Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of Wisconsin? Criminal convictions can have long-term consequences for you, even after you have served your sentence or otherwise paid your fines and costs. Even afterward, the conviction remains on your record, perhaps for the rest of your life. Any interaction that you have had with the criminal system is potentially visible to the public. Certainly, this includes potential employers. Even though Wisconsin law prohibits some types of discrimination against job seekers with criminal convictions, there are still many consequences as a result of prior legal issues that can cloud your future. They could include:
- Inability to get hired for jobs that can legally bar people with a conviction
- Ineligibility for some public benefits
- Being rejected for security clearances and failing background checks
- Problems obtaining a professional license
- Not being able to obtain a green card or become a naturalized citizen
These are just some of what can happen with a criminal conviction on your record. The list is much longer, and oftentimes, you do not find out about the consequences until after you have already lost something.
Unsurprisingly, There’s an App for That
For many people, the problem is that they might not even know about every single legal issue that they have had over the years. There could be outstanding bench warrants, or they may have simply forgotten about a particular matter. Then, they do not realize that they have a problem until there has been a consequence.
A recently-developed app can help people learn about every legal issue that they have so they can take the appropriate action to clear up their criminal record. Importantly, Wisconsin allows people to take legal action to clear their criminal record if their convictions meet certain requirements.
Here, the app is called Legal Tune Up Wisconsin. It is an independent app (not affiliated or connected to Hogan Eickhoff in any way) that was developed by LIFT Dane in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Law School and a number of nonprofit organizations. The project was funded with $1.1 million from Schmidt Futures, a venture capital fund that aims to help the middle class.
What You Can Learn by Searching Online
The app searches all Wisconsin online public records. The app can help people learn about relevant information that includes:
- Driver’s license suspensions
- Child support information
- Prior residential evictions
- Arrests and other criminal records
For each of these, you have every incentive to learn about all the public information about you. For example, a driver’s license suspension could keep you from getting many jobs. Child support delinquency can lead to arrests or the inability to even get a passport.
It Helps to Be Informed of Any Legal Issues You May Have
Some people may even not be aware of past problems. For example, one may have outstanding bench warrants and not even know it. One cannot work with an attorney to address their legal problems if they are unaware of the full extent of them.
However, the first major step is informing yourself of every possible legal issue that you have had in the past. In Wisconsin, there are very real reasons why you should be aware of your full legal history. Specifically, the state has a law on the books that allows your criminal record to be sealed or expunged. However, this law only applies in limited circumstances, meaning that the conviction or arrest records will remain on your record. This is especially true for most felonies.
You are Better Off Fighting the Charges or Trying to Reduce Them
Nonetheless, when people are learning about a criminal conviction after the fact through an app, they may have already felt repercussions from it. Of course, any help that people can get that can help them clear their record and get the fresh start that they need is a step in the right direction. People can certainly get on with their life better without having to contend with convictions on their record that may hold them back.
The best way to ensure a cleaner legal record and better future prospects is to deal with a criminal charge against you as soon as it is filed. Without legal representation, you may end up with a tougher penalty that could complicate your life in both the short and long run. Then, you could end up in the position of trying to expunge a conviction years later as opposed to fighting it when you are first charged.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Could Help You
Once you have been charged with a crime, your criminal defense attorney could help you try to mitigate or fight the effects. Here is what your attorney could do:
- Defend your legal rights and ensure that the authorities cannot convict and punish you when you have violated your constitutional rights. Many people deal with the consequences of convictions that never should have happened in the first place.
- Work to fight the charges against you and get the charges dropped or win an acquittal.
- Negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor that could reduce the possible sentence.
- Help obtain a plea bargain for you that could lower criminal charges from a felony to a misdemeanor, making it easier for you to keep the conviction off your record or remove it at some point.
You should always take steps to seal or clear your record after the fact. The best strategy is to ensure that either no conviction ever goes on your record in the first place. If a conviction is unavoidable, you should take steps to work the most favorable plea bargain possible.
Call Us Today to Speak with an Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime or have been contacted by law enforcement, it is crucial that you have legal representation as soon as possible. Call a criminal defense attorney at Hogan Eickhoff at (920) 450-9800 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We could help you navigate the legal system as you seek an acquittal or lesser charges.