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Expungement in Wisconsin

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal recordOne of the most difficult parts of a criminal conviction is the continuing existence of a criminal record. Long after people have served their time and reformed themselves, they can still find their criminal record holding them back, preventing them from getting work, housing, or state licensing. Wisconsin law does allow for people to have their criminal records expunged in certain circumstances. However, it is important to note that Wisconsin's laws on expungement are particularly harsh. They do not provide as many benefits as some states' laws do, and they can also only be accessed for a limited number of reasons.

How Expungement Works

Expungements in Wisconsin are available to only a limited group of people, usually those who committed their crimes as juveniles or young adults. In order to qualify for an expungement, a person must meet four criteria. First, they must have committed the crime while they were under the age of 25. Second, the crime must be a misdemeanor or certain low-level, non-violent felonies. Third, the person must have successfully completed their sentence, which includes things like complying with the terms of probation following a release from prison. Fourth, the court must determine that the offender stands to benefit from an expungement and that such an expungement would not go against the public interest.

Importantly, just because a court determines at the time of sentencing that a person would be eligible for expungement upon a successful completion, does not mean that an expungement has occurred. Instead, people seeking an expungement will need to file a petition with the courts to ensure that the expungement goes onto their file.

Removal of Arrest Information

People seeking to have their records expunged in Wisconsin should also be aware that an expungement does not actually prevent employers from seeing that the person has a criminal conviction on their record. In order to prevent that, a person would need to seek a removal of arrest information. However, such removals are even more difficult to qualify for. This is because being convicted of a crime eliminates a person's eligibility for removal.

People can only qualify to have their arrest information removed from the criminal record database in one of three cases: (1) if they were found not guilty by a court; (2) if they had their charges dropped by the prosecutor; and (3) if no charges were ever filed against them. If a person meets one of these three criteria, then they can petition the Wisconsin Department of Justice to have their arrest information removed.

A criminal conviction can affect the entire course of a person's life. If you have been charged with a crime and would like to learn more about the options available to you, contact a skilled Milwaukee criminal defense attorney today.

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