Sometimes all you need to navigate the legal landscape is a little information. Our blogs and articles touch on a wide spectrum of legal matters that can pop up in both business and everyday life, and we hope they’ll shed a little light wherever you happen to need it.

Snowmobiling Under the Influence

With all the snow in the Midwest, snowmobile traffic has increased and towns all over are seeing an influx in visitors from snowmobilers looking for fresh trails. While a snowmobile is often viewed as a fun “toy”, it’s also a motor vehicle and is subject to many of the same laws you would be expected to follow if you were driving a car.

One of the largest factors in fatal snowmobile crashes is alcohol. Alcohol and drugs have a negative effect on the driver’s vision, balance, coordination, and reaction time. A snowmobile can weigh over 600 pounds and travel at speeds exceeding 90 mph, so it’s important to have your wits about you.

Snowmobiling under the influence (SWI) laws and regulations are heavily enforced but citations can be avoided if you have the right information. Here are some of the commonly asked questions about snowmobiling laws.

Can I have alcohol on my snowmobile?

The open bottle law applies to motor vehicles-including snowmobiles-on public roads, regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion. The open bottle law prohibits both drivers and passengers from consuming or possessing an open container of alcohol in a vehicle that is on a public roadway or shoulder of a roadway that is not part of a designated snowmobile trail.

Do police enforce laws against snowmobile operators drinking? If so, how?

Police officers, conservation officers, state troopers, deputy sheriffs and other peace officers do enforce these laws. Law enforcement can stop, inspect, and test snowmobilers for sobriety in the same manner they do in roadside checks on state highways. These often include preliminary breath and field sobriety tests. Some states do not even require probable cause to do so.

Operators who are suspected to be impaired may be required to submit to tests by an enforcement officer to determine the presence of these substances. There is a separate additional criminal penalty for refusal to submit to these tests, and the person’s snowmobiling privileges may be suspended for one year upon refusal. SWI convictions and refusals are recorded on the violator’s driver’s license record and effect their driver’s license privileges.

It’s also important to understand the laws for the region where you are snowmobiling. For example, under Wisconsin law, by operating a snowmobile on areas open to the public, you have automatically consented to provide a sample of your breath, blood or urine to any officer who requests the test.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of an SWI are like those of a DWI. An operator who is found impaired or has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, can be charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony level DWI. People convicted of a misdemeanor could: be fined up to $1,000; sentenced to jail time; and/or suffer loss of snowmobile operating privileges for up to one year.

Additional penalties may apply if the person has any prior DWI convictions, has an alcohol concentration of twice the legal limit, or has a child under 16 years of age with them on the snowmobile. Penalties include: up to $3,000 fine with longer mandatory jail time; forfeiture of the snowmobile; if a person has 3 or more DWI convictions or revocations in the last 10 years, or has prior felony convictions, they can be sentenced to 3-7 years in jail, up to $14,000 fine, or both, and longer license revocations also could be imposed.

These convictions can further effect your snowmobile and car insurance rates, making you a more high risk driver if you are charged or convicted of a crime involving alcohol. If you are a commercial driver, the consequences could be devastating.

How can I avoid these charges?

First and foremost, avoid alcohol while operating your snowmobile. You can also avoid charges by knowing the area’s snowmobile laws and regulations, making sure everyone on your snowmobile follows the safety rules, and by taking courses on safe snowmobiling.

If you find yourself charged with an SWI, speaking with an attorney immediately is the best course of action. Questions about SWI or other traffic charges can be directed to our legal team here.

How to Spot a Customer in Distress-and What to Do Next

In times of economic stress, there is too much money on the line to not review your large projects for red flags. Failing to act quickly when a customer is in distress could cause you to lose some of the remedies available to you-and can leave large sums of money left behind.

Monitor for Red Flags:

  • Customer sells business or talks about selling business
  • Allegations of theft or embezzlement
  • Dismissal of key financial personnel
  • Problems covering payroll
  • Principal or 3rd party revokes personal guarantee
  • Any party in contract chain is having financial troubles-not paying, files bankruptcy, or is placed in receivership
  • Paying creditors on one project from proceeds from another
  • Not returning phone calls or emails
  • Not paying on time or paying in irregular amounts

Know Your Rights:

Knowing your rights means knowing what you are entitled to through your paperwork.

Be mindful of the following items:

  • Deadline to file a Mechanic’s Lien Claim
  • Deadline to file a Bond Claim
  • Deadline to initiate suit
  • Personal Guarantees
  • The terms & conditions of your contracts
  • The credit application
  • Suspension of performance

Simplify things with WFJ:

Lien deadlines and notice requirements vary by state, and not staying up-to-date on changes is a costly mistake most companies can’t afford. Staying in touch with your lien team (3rd party vendors, bankruptcy specialists, or the experienced attorneys at WFJ) and your local branches and offices can save you time and money in the long run.

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Travel Stress and Disruptions

These tips are from a LegalShield blog-previously posted on 11.21.2022.

In anticipation of flight delays, cancellations, and all the challenges that go with holiday travel, 19% of respondents in a recent survey are feeling “extremely” stressed. This is understandable as those who traveled during the previous holiday season experienced the following:

  • 62% had a delayed flight
  • 34% reported a flight cancellation
  • 34% were on an overbooked flight
  • 29% missed a connecting flight due to a delay
  • 26% lost baggage
  • More than half (53%) were able to make it to their destination but arrived late
  • 78% said it took as long as five hours to resolve the flight issue

Despite all the challenges they face, one-third of the survey respondents still do not know their legal rights from the airlines when they experience travel issues. Knowing your legal rights when traveling can make all the difference in terms of saving time and reducing stress. 38% said their stress level would improve if they had a dedicated advocate that could assist in case of flight disruptions.

LegalShield offers dedicated, affordable advocates who can provide legal assistance during travel. Once you experience a flight disruption, LegalShield shares four things to remember this holiday season:

  1. Stay calm. It’s easy to be flustered or frustrated when experiencing a delayed or canceled flight. Keep up to date on information from the airline, as they should provide constant communication with travelers and provide alternative transportation options.
  2. Keep track of the details. Take screenshots of app/SMS communications, photos of boarding passes and other helpful information. Track airline policies so there is a record of the experience and record waiting time.
  3. Consider not accepting vouchers. Before accepting a voucher, understand the rules and ask questions. In some instances, accepting a voucher will disqualify the traveler from receiving monetary compensation for the disruption.
  4. Talk to a lawyer about your travel rights. A lawyer is a dedicated advocate to help a traveler understand travel laws and rights. Through LegalShield, a member can text or call in the mobile app.

“Although a fun and festive time of the year, the holidays can be very stressful for those coordinating travel arrangements. It’s a financial and time investment and oftentimes, there are flight challenges out of our control,” said Keri Norris, Chief Legal Officer at LegalShield. “LegalShield exists to help people navigate these issues and ensure they are legally equipped to handle anything.”

This LegalShield study was conducted on October 8, 2022. LegalShield surveyed 812 adults, 18 and older, who live in the United States. The sample was balanced by age and race, among other demographic variables, according to the U.S. Census.

HR Trends for 2023

In our latest webinar, our employment attorneys reviewed the most recent changes to employment law in each of the 50 states. Here are some of the trends we noticed for 2023-


Hair Discrimination – Illinois: Illinois amended the state Human Rights Act. The Act prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination based on numerous protected characteristics, including race. This amendment expands the definition of “race” to include traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.

Wage Transparency – New York: New York City amends the city wage transparency provisions to clarify the positions for which a pay range must be provided. In addition to employers, 134-A specifies that employment agencies, and employees or agents thereof, must also include a salary range or hourly wage range in each advertised position, promotion, or transfer opportunity. Job advertisements for “temporary employment at temporary help firms” are still exempted from the law.

The new law also establishes a private right of action for employees. (Effective date to November 1, 2022.)

Rhode Island: Rhode Island prohibits wage discrimination; prohibits an employer from requesting or relying on an applicant’s wage history; requires an employer to provide a wage range for a position.

Washington: Requires employers to disclose hourly or salary compensation and a general description of benefits of postings for job openings.

Noncompete Limitations – Washington 2023 Non-Compete Enforceability Thresholds

Increases the amount an employee must earn to meet the non-compete enforceability threshold to account for inflation using the consumer price index.



Reproductive Health Decision-Making – Beginning January 1, 2023, California employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an applicant or an employee based on their reproductive health decision making— defined as “a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health.”

Employers will also be prohibited from requiring applicants or employees to disclose information relating to their reproductive health decision making.


Staying up to date on HR trends can help save your company headaches, hassle, and money in the long run. Follow Wagner, Falconer & Judd on LinkedIn to receive updates on ever-changing laws and regulations.

Reviewing Your Receivables for 2023

Closing out the year can be a hectic time. Implementing some of these tips in to your process could help clear pesky receivables from your ledger before the end of the year and help you breeze through year-end close next year:

  • Perform a close calendar walkthrough with all the key parties involved.
  • Prepare a reconciliation for every account, even accounts with no activity.
  • Prepare activity roll-forwards for accounts receivable and bad debt reserve, fixed assets, intangible assets, goodwill balances, etc.
  • Review your Aged Accounts Receivable report, try and collect from clients with 30-60 day past due accounts. These are most likely to pay quickly.
  • Check in with clients that possess 60-90 day past due accounts and make sure they have received all your communications about their debt.
  • Review uncollectible accounts and write-offs. Identify what went wrong to improve your process moving forward.


If you would like to clean up your collection process for 2023-the experienced attorneys at Wagner, Falconer & Judd are only a phone call away.


Keeping You Informed: Minimum Wage Increases for 2023

Perhaps not our most intriguing information share to date, but still equally important. Come the New Year, do you know which of your business states will be due for a minimum wage increase? If you answered no, then you’re in luck—below is a compiled list of all the US states with planned minimum wage increases to have on your radar. If your state is not listed, then this year you have one less policy to update.


  • Alaska
    • Minimum wage increases to $10.85
  • Arizona
    • Flagstaff minimum wage increases to $16.80
    • Tucson minimum wage increases to $13.50
  • California
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $15.50
  • Colorado
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $13.65
    • Denver minimum wage increases to $17.29
  • Connecticut
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $15.00
  • Delaware
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $11.75
  • Illinois
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $13.00
    • Chicago minimum wage increases to $15.00 for employers of 4 to 20 employees
  • Maine
    • Statewide minimum wage expected to increase to $13.80 based on the anticipated Consumer Price Index adjustment
    • Portland minimum wage increases to $14.00
    • Rockland minimum wage increases to $14.00
  • Maryland
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $13.25 for employers of 15 or more employees and $12.80 for employers of 14 or fewer employees
    • Howard County minimum wage increases to $15.00 for large employers (15 or more) and $13.25 for small employers (14 or fewer)
  • Massachusetts
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $15.00
  • Minnesota
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $10.59 for large employers (annual gross sales of $500,000 or more) and $8.63 for small employers (annual gross sales of less than $500,000)
    • Minneapolis minimum wage increases to $15.19 for employers with 100 or more employees
    • St Paul minimum wage increases to $15.19 for macro employers (those with more than 10,000 employees)
  • Missouri
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $12.00
  • Montana
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $9.95
  • Nebraska
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $10.50
  • New Jersey
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $14.13 for most employers (those with 7 or more employees) and $12.93 for small (those with 6 or fewer employees) and seasonal employers
  • New Mexico
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $12.00
    • Albuquerque minimum wage increases to $12.50
    • Las Cruces adopts the statewide minimum wage as of January 1, 2023
  • Ohio
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $10.10 for employers generally and remains at the federal minimum wage ($7.25) for businesses grossing less than $372,000 annually.
  • Rhode Island
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $13.00
  • South Dakota
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $10.80
  • Virginia
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $12.00
  • Washington
    • Statewide minimum wage increases to $15.74
    • City of SeaTac minimum wage increases to $19.06
    • Seattle:
      • $18.69, for employers of 501 or more employees.
      • $16.50, for employers of 500 or fewer employees that contribute at least $2.19 an hour to the individual employee’s medical benefits and/or the employee earns at least $2.19 an hour in tips.
      • $18.69, for non-qualifying small employers.


There is a dedicated team at Wagner, Falconer & Judd that can help you simplify your HR needs. Check out our Support Services options to see if we are a fit for you! 

The EEOC “Know Your Rights” Poster Got a Makeover, Making Filing Charges Easier

What’s going on with the EEOC? On October 19th 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released their new ‘Know Your Rights’ poster, which replaces and clarifies the historically required “EEO is the Law” poster. As with the original poster, covered employers are still required by federal law to prominently display the poster at their work locations. If unsure what spot could classify as “prominently displayed”, the EEOC states that posters should be placed in a conspicuous location in the workplace where notices to applicants and employees are normally posted. In addition to physically posting, employers are encouraged to post a digital notice on their employee websites in an obvious location. These two steps can help employers avoid any applicable fines for non-compliance.

Most employers are familiar with the EEOC poster and the laws it summarizes. Contained within we find summaries of federal laws prohibiting job discrimination, and the steps for filing a charge if an employee believes they have experienced discrimination. The poster shares information about discrimination based on:

  • Race, color, sex, national origin, religion,
  • age (40 and older),
  • Equal pay,
  • Disability,
  • Genetic information (including family medical history or genetic tests or services), and includes
  • Retaliation for filing a charge, reasonably opposing discrimination, or participating in a discrimination lawsuit, investigation, or proceeding.


So at this point you’re probably saying, “I knew all of that, what’s changed?” Most prominently added to the new ‘Know Your Rights’ poster is a familiar square that’s becoming more common in our fast-moving lives today. The square is a QR code, and it allows for applicants or employees to scan the QR code and be directed to instructions for how to file a charge of workplace discrimination with the EEOC. There is speculation that the increasing ease of filing a charge will correspondingly increase the number of employee EEOC charges.

Additional changes to the poster are intentional clarifications which could also lead to an increase in EEOC charges against employers. The clarifications include:

  • Use of straightforward language and formatting, such as bullet points;
  • Explanation that harassment is a prohibited form of discrimination;
  • Clarification that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy and related conditions;
  • Addition of language regarding sexual orientation and gender identity discriminations;
  • Inclusion of information about equal pay discrimination for federal contractors.

Why do we think this is important enough to share with you? Our thoughts echo those of EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows who said in a statement that “The new ‘Know Your Rights’ poster is a win-win for employers and workers alike. By using plain language and bullet points, the new poster makes it easier for employers to understand their legal responsibilities and for workers to understand their legal rights and how to contact EEOC for assistance.”

This is a good time for employers to ensure all required posters are being properly displayed and that employee handbooks and workplace policies are up to date an in compliance with recent changes to federal EEOC law. Also, employers should remember that in addition to using the QR code to file a charge with the EEOC, all of the original methods for filing a charge remain, including online via the EEOC Public Portal, in person at an EEOC Office, by telephone, at a State or local Fair Employment Practice Agency or by mail.


Follow Wagner, Falconer & Judd on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on news like this from our experienced Employment Law group.