Under Wisconsin law, those who commit a criminal offense can face serious consequences. However, many offenders are able to learn from their mistakes and avoid committing repeat offenses in the future. Unfortunately, even a single conviction can result in a public criminal record that can affect your employment opportunities and other facets of your life. If you are eligible, it may be in your best interests to pursue an expungement of your conviction to minimize its impact on your future.
Expungement Eligibility Criteria in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, a conviction can be expunged under the following circumstances:
- The offender was under the age of 25 when the offense was committed.
- The offender was convicted of a crime or violation with a maximum imprisonment sentence of six years or less.
- The offender successfully completed his or her sentence.
- The offender will benefit from the expungement, and society will not be harmed, based on the judgment of the court.
- The judge that sentenced you allowed for expunction at the time of sentencing.
Based on these criteria, most misdemeanor offenses can be expunged, as can many nonviolent Class H and I felonies, provided that you have no prior felony convictions. Your defense attorney can advise you as to whether you meet the expungement criteria and whether it is the best option for you. If so, we can make the case for expungement as the court considers your sentencing.
Results of an Expungement
If the court orders an expungement, it will generally take effect when you have successfully completed your sentence. An expungement means that the public record of your conviction is sealed and erased, which can protect you from the judgment of potential employers and others who may treat you differently due to the stigma of a criminal conviction.
You should be aware that an expunged conviction may still come into play under some circumstances if you are charged with a similar offense in the future. For example, an OWI conviction remains on your driving record, regardless of whether it is expunged from a public criminal record. In 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that an expunged OWI conviction can still be considered a prior offense when the court determines a sentence for a subsequent OWI offense.
Contact a Milwaukee Criminal Defense Attorney
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we believe that a criminal conviction should not have to affect you for the rest of your life. When you are facing criminal charges, we will work with you to consider all possible options, including pursuing a dismissal of the charges, a not guilty verdict, or an expungement, and we will advise you on the best course of action. Contact an experienced Milwaukee, WI expungement lawyer today at 414-271-1440.