Everyone makes mistakes. Young adults are particularly prone to mistakes; and some mistakes, like a criminal conviction, can follow you around permanently. Fortunately, the law provides a way to erase criminal convictions under certain circumstances.
Sec. 973.015, Stats., provides that, "[W]hen a person is under the age of 25 at the time of the commission of an offense for which the person has been found guilty in a court for violation of a law for which the maximum period of imprisonment is 6 years or less, the court may order at the time of sentencing that the record be expunged upon successful completion of the sentence if the court determines the person will benefit and society will not be harmed by this disposition." Many people-- including lawyers and judges-- incorrectly refer to this process as "expungement". The correct word is expunction.
Thus, even a Class I felony is eligible for expunction. This, of course, could have a dramatic effect on one's life. One consequence of a felony conviction is a lifetime ban on possession of a firearm-- including hunting rifles. Additionally, felons are prohibited from holding many professional licenses.
Therefore, if you are under the age of twenty-five years, and you are charged with a crime that is less than a Class I felony, it is imperative that you seek the advice and representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. How can a lawyer help you? Here's how:
Negotiate expunction as part of the plea agreement. Your lawyer, if he knows what he is doing, will negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor that will include a recommendation that the defendant be found eligible for expunction. Judges are far more likely to show lenience toward the defendant if the prosecutor is recommending it. Therefore, an agreement for the prosecutor to recommend expunction can be very valuable.
Make sure the judge finds the defendant eligible for expungement at the time of sentencing. As is apparent from a reading of the statute, if the judge fails to order at the time of sentencing that the defendant is eligible for expunction, it is questionable whether the court may order it later, even if the defendant successfully completes his sentence.
Argue for reasonable terms of probation. The expunction statute requires that the defendant successfully complete his sentence in order to be eligible for expunction. Thus, it is critically important that the conditions of probation are reasonably calculated to allow the defendant to succeed. Again, this is where a criminal defense lawyer can be of great assistance. Your lawyer should argue to the court that the court impose only those conditions of probation that are reasonably related to the offense. For example, absolute sobriety is a standard condition of probation-- and the condition that is most frequently violated. If the offense in question did not involve alcohol abuse, then your lawyer should argue that absolute sobriety should not be a condition of probation. Simply avoiding absolute sobriety as a condition of probation greatly enhances the defendant's chances of succeeding.
Have your lawyer apply for expunction when the time comes. The criminal justice system in most counties, and in particulary, Milwaukee County, is not necessary a well-oiled machine. This is especially true when a criminal case may be a number of years old. If you try to handle your expungement motion yourself, there is a good chance that the motion may never be heard. An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows many things that are not taught in law school. Probably the most valuable skill the lawyer possesses is the knowledge of how to get cases heard in the proper court.
Don't let your mistakes haunt you permanently. If you are a young adult and find yourself charged with an offense, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer.
Attorney Jeffrey W. Jensen has twenty-six years experience expunging criminal records in Milwaukee. It may not always be possible to expunge a conviction from your criminal record; however, if you believe that your conviction is eligible for expungement, do not hesitate to call Attorney Jensen at 414-671-9484; and you may also email your inquiry firstname.lastname@example.org
Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Jeffrey W. Jensen, of the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen, a Milwaukee law firm with offices located at 111 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1925, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has represented persons throughout the State of Wisconsin. If you will face felony charges in either state court or in federal court you should call 414.671.9484. Attorney Jensen regularly appears in Milwaukee County (Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer), Waukesha County (Waukesha criminal defense lawyer, Brookfield criminal defense lawyer), Washington County (West Bend and Germantown criminal defense lawyer), Racine County (Racine criminal defense lawyer), Kenosha County (Kenosha criminal defense lawyer), Brown County (Green Bay criminal defense lawyer), Fond du Lac County (Fond du Lac criminal defense lawyer), and Winnebago County (Oshkosh criminal defense lawyer)
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