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Milwaukee, WI criminal record expungement attorney

 By Ray Dall’Osto & Erin Strohbehn

So far in 2019, Wisconsin has seen the beginning of the reinstitution of pardon policy by the Governor and passage of an expungement reform bill by the state Assembly. If approved by the state Senate, this bill would expand the age range in which expungements are available to previous offenders and go a long way to address unnecessary restrictions that have been placed on expungement petitions by several court of appeals decisions. A Pardon Advisory Board was named by Governor Evers this summer, which will help to facilitate the pardon process, and will allow pardons to be considered and approved, for the first time in over eight years.

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Milwaukee criminal lawyers for expungement

By Attorney Brianna Meyer

Under 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.

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Milwaukee, WI criminal record expungement lawyerBy Bri Meyer and Jason Findling

After receiving overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats, Wisconsin lawmakers have continued to push for legislation that would allow more people to seek expungement. The bill is called the “Pathways to Employment,” a title that illustrates the purpose behind the proposed law: to help former non-violent offenders transition from prison into the workforce. The Pathways to Employment bill is designed to provide persons convicted of lower-level crimes with a second chance at life and also seeks to reduce Wisconsin’s labor shortage.

Expungement involves a person petitioning to have his or her criminal convictions expunged, or cleared from the public court record. Because a criminal record can hinder a person’s ability to secure housing, employment, financial aid, and other opportunities that require a background check, this new expungement law truly provides people with a second chance. Since the Pathways to Employment bill passed at the committee level with bipartisan support in both chambers, supporters believe that this bill will soon become law. A full vote to determine whether this expungement bill will become law is scheduled to take place in May. 

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Milwaukee expungement attorneyBy Brianna Meyer and Raymond Dall'Osto

Expungement is a powerful tool to help provide a second chance for those convicted of criminal charges. For that reason, it is highly sought by many who wish to clear their criminal records. The Wisconsin Legislature has before it and is currently considering a bill that would make more people eligible to have their records expunged and provide some necessary reforms to overcome obstacles to expungement that have been imposed by a series of court of appeals decisions over the past several years. 

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is the removal of certain criminal convictions or juvenile court records from official state records, which include the official court record, possibly the state’s online court record system (CCAP), and the arrest records kept by the Dept. of Justice Crime Information Bureau in Madison.  Under Wisconsin law, to expunge is “to strike or obliterate from the record all references to the defendant’s name and identity.”  Expungement of a criminal record allows someone arrested on criminal charges or convicted of a crime to have a clean start with regard to that case.  

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, defendant rightsWhen charged with a violent crime in Wisconsin, defendants must submit to a sample of their DNA to be collected, stored, and cataloged in a state database. Those records stay there, even if the individual’s charges are ultimately dismissed by a judge.  This has some lawmakers concerned about the privacy rights of non-convicted individuals. A bill, set to be presented to the Senate in 2016, is an attempt to remedy the issue.

History of the DNA Database

In 2013  Governor Scott Walker and the state’s Attorney General introduced the idea of a state database containing DNA evidence of those arrested for violent felony offenses.. Representative Dean Knudson and other lawmakers raised concerns over the privacy rights of those that were ultimately vindicated from criminal charges, but nothing was done about these concerns at that time.

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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.

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