In Wisconsin, the public is prohibited from viewing juvenile court records, except those for very serious offenses. Law enforcement agencies, court officials, and other individuals can also access juvenile records under certain circumstances. To ensure maximum confidentiality, you may be able to have your juvenile court record expunged, following the guidelines below.
Generally, expunged juvenile records are treated as though they never existed, though if you are later involved in another juvenile or adult criminal case, your expunged record may be considered for sentencing purposes. You are not required to disclose information about your expunged juvenile record to anyone -- for instance, to colleges or potential employers.
Does Your Juvenile Court Record Qualify for Expungement?
You may ask a court to expunge your juvenile court record. The court will grant your request if it finds that all of the following are true:
- you are at least seventeen years old
- you have met all the conditions of your dispositional order, and
- you will benefit from, and society will not be harmed by, the expungement.
If the offense was an invasion of privacy involving “looking into a private place” -- in other words, peeping -- for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification, the court must expunge your record if it was your first offense and you have satisfied all the terms of your dispositional order.
(Wisconsin Statutes § 938.355(4m).)
How to File
To expunge your juvenile court record, you must file a petition with the court in the county where your case was handled. For more information, contact the court clerk’s office.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement in Wisconsin -- or for help completing the necessary paperwork or presenting your case to the court -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.