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Criminal Justice Reform Bill Could Change Wisconsin Expungement Laws

 Posted on July 11, 2019 in Criminal Defense

Milwaukee criminal lawyers for expungementUnder Wisconsin law, expungement means “to strike or obliterate from the record all references to the defendant’s name and identity.” In other words, this removes a person’s criminal past from their record. The purpose of this is to give individuals a second chance. A criminal record can follow someone for the rest of their life, especially since online tools are available that allow anyone to research a person’s background. Websites such as Wisconsin Circuit Court Access allow users to search names and find people’s criminal records, and this can affect a person’s ability to find a job, obtain housing, or apply for education, and it can also impact someone’s personal reputation and relationships. Many advocates are calling for reform of Wisconsin’s expungement system to reduce the negative repercussions faced by people who have served a criminal sentence.

The Current Expungement Law

At this time, expungement in Wisconsin is limited based on the age of the offender and the form of request. A person must be under the age of 25 at the time the offense was committed to be able to request expungement. In addition, the violation of the law that was allegedly committed must have a maximum sentence of six years of imprisonment and must be a misdemeanor or “minor nonviolent first felony.” Under the current law, expungement must also be requested at the time of sentencing. This request must be approved by the judge, and full completion of the sentence is required before a person’s record can be expunged.

The Proposed Expungement Bill

The purpose of expungement is to give a fresh start to those who have made a mistake. However, the current law has an age cap for those who are allowed to benefit from expungement. A bill which is currently being considered by the Wisconsin legislature focuses on trying to make expungement more accessible for those who have committed low-level offenses. If the new law is passed, expungement will not be exclusively available to those who are under the age of 25 at the time the offense was committed. The bill would also allow a longer time frame for expungement requests. Rather than requiring requests for expungement to be made at the time of sentencing, the law would permit requests to be made at a later date as long as a person has completed their sentence.

Contact a Milwaukee Criminal Defense Attorney

The much-needed reforms to the expungement laws in Wisconsin would provide more individuals with a second chance. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP we understand the difficulties that can come with a criminal conviction, and we are prepared to help you reduce the negative consequences that you may face. If you have questions about how you can apply for expungement of your criminal record, contact our experienced Milwaukee, WI expungement lawyers at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation.  






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