Expunging a court record means the court seals the entire criminal case file, both paper and electronic, and will not allow anyone to access the file unless they have a court order.
The court can expunge criminal records in only two circumstances:
- For crimes carrying a 6-year or less maximum period of imprisonment, committed by a person under age 25, where the sentence is successfully completed (Wisconsin Statute § 973.015). At sentencing, the court will order that the record be expunged when the defendant successfully completes their sentence.
- In juvenile cases when the juvenile reaches age 17 and has satisfactorily complied with the conditions of their dispositional order (Wis. Stat. § 938.355(4m)). Upon reaching age 17, the person must petition the court to expunge the record.
Other than these two situations, a judge has no authority or power to expunge other types of cases. For example, there is no authority to expunge traffic forfeitures, civil cases, or small claims cases.
Forms to request expunction of the court record for an adult conviction or a juvenile adjudication can be found at http://wicourts.gov/forms1/circuit/index.htm.