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When a house or business burns down, police will investigate the incident to determine what went wrong. Even if it was a complete accident, police will sometimes accuse a homeowner or business owner of setting a piece of property on fire just to collect the insurance money. In criminal law, this crime is not only referred to as insurance fraud, but it's also called "arson."

Arson is the deliberate act of setting property on fire. In many cases, arson is a part of insurance fraud allegations. However, it can also be committed as a part of a hate crime, or it could involve the setting on fire of forest lands. Arson is classified as a felony due to its capacity to hurt someone.

Arson crimes become more serious depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, setting fire to an occupied building versus setting fire to an unoccupied building represents starkly different severity levels.

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Individuals convicted of a felony in the state of Wisconsin are not permitted to possess a firearm. In fact, if you are convicted of firearm possession following a felony conviction, you will face stiff criminal punishments.

Wisconsin Act 109 establishes the penalties associated with firearm possession by a felon. However, before describing these penalties, it's important to understand who can and cannot possess a firearm in Wisconsin. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then you are not permitted to possess a firearm:

-- Have you had a prior felony conviction?

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The federal government has established laws that control what guns you can own and how you can use them. For example, the National Firearms Act (NFA), restricts the ownership of sawed-off shotguns, silencers and machine guns. Although people can still own these NFA weapons, there's a lot of red tape that needs to be taken care of in order to legally do so. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act also regulates firearms.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1994. This federal act offers nine primary disqualifiers for gun ownership. If any of the following is true for you, you're not permitted to own a handgun under federal law:

-- You have a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction on your record.

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Weapons crimes are not crimes that states take lightly. People are often hurt when a person has been accused of committing weapons crimes, and there is often a harsh punishment if there is a conviction. In some cases, the crime is even escalated to a more serious crime. One example of this is when an assault charge is turned into aggravated assault.

The following factors will determine if assault should be considered aggravated assault:

  • Status of the assaulted party.
  • Intent of the person who committed the assault.
  • Presence and use of a weapon during the assault.
  • Degree of injury that has been caused to the assaulted party.

This is a serious charge and you may face severe consequences if convicted. When a person has been accused of aggravated assault, there is a chance that the crime will be considered a felony. In this case, the consequences for the crime could be harsh. However, depending on the degree of the assault, it is possible that the crime will be considered a misdemeanor and will carry a lesser sentence.

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Organized retail crime (or “ORC”) is a type of crime that involves multiple actors. It appears that some people have realized that certain retail items are extremely valuable when they are sold on the street and have organized their efforts to hit stores in a coordinated fashion to maximize their bang for the criminal buck. These organizations are relatively new and only recently began attracting media attention. This post will go over ORCs and the potential consequences for people who are caught participating in them.

These are not “fly by the night” organizations. Many ORCs and their associated criminal enterprises can make millions of dollars a year reselling stolen goods. The initial thefts, the boosters, and fencers who eventually sell the products all stand to make major profits on sales of stolen goods.

The ORCs target a wide variety of goods from razors to milk. A favorite target is liquid Tide detergent for laundry which goes by the street name “liquid gold.” In fact, it is estimated that $37 billion a year is lost to retailers due to theft. These organizations are also quite large; a recent Tennessee investigation arrested 160 people and $30,000 in stolen merchandise.

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