In Wisconsin, expungement is available for certain convictions and juvenile adjudications. Wisconsin’s approach to expungement is different than other states so it is important to understand the statutes if you have been convicted of a crime.
What Does Expungement Do?
If the Wisconsin court has granted an expungement, your criminal record—both paper files and electronic files—will be sealed. The record can only be unsealed by a court order. It is important to note that a court cannot seal records that are maintained by other state agencies so employers, landlords, and schools will still have access to your record.
Eligibility for Expungement in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, expungement is available for certain convictions and juvenile adjudications in the following circumstances:
- If convicted before July 1, 2009, the following criteria must be met:
- Conviction must be a misdemeanor or a first-time nonviolent felony or those with a maximum sentence of six years
- You must have been under age 21 at the time of conviction and it must have been for a misdemeanor
If convicted after July 1, 2009, the following criteria must be met:
- Conviction was for a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony
- You were under 25 years of age at sentencing
- Sentence was successfully completed
- At sentencing, the court decided to expunge
- You were adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent, and you are now 17 years of age
- You were a human trafficking victim and committed a commercial sex act
Applying for Expungement in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, when you are sentenced, you must ask for expungement of your conviction. The judge will determine if you are eligible for expungement, and if you are eligible, it will take effect once you have successfully completed your sentence. If, instead of being sentenced to prison, jail, or probation, you paid a fine or restitution, you may ask the court to expunge your record.
If you have questions regarding whether your record can be expunged, speak with an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney.