Every criminal conviction has its consequences, but few more so than a conviction for a sex crime. From restrictions on where you can live, travel, and work, sexual offenders are subject to more than just fines and incarceration. If you’re facing allegations of a federal or state sex crime, it’s critical to understand the long-term consequences of a conviction before accepting a plea bargain or proceeding to trial. Sex offender status can affect every aspect of your life long after your court-imposed sentence has come to an end.
The only way to avoid the long-term consequences of a sex crimes conviction is to avoid the conviction itself. Whether this means zealously defending your rights at trial, appealing an adverse judgment, or applying for an expungement, the experienced Outagamie, Brown, Winnebago, Calumet, and Waupaca County sex crimes defense attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff stand with you. Schedule you free, confidential criminal defense consultation with one of our experienced Wisconsin sex crimes defense lawyers by calling (920) 450-9800 or contacting us online.
What Constitutes a “Sex Offense” in Wisconsin?
As with most crimes, there are different levels and categories of sexual offenses in Wisconsin, and the long-term consequences of a sex crimes conviction depend heavily on the categorization of the offense of which you have been accused. The following crimes include convictions that qualify as “sex offenses” under Wisconsin law, including conspiracy, solicitation, or attempt:
- First, second, and third-degree sexual assault, including rape
- Sexual contact between a therapist and patient
- Sexual contact with a minor under the age of 16
- Sexual exploitation of a child, including causing a child to hear or view sexually explicit material
- Sex trafficking
- Offenses involving viewing, producing, or sharing child pornography
Those a court finds guilty of a qualifying sexual offense are then categorized as level 1, 2, or 3 offenders for the purposes of registration. Your categorization is based on the needs of the community, victim, and offender as determined by local law enforcement. The names of level 1 offenders only appear to law enforcement searching the registry. Level 2 offenders only appear to certain subsets of a community, such as employers or schools, while level 3 offenders appear on the full public registry. It’s important to remember that not every sex-related offense qualifies as a “sexual offense” in Wisconsin, and not every sexual offender appears on Wisconsin’s sex offender registry. Fighting for exoneration from certain charges or pleading guilty to lesser-included offenses may mitigate some of the long-term consequences of a sex offense conviction.
Direct Consequences of a Sex Crimes Conviction
Most people are familiar with the basic consequences that could accompany a sex crime conviction, including imprisonment, fines, restitution, and probation. The judge may order additional mandatory services, including community involvement and rehabilitation, but these are generally not long-term arrangements. In Wisconsin, anyone convicted of a violent felony, including rape or felonious sexual contact, is ineligible to:
- Own or possess a firearm
- Vote in federal and state elections
- Travel outside the state during probation
- Hold certain federal and state jobs
Those convicted of a qualifying sexual offense are also placed on the Wisconsin sex offender registry for a period of years or for life. Certain Wisconsin municipal laws further place severe residency restrictions on sexual offenders. Those adjudicated guilty, whether through trial or a plea, of a sexual offense in Wisconsin are generally not permitted to live within 1500 feet of:
- Any facility for children, including public or private schools, daycare centers, group homes, shelters, or property certified to provide similar services
- Public swimming pools
- Public parks
- Soccer fields
- Public libraries
These are important consequences to consider in the long-term, as Wisconsin’s sex offender residency restrictions can limit the housing availability for adjudicated sexual offenders released from confinement. If you have sex offender status and are about to be released or are considering moving, speak with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney in your locality to ensure your future plans are not hindered by these sex offender residency restrictions.
Indirect Consequences of a Sex Crimes Conviction
Not every consequence of a sex crimes conviction is listed in the Wisconsin statutes. While there are clear consequences in a court of law, there are also serious but intangible consequences in the court of public opinion. It’s these long-term consequences that those accused of a sexual offense often fail to consider. These include:
- Disqualification from private employment at most major companies, jobs involving children, and in the public sector
- Restriction on your ability to travel internationally
- Deportation and/or the inability to become a United States Citizen
- Denial of adoption petitions and/or inability to serve as a foster parent
- Denial of admission and/or access to financial aid at colleges and other institutions of higher learning
- Limitations on the availability of volunteer work
- Inability to access certain dating websites and applications
- Denial of professional licenses, such as a license to practice law or nursing
- Loss of certain professional licenses
- Inability to utilize public facilities, such as pools or parks
It is generally legal to discriminate against an individual on the basis of a sexual offense. This means, even if the charges are dropped or expunged, employers are permitted to ask whether you’ve ever been arrested, tried for, or accused of a qualifying sex offense. Such admissions are often bars to private employment.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at Hogan Eickhoff Today
At Hogan Eickhoff, our top-rated criminal defense attorneys in Appleton remember that you’re innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. We understand the difference between sex crimes charges that qualify as “sexual offenses” and those that allow for more post-conviction freedoms. Considering both the short and long-term consequences of a sex crimes conviction in Wisconsin is essential when deciding whether to plead guilty.
Our experienced Appleton sexual assault defense lawyers can address your top concerns, set forth the consequences of a sex crimes conviction, and fight for your rights in Wisconsin courts. To schedule your free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Chilton, and Waupaca criminal defense attorneys, call us today at (920) 450-9800 or contact us online.