Many people who have been convicted of a crime mistakenly believe they can resume their normal lives after “doing their time.” However, many people find that the collateral consequences of criminal conviction significantly outweigh the direct penalties of the crime. For example, the inability to find stable employment and housing often leads to financial strain, and convicted offenders seldom qualify for public assistance, loan deferral programs, or private financing. These factors frequently keep people from pursuing educational opportunities, moving out of a challenging home environment, starting a new career, or otherwise moving forward with their lives.
The Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh defense lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff can often use their criminal law experience to help clients eliminate or minimize the collateral consequences of felony or misdemeanor convictions. Consider scheduling a free and confidential consultation with a Hogan Eickhoff by calling our Appleton office today at (920) 450-9800 or connecting with us online.
Be Proactive. Consider the Unanticipated & Indirect Consequence of a Criminal Conviction in Outagamie County
Judges encourage criminal defendants to accept responsibility for their actions by pleading guilty. In addition, local prosecutors may offer the accused a seemingly beneficial plea deals in exchange for a guilty plea. Defendants may agree to attend rehab, pay fines, and make financial restitution to any victims to avoid jail. However, they may not anticipate triggering hidden provisions in their employment contracts resulting in immediate termination upon conviction. Always consider speaking with qualified criminal defense counsel about the following collateral consequences commonly associated with Wisconsin felony convictions:
- Lost employment and/or professional licensures (M.D., J.D., R.N.)
- Suspended or revoked CDL or personal driver’s license
- Difficulty obtaining new employment
- Ineligibility for student aid, housing, or private education loans
- Inability to obtain a mortgage or get approved for an apartment
- Loss of child custody
- Temporary loss of voting rights
- Disqualification for certain public benefits, including financial assistance and housing programs
- Loss of immigration status and deportation
- Interstate and international travel restrictions
- Inability to own or obtain firearms
- Residential restrictions for sexual offenders
The unexpected secondary consequences of felony and misdemeanor convictions often contribute to recidivism in Wisconsin. Offenders may struggle to provide for their families while complying with court-mandated counseling, supervision, and job restrictions. While private defense counsel could work with clients to petition for post-conviction relief, minimizing the collateral consequences of crime often means taking action before judges finalize a conviction. A felony defense attorney might work with prosecutors to negotiate a favorable plea bargain, ask courts to defer entry of a guilty plea, or otherwise help families secure their housing and employment situations before the official sentencing. The right criminal lawyers consider their clients’ complete needs before, during, and after conviction.
Avoiding Conflicting Provisions in Brown County Sentencing Orders
Wisconsin judges have substantial discretion when structuring sentencing orders. In addition to the penalties outlined in §§ 939.50 though 939.75 of Wisconsin’s criminal statutes– imprisonment, fines, and supervision – courts might impose certain supplemental restrictions. These could include revoking a driver’s license, mandating drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or setting community service hours. While these sentencing add-ons might seem inconsequential, they may result in unanticipated personal and professional problems. Losing a license, completing volunteer hours, and attending weekly counseling could interfere with an offender’s ability to maintain stable employment and, as such, make necessary child support payments. However, judges commonly order offenders to stay employed, repay arrears, and make restitution payments during sentencing.
Criminal defendants often readily agree to these additional sentencing provisions to avoid prison time without considering their ability to comply. Even a minor violation, such as missing a weekly meeting, could trigger a jail sentence or otherwise result in extended supervision. Our Appleton criminal defense lawyers can review the terms of any proposed guilty plea agreements and help clients understand the compliance requirements.
If an offender does not reasonably believe he can both make restitution payments and complete 30 community service hours each month, a lawyer could draft an alternative sentencing proposal. Avoiding the collateral consequences of a Wisconsin felony or misdemeanor conviction often means being honest about your ability to meet your sentence’s terms. Courts, prosecutors, and offenders wish to avoid violation hearings and may work with experienced defense counsel to proactively address your family, health, and financial concerns during sentencing.
Preparing for the Social, Emotional, and Personal Effects of a Wisconsin Criminal Conviction
Even when offenders receive a fair plea deal, many struggle with the social stigmas associated with a criminal record. From automatic rejections on job applications to explaining your limitations at every turn, do not neglect the importance of post-conviction mental and emotional health. An experienced defense attorney could help offenders apply to special support programs, locate understanding employers, and connect with professionals dedicated to helping them and their families. Building strong community ties and taking advantage of local non-profit programs can often minimize the emotional and stigmatizing effects of a felony or sexual offense conviction.
Many offenders also express concern over how a criminal record could affect certain domestic relations proceedings, including divorce, child custody, and family support disputes. A qualified attorney can review your charges and discuss the potential collateral impact the following convictions could have on family litigation:
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse and neglect
- Financial fraud
- Sexual offenses
- Violent crimes
- Class A, B, and C felony convictions
- Crimes involving drug and alcohol abuse
- Gang-related & firearms conduct
- Hate crimes
- Any offense with a minor victim
Minimizing the personal and domestic effects of a criminal conviction often means retaining a dedicated legal advocate. A felony defense lawyer might discuss the interplay between certain crimes and family-based proceedings and help offenders defend against CPS overreach and understand their parental rights.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer
Whether you want to discuss the practical implications of pleading guilty or your options for post-conviction relief, consider scheduling a free and confidential criminal defense consultation with the experienced Chilton, Waupaca, and Appleton attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff. Our defense lawyers might help clients understand the potential collateral consequences of a conviction and minimize these secondary penalties on you and your family. We might work with our clients from the indictment through the expungement process and provide legal assistance to offenders struggling with both the direct and indirect costs of a felony or misdemeanor conviction. Call (920) 450-9800 today or contact us online to schedule your free criminal defense consultation.