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Wisconsin Plea Bargain | Criminal Convictions in Wisconsin

Will a Plea Bargain Show as a Conviction on My Record?

A plea bargain is a legal outcome where the defendant and the prosecution enter into an agreement or “deal” for lesser charges or a reduced sentence. Sometimes plea deals are the most expedient way to close the case and move on. In Wisconsin, this can still result in a criminal conviction on your record which is why it is important to consider how the deal being offered will affect your future and whether or not accepting the offer is in your best interests.

A Conviction Goes on Your Record Regardless of How it Comes About

In nearly every situation, someone who is convicted of a crime will end up with a criminal record no matter how it comes about whether that is through a bargain or a trial by jury. There are two situations in Wisconsin in which a conviction may not appear on your record in the future: expungement or deferred prosecution agreement.

Expungement means the conviction will be removed from your record. This is often offered in Wisconsin plea bargains if the defendant was under 25 years of age at the time of the crime or if the crime was a misdemeanor or lesser felony.

A deferred prosecution agreement allows Wisconsin prosecutors to dismiss the charges against you if you meet certain conditions. Under this type of agreement, no conviction will show on your record.

Weighing Your Options

Even knowing they will end up with a criminal conviction on your record, some defendants are happy to accept a deal. They know that going to trial before a jury could result in a harsher sentence than what the prosecution is offering in the deal. They might also be facing more serious charges at trial than under the plea bargain. Some defendants know that the plea deal is the best possible outcome they could hope to obtain.

Remember, a plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution. Both sides should be getting something that they want or need from the agreement. Defendants generally accept plea deals to receive a lesser sentence. Prosecutors are willing to offer plea deals because they can secure a conviction without the time and expense of going to trial.

Even so, you do not have to accept a plea bargain just because it is offered. Some defendants decide to fight the charges because they are innocent or the plea offer is too onerous. 

Should You Accept a Plea Bargain or Not?

There is no cut-and-dried answer to this question. You want to make sure you move forward with the best situation for you.

The best way to determine if the deal on offer is in your best interests is to speak with a qualified Wisconsin criminal defense attorney at Eisenberg Law Offices. Our team will examine the evidence against you, analyze the plea deal, and advise you on the best possible outcome based on the circumstances. We look at the entire picture, now and in the future, and help our clients see past their worries and emotions to make an informed decision. The last thing you want to do is be so worried about having a criminal conviction on your record that you pass up a good plea bargain. Our team will help you sort through your questions and explain the pros and cons of the deal to you in plain English.

If you are facing a criminal conviction or have been offered a deal, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Eisenberg Law Offices for advice and help to evaluate your options. Schedule a free consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.