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Milwaukee pardons lawyerBy Bri Meyer and Jason Findling

With Governor Tony Evers in office, many people in Wisconsin are excited that pardons will be available once again. Unfortunately, the process of granting pardons to Wisconsin residents has gotten off to a slow start. Governor Evers, who promised during the campaign to issue pardons, said that he is “disappointed” that his administration has not set up the Pardon Advisory Board nearly four months into his term.

The Pardon Advisory Board will be made up of about 15 people who will review applications from felons and make recommendations to the governor. Gov. Evers said that he has a team of three lawyers who are working to revive the pardons review board and is hopeful that the Pardon Advisory Board will be operational by summer. Evers explained that his lawyers have not had enough time to resolve this pardon issue because they have been busy focusing on legal challenges to the lame-duck legislative session Republicans started in December.

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Milwaukee, WI criminal record expungement lawyerBy Bri Meyer and Jason Findling

After receiving overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats, Wisconsin lawmakers have continued to push for legislation that would allow more people to seek expungement. The bill is called the “Pathways to Employment,” a title that illustrates the purpose behind the proposed law: to help former non-violent offenders transition from prison into the workforce. The Pathways to Employment bill is designed to provide persons convicted of lower-level crimes with a second chance at life and also seeks to reduce Wisconsin’s labor shortage.

Expungement involves a person petitioning to have his or her criminal convictions expunged, or cleared from the public court record. Because a criminal record can hinder a person’s ability to secure housing, employment, financial aid, and other opportunities that require a background check, this new expungement law truly provides people with a second chance. Since the Pathways to Employment bill passed at the committee level with bipartisan support in both chambers, supporters believe that this bill will soon become law. A full vote to determine whether this expungement bill will become law is scheduled to take place in May. 

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Milwaukee, WI pardon application attorneyThe news that pardons will once again be granted in Wisconsin has gotten out, and pardon applications have begun rolling in. It is expected that once the Pardon Advisory Board is fully filled, even more pardon requests will be received by the state. 

The Pardon Advisory Board reviews pardon applications and makes recommendations to the Governor. Some of those seeking pardons ask for commutation of a sentence, while others have served their sentences and want to receive a pardon in order to be able to move on with their lives. Pardons typically restore all civil rights that were affected by the conviction, such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, possess a firearm, hold certain professional licenses, and run for office. 

Why Are Pardons Now an Option?

The new Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, has recently announced that his office will entertain pardon requests. The prior governor, Scott Walker, had placed a moratorium on considering any pardons. 

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Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer appealsAfter you have been convicted of a crime, you may feel like you have no options. In Wisconsin, if you have been convicted of a crime, you have the right to an appeal. If you believe that errors were made during your case, you should explore all of your legal options with an attorney.

The Wisconsin Appeals Process

The first crucial step in appealing a conviction or sentence is to file a notice of intent to pursue post-conviction relief within twenty days of sentencing. Failing to do this means that you could lose your right to an appeal.

Next, you must determine your grounds for appeal. When you appeal a criminal conviction or sentence, you must argue with great specificity what mistakes occurred during your trial. Some errors commonly alleged in appeals include:

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Posted on in DUI / OWI

OWI conviction, criminal rehabilitation, criminal conviction, border crossing implications, OWIBy: Kenneth Baker

The restrictions imposed by an OWI conviction can be quite burdensome. Some restrictions, however, are not known to individuals that have been charged with an OWI. For example, Canadian Immigration officers have the power to deny persons with OWI convictions from crossing the border into Canada. In fact, if you have been arrested or convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regardless of whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor, you may be criminally inadmissible to Canada or denied entry.

Canadian Immigration Officials have introduced a new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). In order to receive an eTA, individuals have to disclose their criminal convictions, which may bar them from entering Canada. Even if you will not be driving in Canada, you can still be denied entry. Individuals who have been acquitted of an OWI can still be stopped at the border and denied entry. This stringent border patrol comes as a surprise to many US citizens.

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyerIf you are facing criminal charges, you are mostly considering the immediate impact on your life. However, there may be other factors you have not considered. For example, a sexual assault conviction can dictate where you live and require that you register as a sex offender for a predetermined amount of time – possibly even the rest of your life. Even a drug charge, if serious enough, could limit your employment options upon your release. For one Wisconsin man, charged with two counts of murder and found not guilty by reason of mental disease, that impact is hindering his ability to find end-of-life medical care and treatment.

Found Not Guilty but Still Being Punished

Charged with murdering his wife and sister-in-law, the Dane County sheriff deputy was found not guilty by reason of medical disease. Unfortunately, that not guilty determination has done nothing for his reputation, which was essentially ruined because of the high-profile nature of his case. Now suffering from advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he is wheelchair-bound and dying. More than 40 different facilities have been contacted, all of which were asked to meet his medical needs, but not one has shown any interest. The mental health facility current meeting his needs is not fully equipped to do so, and there seems to be little hope for finding one that is in the near future.

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyerMost Americans are aware of the mandated sex offender registry for convicted sex offenders. Used in all 50 states, it is accessible by the public and provides names, descriptions, and photographs of those that have served their time and then been released back into society. However, few are aware that there are many other types of criminal registries that, depending on state and circumstance, may also be viewable by the public. The most recently opened is a white collar crime registry in Utah.

The Rise of Offender Registries

Over the last several years, registries for convicted offenders of various crimes have grown exponentially. Five states monitor those convicted of arson. Seven have registries for methamphetamine producers, and Indiana offers a public website that lets visitors use Google Maps to find the location of homes that have been used as meth labs. In Tennessee, those convicted of animal abuse must register. And in the state of Florida, anyone convicted of a felony of any kind must register for up to five years after completing their sentence. Some of these registries are restricted to law enforcement or fire official use, but others are searchable to the public, just like the sex offender registries.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal recordOne of the most difficult parts of a criminal conviction is the continuing existence of a criminal record. Long after people have served their time and reformed themselves, they can still find their criminal record holding them back, preventing them from getting work, housing, or state licensing. Wisconsin law does allow for people to have their criminal records expunged in certain circumstances. However, it is important to note that Wisconsin's laws on expungement are particularly harsh. They do not provide as many benefits as some states' laws do, and they can also only be accessed for a limited number of reasons.

How Expungement Works

Expungements in Wisconsin are available to only a limited group of people, usually those who committed their crimes as juveniles or young adults. In order to qualify for an expungement, a person must meet four criteria. First, they must have committed the crime while they were under the age of 25. Second, the crime must be a misdemeanor or certain low-level, non-violent felonies. Third, the person must have successfully completed their sentence, which includes things like complying with the terms of probation following a release from prison. Fourth, the court must determine that the offender stands to benefit from an expungement and that such an expungement would not go against the public interest.

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