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What you need to know about Megan's law in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, like many other American states, enforces Megan's law for those convicted of sex crimes against children. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law in 1996, in the interest of creating a means to protect the public from convicted sex offenders. Megan's law mandates that all Wisconsin sex offenders are entered into the state's sex offender registry; non-compliance with the law can result in severe penalties.

Here is a sample of what defendants can expect when they are required to comply with Megan's law in the state of Wisconsin:

-- All personal data will be entered into the database, including names and aliases, date of birth, location of conviction, the crime and the date it allegedly occurred, DNA samples, date of release and more. -- Those convicted must be entered into the registry before they are released from prison or within 10 days of being placed on supervision. They must also be entered into the registry if they move to Wisconsin from another state. -- If convicted of a sexually violent crime, defendants are required to verify all registry data every 90 days with officials of the Department of Corrections. -- Victims, their family members and people in the general public can view sex offender registry information. -- In nearly all cases, defendants must remain part of the Wisconsin sex offender registry for at least 15 years and in some instances for life.

Obviously, being placed in the sex offender registry can cause long-lasting disruptions in the way defendants live, work and play. The best way to avoid inclusion in the registry is to avoid a conviction in the first place. Working with a Milwaukee-based criminal defense attorney may help defendants salvage their reputations, avoid imprisonment and gain the keys to moving from a troubling present into a purposeful future.

Source: Klaas Kids Foundation, "Megan's Law for Wisconsin" accessed Jan. 26, 2015

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