Jail Is Only The Beginning
Groups of young children have played the make believe game of “cops and robbers” for decades. In that game, the cops are trying to catch the robbers and throw them into jail.
As kids get a little older they are introduced to the popular game Monopoly, where an unlucky roll of the dice can result in the games harshest penalty: GO TO JAIL.
It’s no surprise that by the time we all reach adulthood we have a pretty strong inkling that going to jail is one of the worst things that can happen to us. Unfortunately, if you are charged with a crime in Wisconsin, going to jail may only be the beginning of your problems.
Don’t get the wrong idea; spending a night in jail is no picnic. We certainly wouldn’t recommend it. But there are other consequences of an arrest or a conviction that can follow you far longer than fear and anxiety of spending a night in jail.
A conviction on possession of cocaine can result in a fine of $1,000, increasing to $10,000 for a second offense. These are fines that can set you back financially for the foreseeable future. It is difficult to recover from a significant financial loss when you have trouble finding gainful employment.
A misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record can haunt you for the rest of your life, popping up every time you undergo a background check for employment, housing, and other major life events. Some employers will simply not hire someone with a criminal record. If you are a licensed professional, you may lose your license as a result of your conviction. Teachers, for example, may not be issued a license if they have a Class A, B, C, or D felony on their record in the previous six years.
If you drive a truck for a living, a conviction for DUI/OWI can effectively end your career due to the suspension or revocation of your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Even if you maintain your license, your employer may view you as a liability and be unwilling to let you continue driving for them.
Using a DUI/OWI conviction as an example, you will face the increased cost of auto insurance. It is estimated that a driver convicted of drunk driving can expect to see their insurance rates go up by as much as 80%. If you choose to avoid that increase by driving without insurance, you expose yourself to a $500 fine and the suspension of your driving privileges if caught.
It is hard to put a price on your good name. Your standing in the community, your church, or even your family can be damaged by a criminal conviction. For example, a youth baseball coach will have a hard time maintaining the trust of parents after being charged with or convicted a criminal offense such as domestic violence or sexual assault.
The best way to avoid these consequences is to make sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney working to limit your exposure to them.