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Main consequences of a Wisconsin felony conviction

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2016 | Firm News

1.      RIGHT TO VOTE: A convicted felon does not possess the right to vote until such time that he or she has completed the sentence imposed for the felony conviction, so long as no other sentence (or sentences) is outstanding for other felony convictions, the right to vote has not otherwise been prohibited.  The right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of the sentence.  Wis. Stat § 304.078 (3).

2.      RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS: A convicted felon is forever prohibited from carrying a firearm.  Wis. Stat. § 941.29(1)(a)-(b), (2).   It is a felony offense for a convicted felon to possess a firearm under Wisconsin state laws. (Note that Wisconsin law extends to “other weapons”). A convicted felon cannot hunt with a gun. A convicted felon also cannot group gun hunt because under Wisconsin hunting regulations every member of a group gun-hunting party must have both a valid hunting license AND a rifle in his (or her) possession. 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).

3.      JURY DUTY: A convicted felon cannot serve on a jury until such time that he or she has completed the sentence.

4.      ELECTED OFFICE: In November 1996, the electors of the State of Wisconsin ratified a constitutional amendment which bars any person, who has been convicted of a felony for which they have not been pardoned, or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving a violation of public trust for which they have not been pardoned, from holding a state or local office.  Wis. Const. Article XIII, Section 3

5.      HEALTH CARE: Certain restrictions are imposed if you are in the health field and bill Medicare.

6.      EMPLOYMENT: The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (1977) expressly bars employers from discriminating in employment and licensing decisions on the basis of an individual’s criminal record.  Wis. Stat. § 111.321.  However, it is not unlawful to discriminate against those previously convicted of a crime if the circumstances of the particular criminal offense “substantially relate to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity,” or if the person is not bondable.  § 111.335(1)(c).  It is also not employment discrimination for an educational agency to refuse to employ, or to terminate the employment of, an individual who has been convicted of a felony, whether or not the circumstances of the crime relate to the job.  § 111.335(d)(2).  Licensing authorities are specifically prohibited from issuing licenses to convicted persons for certain professions if they have not been pardoned (e.g., security personnel and private investigators, installer of burglar alarms), or who have been convicted of certain offenses (including drug offenses).  See § 111.335(cg), (cm), (cs), (cv), (cx).6.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.

Wisconsin law makes people convicted of a felony ineligible for more than 100 other professional licenses. See National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction,

It is employment discrimination to ask an employee or applicant for employment for information about an arrest record, except when charges are pending, or when employment depends on bondability.  § 111.335(1)(a).   The provisions of the Fair Employment Act are explained at

7.      VETERAN’S BENEFITS: An inmate who is not receiving their benefits in prison can opt to have the payments sent to their spouse, children, or parents if they are dependents of the inmate. Whoever is to receive the benefit payments, must apply to get the money from the VA, because it will not be sent automatically.  The only thing I am aware of is a veteran’s VA disability compensation payments will be REDUCED if you are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and imprisoned for OVER 60 days (61+). Veterans rated 20 percent or more disabled are limited to the 10 percent disability rate during that time. If the vet’s disability rating is 10 percent, the payment is reduced by one-half.

8.IMMIGRATION: A broad range of criminal convictions trigger immigration consequences. Moreover, the length and type of sentence may determine whether a respondent is subject to removal, eligible for relief from removal, or qualified to become a naturalized citizen. Specific criminal activity and the immigration consequences if convicted of such activity are varied. Four of these categories, many of which overlap, are discussed below:
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude
Crimes involving moral turpitude are typically crimes that are considered inherently wrong by our society’s standards. Crimes in this category include (whether felony or misdemeanor): theft crimes, fraud crimes, crimes of violence, trafficking in a controlled substance, and aggravated DUI (such as DUI while driving with revoked license). Once convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, an alien may be unable to establish good moral character, required as a precondition for some forms of relief from removal. The statutory provision for good moral character bars aliens involved in most criminal activity from satisfying its terms. The “good moral character” language is generally interpreted as requiring a showing that the individual’s conduct comports with that considered acceptable by prevailing community standards. Discretionary relief and other benefits affected by commission of a crime involving moral turpitude include voluntary departure, waiver, cancellation of removal, political asylum, registry, adjustment of status, and naturalization. An alien may be subject to mandatory detention with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) for commission of crimes involving moral turpitude.
Aggravated felonies
The definition if aggravated felony includes many offenses, even some crimes classified as misdemeanors by the State. Such offenses include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, kidnapping, child pornography, alien smuggling; definition also includes crimes of bribery, crime of violence, theft, obstruction of justice, forging documents, and gambling offenses where term of imprisonment imposed is at least one year. Commission of a crime classified as an aggravated felony is NOT a ground of inadmissibility – so some forms of relief do exist. However, an alien convicted of an aggravated felony at any time is subject to removal (is deportable) from the US. Aggravated felony convictions subject the alien to mandatory custody with ICE.
Controlled Substance Offenses
Controlled substance offenses may be classified both as crimes involving moral turpitude or aggravated felonies; some controlled substance offenses are neither. The INA has created a separate category dealing with controlled substance offenses. A controlled substance offense is one in which the alien was convicted or admits having committed a violation relating to a substance named in the Controlled Substances Act. Controlled substances offenses create grounds for BOTH inadmissibility and removability (deportability). Moreover, it should be noted that an alien may suffer adverse immigration consequences on controlled substance grounds if the US government has “reason to believe” that the alien was involved in drug trafficking – no arrest or conviction required. Controlled substance convictions subject the alien to mandatory custody with ICE.
Firearms Offenses
Firearms offenses, like controlled substance offences, have a separate classification under the INA. They too, however, may be classified as aggravated felonies. These crimes relate mostly to the offenses of unlawful use of explosive material and discharge, possessing, purchasing, etc of prohibited firearms in violation of federal law. A conviction of a firearms offense is not a ground of inadmissibility, but does create grounds for removal (deportation). Conviction of firearms offenses may subject the alien to mandatory custody with ICE.

Additional Civil Consequences of a Felony Conviction
At sentencing, a court may prohibit you from having contact with co-actors involved in the offense conduct during the period of probation.
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 of some foreign countries, such as Canada, Australia and Japan, for example.
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.
You may not obtain certain federal health, welfare and housing benefits if you are convicted of a drug offense.
You may not operate a motor vehicle for at least six months if you are convicted of a drug offense.
You may not operate a motor vehicle for at least six months if you are convicted of drunk driving. 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. 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.