Author: Marcus J. Berghahn
In addition to the potential for a term of incarceration, a period of supervision, payment of supervision fees, fines, court costs and assessments to name a few, there exist a number of consequences that follow conviction of a criminal offense, regardless of whether the offense is classified a misdemeanor or a felony. The following list is not an exclusive inventory of every possible consequence, but rather lists the most common consequences. The court may inform you of certain consequences, but others exist. Please review the following carefully.
Those consequences resulting from a felony conviction are marked by an f; those applicable to a misdemeanor conviction are denoted by an m. Many of the following consequences are associated with criminal penalties. For example, possession of a firearm by a felon is a violation of state and federal law.
f You may not possess a firearm. Wis. Stat. § 941.29; 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)
f/m You may not possess a firearm if the offense of conviction is a crime of domestic violence. This prohibition applies even if you have not been convicted of a felony offense. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)
f/m This prohibition applies to all handguns, starter pistols, shotguns, hunting rifles and ammunition. This prohibition includes both actual or constructive possession of a firearm; that is, you may not hold in your hand, store, borrow, or in any manner use or exercise control over the firearm of another. Having a firearm in your home, even if it belongs to a parent, spouse or child who also resides there, could be construed as possession of a firearm. You may, however, still fish and possess and hunt with a bow, unless a judicial order provides otherwise.
f/m Relatedly, you may not possess a firearm if you are a fugitive from justice, addicted to any controlled substance, committed to a mental institution, an illegal alien, discharged from the armed services under dishonorable conditions or subject to a restraining order. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) – (8)
f/m You may not obtain state issued licenses for hunting, fishing, etc., for up to 5 years if you have been convicted of violating certain hunting regulations Wis. Stat. § 29.971
f You may not possess bulletproof body armor. Wis. Stat. § 941.291
f You may not hold elective office. Wis. Const. Art. 13, § 3(2)
f You may not vote until your civil rights have been restored. Wis. Stat. § 6.03(1)(b)
f You may not serve on a jury until your civil rights have been restored. Wis. Stat. § 756.02
f/m At sentencing, a court may prohibit you from having contact with co-actors involved in the offense conduct during the period of probation. Wis. Stat. § 973.049
f/m You may be deported, excluded or denied entry into the United States based upon a criminal conviction, if you are not a citizen of the United States (i.e., a resident alien, green card holder, here on any visa). 8 U.S.C. § 1227
f/m You may not receive federal student financial aid (for a set period of time) if you are convicted of a drug offense; the length of time varies, depending upon the offense of conviction. 20 U.S.C. § 1091(r)
f/m You may not obtain certain federal health, welfare and housing benefits if you are convicted of a drug offense. 42 U.S.C. § 1320
f/m You may not operate a motor vehicle for at least six months if you are convicted of a drug offense. Wis. Stat. § 961.50.
f/m You may not operate a motor vehicle for at least six months if you are convicted of drunk driving. Wis. Stat. § 343.30. Second or subsequent convictions for drunk driving will result in a longer period during which you may not operate a motor vehicle. In some cases an ignition interlock device may have to be installed before you may operate a motor vehicle again. Wis. Stat. § 343.301.
f You may be required to provide a DNA sample which will then be posted to a database maintained by the state crime laboratory. There is a $250 fee for this analysis. Certain misdemeanor offenses also qualify for this requirement.
f/m You may be required to register with law enforcement as a sex offender if you are convicted of certain sex offenses, even if the conviction was entered in another state. Wis. Stat. §§ 973.048 & 301.45. The period of registration may last for no less than 15 years. In some cases, depending on the offense of conviction, you could be subject to lifetime registration. The registration requirement applies as well to an adjudication of juvenile delinquency. The registration requirement exists as well under federal law. 42 U.S.C. § 16901-16962. The failure to register or to update your registration is a crime. Wis. Stat. § 301.45(6); 18 U.S.C. § 2250. Please note that under federal law the sex offender registration requirement is on-going and relates to current convictions as well as those that have previously been adjudicated (after 1993).
f/m Related to sex offender registration, please also consider that information regarding sex offender registration is available to the public over the internet. Also, some municipalities have enacted ordinances limiting a registered sex offender’s ability to reside in that municipality; some ordinances enact distance restrictions (i.e., shall live no closer that 1,000 feet from a school or park), while others forbid registered sex offenders from residing in that municipality.
f/m Conviction of certain “sexually violent offenses” may subject you to a civil commitment during which time you will be placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Family for purposes of treatment. Such period of custody and treatment continues until it is determined that there has been “significant progress in treatment.”
f/m You may not work with children if you are convicted of a serious child sex offense. Wis. Stat. § 948.13
f/m You may not intentionally photograph minors if you are a registered sex offender. Wis. Stat. § 948.14
f/m If your employment requires a professional license or bond, your conviction may have consequences in this regard as well. This is particularly true if you are employed in health care, child care and education. In those professions requiring a license, to sell real estate, stocks, or to be a barber, for example, a felony conviction may be a bar to obtaining the necessary license. Wis. Stat. § 440.03(13)
f/m If you are an over-the-road truck driver, a conviction under certain felony offenses, including offenses of dishonesty or fraud, will disqualify you from hauling materials such as fuel oil and you will be barred from entering refineries under rules promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security. 49 CFR § 1572.103(b)(14)
f/m If you are employed as a “care giver” to adults or children – including, but not limited to, working in daycare centers, hospitals, and nursing homes, a criminal conviction may act as a bar to such employment for up to five years. Wis. Stat. §§ 48.685 & 50.065
f/m If you are employed in health care, a criminal conviction may result in your being disbarred from obtaining any federal funds, even if your position is not funded through federal grants or programs. 42 C.F.R. § 424.535. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services is authorized to revoke a currently enrolled provider or supplier’s medicare billing privilege based on a felony conviction within the 10 years proceeding enrollment or revalidation of enrollment. This applies to convictions under state or federal law that are considered felony offenses and which “CMS has determined to be detrimental to the best interest of the program and its beneficiaries.” Such offenses include felony crimes against persons, such as murder, rape, assault, financial crimes such as extortion, embezzlement, income tax evasion, insurance fraud and other similar crimes for which the individual was convicted including guilty pleas. Importantly, adjudicated pretrial diversions are not excluded. Further, any felony that places the medicare program or its beneficiaries at immediate risk such as in malpractice actions that result in a conviction of criminal neglect or misconduct; and any felony that would result in mandatory exclusion under § 1128(a) of the act.
f/m You may find that a criminal conviction and even some non-criminal adjudications such as for drunk driving (first offense) will act as a bar to the entry to some foreign countries, such as Canada, Australia and Japan, for example.
f/m If you move to another state your record moves with you; but each state’s consequences differ. For example, some states impose a lifetime ban on voting for persons who have been convicted of a felony. Additionally, it is possible for the legislature to impose new collateral consequences after you have been convicted.
Marcus J. Berghahn practices at Madison’s Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C. He defends individuals and corporations accused of misconduct. Marcus regularly represents clients before state and federal agencies, in Wisconsin’s circuit courts and in United States District Court. Marcus has successfully represented clients at all stages from pre-charging negotiations, before the grand jury or a John Doe magistrate, to trial and through appeal.