Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Wisconsin

Wisconsin allows adult criminal records to be expunged -- that is, erased or sealed -- in very limited circumstances.

Wisconsin allows adult criminal records to be expunged—that is erased or sealed—in very limited circumstances. If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime, it may be possible to have some or all of your arrest record removed from the Wisconsin Criminal History Repository. If you were convicted of a minor offense when you were under the age of 25, a court may have the authority to expunge that conviction.

If a court does agree to expunge your record, potential employers may not consider the expunged record—even if it the expunged offense is related to the job you are applying for.

Below is a summary of Wisconsin’s state laws governing expungement.

Removal of Arrest Information

If you were arrested and released without being charged with a crime—or if the charges against you were dropped or dismissed—you may be able to have the arrest removed from your record. (For more information, see Section 165.84(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes and visit the Wisconsin Department of Justice website.)

Expunging a Criminal Conviction

In Wisconsin, a court may expunge your conviction record only if:

  • you were under the age of 25 at the time you committed the crime
  • the crime carried a maximum period of imprisonment of six years or less, and
  • you successfully completed the terms of your sentence.

(Wisconsin Statutes § 973.015.)

You must request an expungement at the time of your sentencing, and the court must decide whether to grant your request at that time.

Victims of Human Trafficking

If you were convicted of a prostitution offense because you were a victim of human trafficking, you may petition to have those convictions expunged at any time. (Wisconsin Statutes § 973.015.)

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up a criminal history can be complicated. In Wisconsin, you may want to begin with the pamphlet called Expunging Court Records. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement, or if you need advice about your personal situation, contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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