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I Live in Illinois but got Arrested or Charged in Wisconsin for a Felony or Misdemeanor or Ordinance Violation, do I need a Criminal Defense Attorney licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin?

Posted by Richard Albanese | Nov 04, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Richard Albanese Law Office routinely represents citizens of Wisconsin and Illinois that are charged with Misdemeanor and Ordinance Violations in Wisconsin. For the Wisconsin client the law is pretty straight forward, as the laws of the state apply to the Wisconsin citizen without worrying about how another state may view a particular offense. The more difficult situation arises when an Illinois resident is arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or ordinance violation in Wisconsin. The reason being is that the client must be concerned not only with Wisconsin, but the effect a Wisconsin Sentence may have in Illinois. This blog post will explain some of the basic differences between the States and some issues for a potential interstate client to consider.

Illinois Court Supervision vs. Wisconsin Convictions

The first major difference in Wisconsin compared to Illinois is that the disposition of “court supervision” exists in Illinois as an option to sentence first offenders for garden variety misdemeanors such as battery, Retail theft, Criminal Damage to Property, Disorderly Conduct and others.  Illinois law recognizes people make mistakes and the law allows for a mistake so long as it is not too serious of a crime or circumstance. Wisconsin Law has other options for dealing with first offenders, but court supervision is not one of them. Every guilty disposition in Wisconsin on a misdemeanor offense will result in a conviction. An Illinois citizen who faces a misdemeanor charge in Wisconsin should be aware of this fact as it can have devastating effects down the road.

Why does it Matter if I Live in Illinois and get a Misdemeanor Conviction in Wisconsin?

A common question I answer all the time for clients is, “How will this misdemeanor case affect my future?”.  The misdemeanor conviction in Wisconsin can have devastating effects on a client's career and education aspirations.  If a job or school application asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?”, and you have a Wisconsin Misdemeanor conviction the answer the client must put down is “Yes”.  If the same exact crime is committed in Illinois and a client gets court supervision and successfully completes the supervision the answer to the same question is “No”. That is a huge consideration to think about when hiring an attorney if you live In Illinois and got a misdemeanor charge or arrest in Wisconsin. Richard Albanese is licensed in both States and routinely handling cases in both Illinois and Wisconsin gives the Richard Albanese Law Office the ability to advise an Illinois client of important points a Wisconsin client may not have to consider. The good news for the Illinois client who is charged with a misdemeanor in Wisconsin is that despite the lack of supervision as a sentencing option there are other options for disposition than just a conviction.

Hold Opens, Deferred Prosecutions and Ordinance Violations  

A skilled Criminal Defense attorney handling cases for Illinois clients in Wisconsin as well as Wisconsin residents will always fight for an alternative disposition to a criminal misdemeanor conviction. A “Hold Open” is the most favorable potential disposition for a Wisconsin criminal case. A Prosecutor may agree to hold open a case for a set period of time and if the defendant does not violate any other laws and completes certain other conditions the case will be dismissed. This is similar to a deferred prosecution but less forma in terms. As discussed at length in my other posts, deferred prosecution is also a disposition that is available for criminal offenses in Wisconsin and Illinois to defendants of both states. A deferred prosecution is a formal agreement that often requires a guilty plea to be entered and the defendant to waive certain rights. Once the terms of the agreement are met by the defendant, the case is dismissed and no conviction is entered. Wisconsin offers deferred prosecution agreements on many charges, including some felonies. If a deferred prosecution or a hold open is not available an ordinance violation alternative might be. Unique to the Wisconsin legal system is the ordinance disposition. In Illinois law a ticket or ordinance may be charged by a local Prosecutor but it is rare to see a felony or misdemeanor reduced to an ordinance. The benefit of the ordinance violation is that it allows a defendant to maintain a criminal conviction free record as an ordinance is classified as a non-criminal, fine only offense. These dispositions help young people who may be looking for jobs or college admissions. It is important to also keep in mind the decision to grant these dispositions rests with the prosecutors and judges. As a former Prosecutor Richard Albanese has a good sense of what may be required of a defendant to have the best chance to obtain these dispositions.

If I live in Illinois, do I need two Criminal Defense Attorneys for my Wisconsin Criminal Case?

Thankfully, the answer is no. You need one criminal defense attorney who is licensed in both States and knows the laws of both States and what consequences a criminal case disposition will have for you in each State. The Richard Albanese Law Office bridges this information gap everyday for Illinois and Wisconsin clients who are not familiar with the Laws of their neighboring States. Richard Albanese is licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Wisconsin and offers exceptional representation across the States of Illinois and Wisconsin. Our office can answer interstate criminal case questions with confidence because Richard Albanese handles cases daily in both States and keeps up with the changes in laws of both States. Call today for a free consultation regrading any Criminal or Traffic case in Illinois or Wisconsin. The Richard Albanese law office can be reached at (312) 882-1973 or [email protected] or on the web at

About the Author

Richard Albanese

The Law Office of Richard Albanese Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Albanese is an experienced criminal defense attorney in the fields of Criminal Law, DUI & OWL, Traffic & CDL, Suspended Drivers Licenses and more. [email protected] 312 882 1973 We stand for expertise and y...


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