How it works

The Wisconsin Compilation of Collateral Consequences (WCCC) consists of nearly 1,400 entries, each representing a discrete collateral consequence or set of related consequences and relief mechanisms imposed by state or federal statute or regulation. Each entry contains a brief description of the consequence, its legal citation (along with relevant subsections), and a link to the official version of the law. Each entry is also tagged with one or more “Categories” and “Keywords.” Categories indicate the type of consequence in broad terms, such as “Employment,” “Occupational licensing,” and “Government benefits.” Keywords indicate, in narrower terms, the specific people, activities, or benefits that the consequence affects, such as “Nursing,” “Child custody & parental rights,” “Food stamps,” and “Retirement & pensions.”

By searching the compilation using a combination of Categories and Keywords, it is possible to identify relevant consequences with ease and precision. This is useful while a criminal case is on-going, as well as after it is completed. For example, an airport employee concerned about how pleading guilty to a crime might affect her job can search using the Categories “Employment & volunteering” and “Occupational & professional licensure & certification” along with the Keyword “Aviation & airports” to immediately identify consequences of specific significance. Similarly, a person convicted years ago who now wants to open a bar or convenience store can search for the Category “Business licensure & participation” along with the Keyword “Alcohol permits, licenses & sales.”

Each Category/Keyword search returns a brief description of all relevant consequences along with their citations and all the Categories and Keywords assigned to each consequence. Those results can then be narrowed or expanded by adding or removing Categories and/or Keywords, or by searching for specific words within the text of the consequence descriptions.

Clicking the description of any consequence brings the user to a more detailed summary of that consequence, information about supplemental and related statutes and regulations, and relevant relief provisions. Relevant subsections of the law are also identified, to facilitate searches of the text of the law or rule linked on each summary screen. The linked law or rule will identify what crimes may trigger the consequence, whether it is mandatory or discretionary, and whether it is permanent or time-limited.

Of course, the easiest way to see how the compilation works is to try it out for yourself. Tool-tips provide a helpful description of each function, and the site is free to use with no registration required. We welcome feedback from users about the WCCC’s data and functionality, and hope that lawyers and advocates will let us know how they are using it and how it could be improved.