Moving on from your past can be a huge challenge when haunted by a criminal record.
Having a criminal record in Wisconsin can create a unique set of challenges – personally, financially, professionally and even academically.
However, before getting further, it's important to note that criminal record expungement is extremely rare in Wisconsin. It requires requesting an expungement at the time of sentencing, with the court deciding whether to grant your request at that time. Again, very, very few requests for expungement are ever granted in Wisconsin.
What is Expungement in Wisconsin?
To have your court record expunged simply means to have it cleared, erased or sealed.
However, the requirements to expunge a criminal record in Wisconsin are strict and the process is a complicated one.
How to Qualify for Expungement in Wisconsin
In order to be eligible for (again, not granted) expungement, there are a few requirements you must meet.
These eligibility requirements are outlined in Wisconsin Statute 973.051. In short, you must meet the following requirements when you were convicted of a criminal offense in order to be eligible to have the charge(s) expunged from your record:
- You were under age 25 when convicted
- Your sentence did not require over six years of imprisonment
- You have met all obligations of your sentence
Can Adults Get Charges Expunged in Wisconsin?
Although it is possible to have your record cleared in Wisconsin if you were charged under the age of 25, it can be more challenging if you were charged with a criminal offense at an older age. There are very limited options to have your adult record expunged in Wisconsin.
If you were arrested, but not convicted of a crime in Wisconsin, you might be eligible to get your record expunged. Be advised, getting charges expunged from your criminal record is not easily accomplished, and often impossible.
Expungement Does Not Excuse The Need to Disclose Your Offense
It's important to note, the rules for expungement differ from state to state.
If you were able to successfully clear your record by having charges expunged in Wisconsin, you are still required to disclose this information when it is requested.
What does this mean?
Basically, if you are asked if you have ever been charged with a criminal offense on an application for a job, a loan, college acceptance or other purposes, you are required under Wisconsin law to disclose or provide that information.