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Wisconsin Expungement Series, Are you able to clear your record?

This post is part one of a series we are doing on Wisconsin Expungement this month, check back throughout the month to learn more about Wisconsin Expungement and the process of obtaining Expungement.

Wisconsin Expungement

One of the most common phone calls we receive at our law office is regarding, Wisconsin Expungement. When talking about, Wisconsin Expungement it’s important to first know what it is and what it is not.

Wisconsin Statute 973.015(1m)(a)(1) states that:

“When a person is under the age of 25 at the time of the commission of an offense for which the person has been found guilty in a court for violation of a law for which the maximum period of imprisonment is 6 years or less, the court may order at the time of sentencing that the record be expunged upon successful completion of the sentence if the court determines the person will benefit and society will not be harmed by this disposition.”

So what does this really even mean? Put simply, it means that the Court’s record is sealed and the entry on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access page (CCAP) is removed. While the record is removed off of CCAP, Expungement does not entitle a person to having their information removed from law enforcement agencies nor does it require prosecutors to destroy records relating to an expunged conviction.

1. Often, individuals who have received the benefit of Wisconsin Expungement come to find later that a prospective employer or landlord has found out about their expunged conviction when a criminal background check has been performed as these background checks rely on law enforcement agency’s records rather than the court records. While there are clear benefits to Wisconsin Expungement, it does not clear a person’s record entirely. Who is eligible for Expungement? A person must be under the age of 25 at the time the offense was committed, and is limited to misdemeanor offenses as well as Class H and I felonies. Although many Class H and I felonies are Expungement eligible, there are certain types of Class H and I felonies that render a person ineligible for Expungement. The decision as to whether or not a person is eligible for Expungement must be determined at the time of sentencing

2. Following an individual’s sentencing, the individual must successfully complete their sentence in order to retain their eligibility for Wisconsin Expungement. A person has successfully completed their sentence if all of the following apply: “he or she has not been convicted of a subsequent offense; 2) his or her probation has not been revoked; and 3) he or she has satisfied all the conditions of probation. If a probationer satisfies these 3 criteria, he has earned Expungement and is automatically entitled to Expungement of the underlying charge3.” If an individual meets all of these criteria, then they can file a Petition to Expunge with the sentencing court requesting that the court expunge their record. The District Attorney has the right to object a person receiving Expungement, and if an objection is raised the matter is set for a hearing. If no objection is raised, then the court typically, will sign an order expunging the record without a hearing.

If you have been charged with a crime, please contact one of our experienced attorneys to assist you in getting the best outcome for your situation.

 


 

  1.  State v. Leitner, 2002 WI 77, 253 Wis. 2d 449, 646 N.W.2d 341, 00-1718.
  2. State v. Matasek, 2014 WI 27, 353 Wis. 2d 601, 846 N.W.2d 811, 12-1582.
  3. State v. Hemp, 2014 WI 129, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W.2d ___, 13-1163.