Anyone charged with a criminal offense faces the possibility of incarceration, fines, and lifelong consequences. You should consult a lawyer to fully understand the consequences of a criminal conviction.
Anyone charged with a criminal offense, as opposed to a civil offense, faces the possibility of incarceration. Many times, potential clients call to ask whether or not they need an attorney. Our standard response is that anyone facing the possibility of incarceration and the large fines that are available to be levied against defendants in a criminal case certainly should get legal counsel if they can afford it. When someone’s liberty is at stake, experienced, skilled and aggressive representation can make the difference between time behind bars and time spent with loved ones and in a productive capacity.
A skilled attorney can also help eliminate some of the unknown and collateral consequences that can occur if someone is not represented by counsel or is represented by counsel that is not well versed in criminal law and criminal defense. Some collateral consequences that one may not be aware of without the assistance of experienced counsel can include the following:
1. Loss of privilege to possess or purchase a firearm (guns) with many convictions which can include disorderly conduct.
2. Loss of driver’s license.
3. Loss of privileges to vote.
4. Seizure of motor vehicle.
5. Ability to obtain a license or keep a license that you already have within certain professions (i.e., doctors, nurses, CNAs, foster parents, etc.).
6. Restriction on travel within the United States and outside of the United States. Deportation from the United States.
7. Registration as a sexual offender.
8. Forced submission of a DNA sample along with a mandatory $250 DNA surcharge that is assessed against a defendant.
9. Enhanced penalties if one is charged with a future operating while intoxicated count.
10. Enhanced penalties if one is charged with future criminal counts. The accumulation of a “strike” which could result in a life sentence for a future offense if that offense falls under the two or three strikes and you’re out provisions.
11. Inclusion of your name on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program website that would be searchable for any potential employer, friend, relative or anyone else that has use of a computer and the internet.
12. Ignition interlock on your motor vehicle.
13. Ability to receive federal student loans or grants with any drug conviction.
14. Ability to obtain a loan from a bank or from a creditor.
15. Ability to rent an apartment.
Obviously, some or all of these collateral consequences listed above could prove life changing when it comes time for education, employment, selecting a residence or travel. Further, most of these collateral consequences are not spelled out in the criminal complaint that you have received and may not be mentioned by the prosecutor, the court or anyone else at any time in the proceedings.