falls, SD

DUI/DWI is a serious matter that must be addressed by highly competent attorneys who will work on your behalf. Wilka & Welter, LLP is also an experienced personal injury law firm, and knows the tactics prosecutors will try and use against you. Our firm offers you the expert representation you need. We invite you to review the biographies of our attorneys and note their experience. You can trust our firm to defend you in your DUI/DWI case.

Call Wilka & Welter today at 605-338-9711 for experienced DUI/DWI defense.

About Wilka & Welter, LLP

Wilka & Welter, LLP offers decades of legal knowledge, skill, and experience that will help you with aggressive representation and a case that is well-prepared to provide the best possible outcome for you. Whether you need sound legal representation in a personal injury case, divorce case, Social Security disability case, DUI/DWI, or other legal area, we encourage you to discuss your legal matter with our experienced trial attorneys.

Experienced Lawyers in Sioux Falls Provide Expert Wrongful Death Representation

Wilka & Welter, LLP offers citizens in South Dakota, including Sioux Falls, expert representation in wrongful death cases. The unexpected death of a loved one, especially due to another’s negligent or willful actions, can put one’s world into disarray. When one has suffered such a dramatic loss, it’s important to quickly seek counsel from a personal injury law firm that offers experience in these cases, which are often complex. Securing just compensation can be best accomplished when one works with attorneys who know all of the roadblocks and complexities that can occur in a wrongful death case.

According to South Dakota law, the at-fault party in a wrongful death case is responsible for your family’s economic damages. One may wonder what constitutes wrongful death, and Wilka & Welter, LLP summarizes it as:

  • Murder
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dangerous or toxic products
  • Dangerous premises
  • Work hazards
  • Vehicle accidents

In the most common wrongful death cases, an individual or individuals may have had a problem with a landlord over unsafe conditions, or been involved in car or motorcycle accidents. The compensation that the estate can qualify for can include burial expenses; financial support the decedent would have provided; medical expenses and more. It is vital that families who are the victims in wrongful death cases seek the expertise of legal counsel so the best case can be made for the most compensation awarded by the court.

Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

In South Dakota, only the individual handling the decedent’s estate may seek legal compensation. Wrongful death cases often require the estate to appoint a personal representative. When working with our lawyers in Sioux Falls, we can help our clients through this legal process.

The wrongful death of a loved one should not ruin a family’s financial future. Call 605-338-9711 to speak to Wilka & Welter, LLP in Sioux Falls, S.D., and receive expert legal representation.

Tips on Winning a Child Custody Battle

Don’t Let the Feud between You and Your Spouse Get in the Way

 

When in the mixt of a child-custody battle, it can be easy to let feelings get in the way of logic and clarity. The possibility of losing parental rights over a child sets the stakes very high, which is why looking like a respectable and honest parent is to be expected in court. Letting an existing feud between one’s spouse affect one’s comportment in court can jeopardize the outcome of a case. Acting civilly towards one’s ex, no matter how many jabs they throw one’s way can positively affect a judge’s ruling. Being able to keep one’s cool during a hectic situation are good qualities in a parent, ones that will surely be noticed.

 

Ask for an In-House Custody Visit

 

Events that occurred in the past can make it look as though a willing parent doesn’t have a suitable home for their child, but all that can change. By cleaning one’s act up and baby-proofing their home, a house that was once not suitable for children can become the opposite. Once a parent’s home is up to court standards, it is in their best interest to ask for an in-house custody visit. Should their living situation pass proper examination, this can make one look favorable in the eyes of the court.

 

Find Out Everything you Need to Know

 

Being well-versed in the custody-battle process and meeting important deadlines shows a parent’s dedication. Parents who present themselves in court without having consulted a family lawyer in Sioux Falls can come off as unserious about the dwellings of a case. Should they be misinformed about a certain process, causing court to be rescheduled, this parent can be subjected to fines and lose some major pointers with the judge. Hiring a family lawyer is of great importance, as it can solidify one’s chances of winning their child custody battle.

 

Don’t be Late to Any Child-Custody Visitations

 

During a child-custody battle, it is custom for a parent to still have visitation rights over their child — depending on how serious the case is. Should a parent have child-custody visitations scheduled, it is dire that they present themselves to these on time and in good spirits. Having a clean track record when it comes to child-custody visitations can make the court question if sole-custody is really in the child’s best interest.

 

Willingly Accept Drug Tests and Pass

 

Lastly, a parent is in a great position to win a child custody battle when they are willing to take a drug test. Passing this drug test shows the court that a parent can offer their child a safe home environment.

What is Hearsay?

Hearsay used in a courtroom is easily able to confuse one attempting to prove a case. While the definition may seem simple, the reality is a complicated matter. What is and is not allowed can be defined by a personal injury attorney in Sioux Falls. Hearsay is anything used as evidence in a courtroom based on something said by a third party outside of court. While this is generally not allowed, there are a number of exceptions to the rule which are allowed to be used.

 

Using Hearsay as Proof

The issue is not in the definition of the word, but in the exceptions which are allowed in a court of law. For one without legal representation, he or she may feel the evidence falls under one of these exceptions when in fact it does not. For these people, it is best to avoid it, especially if other evidence is available that fully proves the case. For those called to the witness stand, a statement made under oath may contain hearsay that is not allowed in court. If the party is planning on using the statement, it is best to go over it with a lawyer to determine if it will be allowed.

 

When Hearsay is Against the Person

If the person in court is facing hearsay as evidence against them, they may not know what to object to and what not to. If a lawyer is used, experienced counsel will have the ability to make sure any illegal uses are not considered as evidence. While hearsay could easily slip through with the complications of so many exceptions, the judgment of the lawyer can help prevent this from happening. This is only one of many reasons why experienced counsel is a bonus in court.

 

Types of Cases

Hearsay does not affect just one type of case. It can be part of criminal or civil cases and the laws remain the same. The type of case, however, may influence what exceptions are used. For example, state of mind exceptions may be proved to declare a person as an incompetent party or witness. This may be used in civil cases and divorce cases to show that the opposing party is unable to make positive decisions. This type can be used in a criminal case, to prove the intent of one to injure another.

 

The best way to prevent and use hearsay appropriately is knowing the law. Studying the possibilities and using them correctly will make court an easier process. As previously stated, legal counsel is a citizen’s best defense against this complex process. The experience will also create ease throughout the entire court proceedings. This makes the results much more favorable for the party involved, regardless of the type of case at hand.

Common Reasons to File a Worker’s Compensation Claim

When it comes to a worker’s compensation attorney, Sioux Falls residents might need to contact this type of professional for several reasons. If you are hurt on the job, this form of compensation might be needed to keep you afloat while you are recovering until you are able to get back to your job. Knowing some of the common reasons why people might file this type of claim can aid you in knowing if it is something that you might qualify for.

 

Overexertion

 

This might not be a job-related injury that you think about since so many adults are naturally overextended due to life responsibilities. However, this is actually related to your physical being and it happens when you either force a joint beyond its normal range or you pull a muscle. This is often seen in those working hard labor jobs, such as construction or in factories. It might also happen to police officers.

 

Falls

 

There are various falls that might happen when you are at the workplace. For example, you might slip on a damaged or wet floor, or you might fall to a lower level. For example, if you are working on a ladder, you could fall off and experience an injury. This is not uncommon among those working construction or in warehouses. Slip and fall injuries can happen in just about any work setting.

 

Struck By Object

 

If you are walking by a shelf and something falls off and hits you, this could result in a variety of injuries, ranging from minor bruising to a severe concussion, depending on the circumstances of the accident. This is common seen in retail workers and those working in a warehouse since there is the potential for items to tumble off of a shelf. In some cases, restaurant workers might also experience this, such as if they are putting glasses away and a rack falls.

 

Machinery Accidents

 

Even the most careful person is at risk for experiencing an injury when they are working with machinery. The slightest distraction or a malfunction with the equipment both make this type of accident possible and the injuries can be very serious, such as traumatic brain injury or losing a limb.

 

You can see that there are numerous reasons why someone might need to file a worker’s compensation claim. If you need assistance with your claim, are not sure if you qualify or are having difficulty with your employer, you might consider talking to a worker’s compensation attorney in Sioux Falls. They can guide you and make sure that you are being treated fairly throughout the process, so that you can focus on your recovery.

Possible Complications After Neck Surgery

The neck is the location of the cervical spine, so neck surgery usually involves this spinal region. Surgery is most often performed to treat an unstable cervical spine or a pinched nerve in the cervical spine. This surgery is performed in hopes of alleviating any numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness that the patient may be experiencing. Other goals of cervical spine surgery are to prevent or stop any motion in the cervical spine that is abnormal and to fully restore normal nerve function to any affected nerves.

 

This surgical procedure can cause complications and complications may occur as a result of this surgery, especially if mistakes are made by the healthcare staff. With an injury lawyer, Sioux Falls residents who might experience complications due to a surgical mistake can learn if they may have legal options.

 

Injury

 

Those undergoing neck surgery are at risk of having damage done to their spinal cord, vocal cords, nerves, carotid artery, or esophagus during the surgery. This complication does not happen often, but if it does it can cause serious problems. If the vocal cords are injured the patient may lose their ability to speak. If the esophagus is injured the patient may have difficulty swallowing. If the carotid artery is damaged the patient is at risk for severe bleeding. If the nerves or spine itself is injured the patient may become paralyzed or experience further and more severe pain.

 

Improper Healing

 

Many neck surgeries use hardware to correct any damage or injury to the cervical spine. This hardware includes plates, screws, and other similar items. In some patients these hardware items may not form properly into the vertebrae often leading to the need for an additional surgery. In some cases, this hardware can break as well. Another related complication is a non-healing spinal fusion. A fusion is a procedure in which two vertebrae are fused together. In some cases, this fusion will not stick often resulting in the need for an additional surgery.

 

Infection

 

Infection is always a risk when surgery is performed. This complication can affect any incisions made to perform the surgery. Patients who do not practice proper hygiene and wound care are at the highest risk for developing this complication. If an infection occurs, it can often be treated with antibiotics. However, if left untreated it can cause life-threatening problems including death.

 

Bone Graft Pain

 

Bone graft pain is a potential complication. In some cervical spine surgeries bone grafts (pieces of bone taken from other areas of the patient’s body or from a donor) are used to repair certain spinal abnormalities. Some patients will experience pain at the site of the bone graft after surgery and in some cases the pain can be intense. If pain occurs due to a bone graft an additional surgery may be required to try and eliminate the pain.

 

Now you know more about the possible complications that might occur with neck surgery. If any of these are associated with a medical mistake, you might consider talking to an injury lawyer in Sioux Falls.

5 Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer

“What is your experience in this field?”

 

When in need of a personal injury lawyer in Sioux Falls, it is crucial for an individual to do their research and equip themselves with the best possible lawyer. This is because, depending on the personal injury claim, one might not be in a position to win their case alone. When in the midst of hiring a lawyer, asking them about their experience in the field can be important. Since one wouldn’t want to work with someone who has never succeeded in a similar case, asking this question in advance is key. After speaking with a few lawyers, a plaintiff can be reunited with a lawyer who has fought and won many personal injury cases.

 

“What are your fees?”

 

When meeting a qualified lawyer, it can be important to ask about their fees well in advance. This can stop a person from setting their sights on a particular lawyer who is out of their budgetary reach. Most personal injury lawyers aren’t going to charge their clients until the case has been finalized. More often than not, a lawyer will collect their fees from their client’s winnings. However, should a case not be granted, paying these dues will still be required. Knowing how much money to keep aside in case one’s case results in a loss is crucial.

 

“What are the timelines for a personal injury case?”

 

Another very important question to ask a personal injury lawyer is how long the case will last once approved. Knowing this can give plaintiffs a timeline that they must live by. Should one’s injury have rendered them immobile, working will not be a possibility, and money can run tight. Having an idea of a personal injury case timeline can help a plaintiff budget in the meantime.

 

“How many cases are you handling besides mine?”

 

A very common question asked by plaintiffs is “Am I your only client at the moment?” Plaintiffs want to know that their lawyer is going to dedicate their time to their case, as winning can be an essential key to their survival. A lawyer who is swamped with cases might not be able to be at one’s service in times of need, which can scare off potential clients. However, not having any clients can cause a person to think their lawyer is unsuccessful.

 

“Can I contact anyone for references on your part?”

 

Individuals always feel better about hiring a professional after speaking to some of their past clients. By reading testimonials and emailing old clients for information, one can find a personal injury attorney that they can trust.

Illegal/Legal Possession in South Dakota

Laws come from two main sources, the legislature and the judiciary through court rulings
and opinions. When the legislature drafts a bill, and the governor signs that bill, the terms and
rules stated become the law. However, often times the interpretation of the law is called into
question due to the generality of the law and the specificity of the situation to which the law applies.
Illegal possession is one such law. With regard to the possession of illegal substances
or firearms, there are several codified law titles and chapters that contain the many laws within a
particular chapter. For purposes of this blog, we will look at South Dakota Codified Laws Title
22 “Crimes,” Chapter 42 “Controlled Substances and Marijuana.” Each Chapter usually starts
with a subsection entitled “Definition of terms.” These terms are used throughout the chapter
within the context of each law. The terms are as important as the laws themselves, because the
meaning of words changes the law.
Sometimes words that are important are not defined. Possession is not defined within
Chapter §22-42. So what does it mean to possess a controlled substance in South Dakota and
how is the term defined? Since the legislature chose not to include a definition, it has been up
to the courts to define possession. There are two types of possession, actual physical possession
and constructive possession. The courts have not taken much time to define actual possession
because it is fairly self-explanatory. If you have drugs on your person, you are in actual
physical possession. Constructive possession is more difficult.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a person is in constructive possession if they have
dominion or right of control over a substance with knowledge of its presence and character. For
example, if you are riding in a car and drugs are in the car, or at a house and drugs are in the
bathroom you can be charged as if you were in actual possession. This seems to solve the issue
if you are riding or living alone; however, what happens if there are more people involved?
In order to further define constructive possession, the Court has had to define “control.” There
are also two types of control. Exclusive control such as sole ownership of a car or home, or
joint control. If you are driving your friend’s car, or staying at someone else’s home, you are in
joint control. This distinction becomes important because of the knowledge requirement. If you
are in exclusive control of property, knowledge of what is in your car or home is inferred. You
know or should know that if there are drugs in your home, and thus you are in possession of
whatever is found therein. However, if you are in joint control, it is possible that you may not
know what is in the car; perhaps you borrowed it from a friend. In order to be in possession
when the premises is controlled jointly, the prosecution must establish your knowledge of the
presence of the drugs by proof. In order to prove you knew of the drugs and were in possession,
the state must either prove you actually knew, or the circumstances were such that would
allow a judge or jury to infer the knowledge. Such circumstances might be that you were caught
with other drugs or paraphernalia, how close you were to the drugs when they were found, or a
urinalysis that proves the drugs were ingested by you.
But what about legal drugs, such as a prescription? Although South Dakota law does
not specifically define who may possess prescription drugs other than the person to whom the
prescription was written, it does state the person who possesses the drugs must be an “ultimate
user.” SDCL §22-42-1(11) defines ultimate users as “a person who lawfully possesses a controlled
drug or substance for that person’s own use or for the use of a member of that person’s
household or for administration to an animal owned by that person or by a member of that person’s
household.” So you may pick up a prescription for your wife or child, assuming they are a
part of your household and you may lawfully possess that drug for the purpose of providing it to
the family member or pet.
When it comes to the law, words matter. The definition of words can mean the difference
between what is legal and illegal. No one situation is exactly like the next. That is why you
need the experience of the legal team at Wilka and Welter to define the law in your case.

Right to Privacy: The United States Postal Service

Chances are that you have heard of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and it’s interpretation to give all American citizens a Right to Privacy, but have you ever considered what privacy interests you have in your mail?  Or who protects the public from mail and packages from abuses such and the sending of drugs and other illegal items?  This web log looks into what rights you have in the privacy of your mail and how courts have decided when determining the extent of your fourth amendment rights

Although the Constitution does not explicitly include a “right to privacy,” that right has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include restraints from government intrusion on the liberties of American citizens.  The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and Article Six, Section Eleven of the South Dakota Constitution guarantee that “The right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  This protection was expand to letters and parcels sent through the United States Postal Service in 1878 in a case called Ex Parte Jackson.

When a person places a letter or parcel into the custody of the U.S Mail, that package then has the guarantee of privacy just as it would if it were secure in your home.  The United States Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the postal service.  It is the job of the Inspectors to defend the nation’s postal service against dangerous or illegal use.  Typically, the Inspectors work closely with local law enforcement to perform interdictions or watches.  If a package has “suspicious” characteristics, the Inspector will remove it from the stream of mail and examine it closer.

Courts have long wrestled with the question of what constitutes valid suspicion to justify an Inspector’s detention of mail.  Most often Inspectors are looking for drugs so some factors that are considered are express mailing services with high postage, hand-written labels with errors or scribbles, packages originating from drug source state’s such as California, heavily taped or perfumed packages to disguise smell and other anomalies that are atypical of normal mail.  If an Inspector suspects a package, he or she submits an affidavit to a federal court judge who may issue a warrant to search the package if probable cause is determined.  Usually a trained drug dog will be used to signal a possibility of drugs in the package and then the parcel may be opened to search.

If drugs or other illegal items are found, the Inspector will work with local law enforcement to perform a controlled delivery.  A detective will obtain what is called an anticipatory warrant from a county judge to search the premises, only after the package is delivered and received by the addressee.  The anticipatory warrant states what law enforcement are searching for with the idea that the illegal items in the package will be at the place and in the possession of the addressee following the delivery and that other illegal items or information could be found in their home.

Your mail has the same rights as you in your home.  The Constitution guarantees your mail from government intrusion.  If you or someone you know needs expert legal representation, call the lawyers at Wilka and Welter to make sure your rights are protected.

Filing Whiplash Claims in South Dakota

Car accidents can have many effects. Whiplash is just one of the ways that one may be harmed. Medical costs add up quickly for the one being treated. It is essential that medical treatment is received immediately following an accident, even if the person feels fine in the moment. Great consequences can arise if one decides to wait it out, thinking they will feel better later or it is just the shock of it all causing the pained feelings. This protects the one hurt by allowing the medical professional to provide the evidence if the party decides to make a claim.

 

Gathering Evidence

Any payments made to a medical professional will need to be backed up with a receipt. A person can not just give a ballpark estimate in hopes of receiving that money back. This evidence and any bills that are sent or received in the hospital will be used to prove the case. The person hurt will also need to keep any paperwork proving the severity of his or her condition. If it is unclear, they will need to prove that future doctor visits are a result of the accident.

 

Insurance Companies

One should not call the insurance company claiming to be hurt without medical evidence. An insurance company will find suspicion in a whiplash claim, especially since these are often abused by those looking for compensation without having been hurt. If the person plans on making a claim in court, the insurance company of the driver at fault will need to be contacted. This should be done in writing as soon as possible so the hurt party is able to be reimbursed as soon as possible for the bills acquired during a hospital stay.

 

Seeking Counsel

An injury lawyer in Sioux Falls should be contacted for whiplash claims for multiple reasons. The attorney will be able to assist with the process and paperwork involved in contacting the insurance company. If the company refuses the claim, the attorney will be able to help make a case and take on the insurance company with experience and knowledge. If the party at fault is without insurance, an attorney will be able to make sure the one hurt is still able to receive the reimbursement deserved.

 

When having someone to represent a whiplash claim, the experience the attorney has will also be able to find if any other compensation is appropriate. Finding a larger sum can help give the hurt person peace of mind when it comes to follow up appointments that happen in conjunction with whiplash. A person may not realize the length of time the injuries can cause issues within their life. If work is missed due to whiplash, the lawyer can determine if compensation is appropriate.