Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Wisconsin
1. What is an expungement?
Court records electronically or optically stored, including records stored off-line and on backup media, that are expunged by court order under Wisconsin Statutes §§ 938.355 (4m) and 973.015 are to be expunged by dealing or removing the record, obliterating the index to the record, or otherwise restricting access to the record. SCR 72.05.
2. Do the records just disappear?
No. When a record is expunged, the record is not destroyed but removed from public access and sealed. The facts underlying the expunged conviction may be used in later sentencing, but the expunged conviction may not be used for impeachment purposes.
3. Who is eligible to get records expunged?
Wisconsin Statutes § 938.355(4m) allows for expunction of a court’s record of a juvenile’s delinquency adjudication if the person has reached age 17 and the court determines that the juvenile has satisfactorily complied with the conditions of his or her dispositional order and that the juvenile will benefit and society will not be harmed by the expunction. Peeping Tom offenses may also be expunged.
Wisconsin Statutes § 973.015 allows for expungements of juvenile misdemeanor convictions. The person must have been under the age of 21 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 penalty is imprisonment for one year or less in the county jail. The court must determine that the juvenile has satisfactorily complied with the conditions of his or her sentence and that the juvenile will benefit and society will not be harmed by the expunction.
Wisconsin Statutes § 973.015 also allows for expungements when a person has successfully completed the sentence if the person has not been convicted of a subsequent offense and, if on probation, the probation has not been revoked and the probationer has satisfied the conditions of probation.
4. What records may be expunged?
Any record of conviction ordered to be expunged by a court cannot be removed from the Wisconsin criminal history repository because the conviction disqualifies that arrest for removal.
Conviction of any offense reported on an arrest fingerprint card prohibits removal of other offenses reported on that arrest card. As the law requires return or removal of the fingerprint card, only in those circumstance where any and all offenses on a fingerprint card resulted in no conviction can the fingerprint card be returned or removed from your record.
5. How do I get records expunged?
An expungement under Wisconsin Statutes § 973.015 is discretionary with the court unless it is a case involving a first offense by a juvenile or an offense by a person under 18 involving “peeping Tom” laws. Persons completing probation and not convicted of any later offenses may also get records expunged as a matter of law.
Wisconsin Statutes § 938.355(4m) allow records to be expunged automatically as a matter of law when the juvenile is a first-offender and has satisfactorily complied with the conditions of his or her dispositional order. Others eligible for expungement under the statute must have satisfactorily complied with the conditions of his or her dispositional order are subject to the discretion of the court in determining that the juvenile will benefit and society will not be harmed by the expunction.