Expungement in Wisconsin: What a Proposed Law Could Mean For Your Criminal Record

For those who have been charged with a crime, the feeling of having the handcuffs taken off is a freeing and empowering feeling, as well as an opportunity to move forward with their lives. Unfortunately, they may still face some hurdles. The lasting impact of a criminal charge can truly stay with an individual for years after being incarcerated.

A proposed law in Wisconsin could help change that for individuals who have turned their lives around and want to move forward as productive members of society.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is a powerful tool that gives individuals a new opportunity to move forward with their lives post-conviction. Basically, expungement is the process where an individual petitions to have their record cleared of non-violent, low-level offenses. Under Wisconsin's current expungement statute, Wis. Stat. §973.015, someone can only seek expungement under certain circumstances:

  • 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 requested (and were granted) an expungement at the time of your sentencing

What Are the Possible Changes to the Law?

The proposed changes to Wisconsin’s expungement law would essentially allow for more individuals to seek expungement. Under Assembly Bill 33, judges can still grant expungement during the time of sentencing. However, individuals who were denied expungement at this time can request it once they complete their sentence. If it is denied again, the person can request it every 2 years thereafter.

The bill would also eliminate the age restriction, which now limits expungement to crimes that occurred when the individual was under 25.

Many find it difficult to obtain jobs post-conviction since employers are easily able to obtain the information during a standard background check. AB33 would prohibit employers from asking whether a person had a conviction on their record that was later expunged.

The Assembly’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee voted in favor of the bill in March, and there will hopefully be full legislation changes occurring later this year.

Sometimes, even inherently good people can make mistakes or bad decisions. We believe in the opportunity to help these individuals move forward. If you want a chance at a clean slate, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Jason D. Baltz. We will work to help you post-conviction move forward with your life.

Contact our firm at (414) 375-0797 to discuss your case.