Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

Are you looking to clear your criminal record in Wisconsin? Understanding the expungement process is crucial for anyone who wants to improve their chances for better employment, housing, and educational opportunities. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about “Expungement Wisconsin,” including eligibility, the process, costs, and necessary forms.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is the legal process of sealing or erasing a criminal record from public view. In Wisconsin, expungement allows individuals to legally claim that they have not been convicted of the crime that was expunged. This process is crucial for those looking to move past a previous conviction and improve their quality of life.

Benefits of Expungement in Wisconsin

Expungement offers numerous benefits that can significantly impact various aspects of an individual’s life. Here’s how expungement can help:

Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

Employment Opportunities

  • Better Job Prospects: Many employers conduct background checks. An expunged record means your past convictions will not appear, opening up a broader range of job opportunities.
  • Professional Licensing: Certain professions require clean records. Expungement can be essential for qualifying for professional licenses.

Housing Opportunities

  • Rental Applications: Landlords often reject applicants with criminal records. Expungement can increase your chances of securing rental housing.
  • Eligibility for Public Housing: Some public housing policies exclude individuals with certain types of criminal records. Expungement can restore eligibility.

Peace of Mind

  • Reduced Stigma: Living with a criminal record can be stressful and embarrassing. Expungement can alleviate the emotional burden and stigma associated with past convictions.
  • Privacy: Expungement helps protect your privacy by removing your criminal record from public databases.

Restoration of Rights

  • Voting Rights: In some cases, expungement can restore voting rights that were lost due to a felony conviction.
  • Jury Service: Expungement might restore your eligibility to serve on a jury, depending on state laws.

Who Can Clear Their Record in Wisconsin?

Clearing your record in Wisconsin, also known as expungement, is a way to remove your criminal record from public view. Here’s a simple guide to see if you might be able to clear your record:

Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

When You Were Convicted and Your Age

  • If Your Conviction Was Before July 1, 2009:You can clear your record if it was for a minor crime, known as a misdemeanor, and you were younger than 21 years old when you did it.
  • If Your Conviction Was On or After July 1, 2009:You can try to clear your record for both minor crimes and some less serious felonies, as long as they were nonviolent.

After You’ve Finished Your Sentence

  • You must have done everything the court ordered you to do, such as:Probation: You followed all the rules of your probation.
  • Jail or Prison Time: You served all the time you were supposed to.
  • Fines and Restitution: You paid all the money you owed for fines or to people you may have hurt.

Types of Crimes That Can Be Cleared

  • Not every crime can be cleared. Usually, you can clear:Minor Crimes: These are called misdemeanors.
  • Some Less Serious Felonies: But only if they were nonviolent and you haven’t done them before.

If You Were Young When Convicted

  • Age 17 or Older: If you got in trouble as a kid, you can ask to clear your record once you turn 17.
  • Type of Crime: It could be a minor crime or a more serious one, as long as you’ve done everything the court asked you to do.

Remember, clearing your record can help you get better jobs, find a place to live, and give you a fresh start. If you think you might be able to clear your record, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer who can help you understand your options.

How Does the Expungement Process Work in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin’s approach to expungement is proactive and begins at the time of sentencing, making it unique compared to other states. Here’s how the process typically unfolds:

At Sentencing

  • Judicial Review: The judge will assess your eligibility for expungement during your sentencing hearing.
  • Future Conditions: If deemed eligible, the judge will set conditions that, once met, will lead to the sealing of your record.


  • Completion of Conditions: After you have met all the conditions set during sentencing (such as completing probation or paying fines), you can move forward with the expungement.
  • Application for Expungement:: If your sentence did not include incarceration, you’ll need to apply for expungement using specific forms available from the Wisconsin court system.

Expungement Wisconsin: Detailed Costs and Process

Seeking expungement in Wisconsin can be a life-changing step towards a brighter future. It’s essential to understand the costs, timeframes, and additional considerations involved in the process. This expanded guide will provide you with a comprehensive look at what to expect financially and procedurally when pursuing “Expungement Wisconsin.”

Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

Attorney Fees for Expungement

Legal representation plays a pivotal role in the expungement process. Here’s a closer look at attorney fees: 

  • Fee Variability: Attorney fees can vary widely, typically ranging from $400 to $4,000.
  • Factors Affecting Cost:: More complex cases, such as those with multiple charges, may incur higher fees.

Court Costs and Filing Fees

Court-related expenses are an unavoidable part of the expungement process:

  • Expected Range: These fees generally range from $100 to $400.
  • Payment Details: Court costs and filing fees are usually required when you submit your expungement petition.

Timeframe for Expungement in Wisconsin

The duration of the expungement process can impact your planning:

  • Typical Duration: The process can take several weeks to a few months, depending on the court’s schedule and the specifics of your case.
  • Automatic Sealing: For some misdemeanors, records may be sealed automatically three years after completion of the sentence, which can simplify and shorten the process.

Necessary Forms for Expungement

Proper documentation is key to a successful expungement application:

Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

  • CR-266: This form is necessary for individuals who were not sentenced to probation or incarceration but may have other penalties such as fines.
  • JD-1780: Juveniles seeking to expunge their records will need to fill out this form.

Additional Considerations

When budgeting for expungement, keep these points in mind:

Understanding Expungement in Wisconsin: A Clear Guide

  • Opposition to Expungement: Be prepared for possible resistance from prosecutors or other parties, which could complicate the process.
  • Value of Legal Assistance: While not required, having an attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the expungement process.

Final Thoughts

The journey to expungement in Wisconsin is an investment in your future. While costs can vary, being well-informed about the potential expenses, timeframes, and legal procedures will help you navigate the process with confidence. Remember, expungement can unlock new opportunities and provide a clean slate. If you’re ready to take this step, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge you need for “Expungement Wisconsin.”

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and is provided as is without any guarantee of accuracy. If you need a professional legal opinion, click here to send in your legal request.

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