Can my Criminal Record be Expunged?
Due to the public nature of most criminal court records, a single bad decision can result in a permanent, detrimental mark on a person’s record. Some states make these records more readily available than others. For example, individuals can search and view Wisconsin criminal records online, for free, through “Wisconsin Court System Circuit Court Access.” Colorado does not have a similar free database, however interested persons can search Colorado records online through paid vendors. In any state, individuals can also go to the clerk of court and request to view or copy a criminal record.
What is Expungement?
Due the detrimental nature of having a public criminal record, most States offer a procedure for having certain records expunged. Through engagement, a criminal case file is sealed, and cannot be viewed without a court order.
Am I Eligible for Expungement?
Wisconsin law allows expungement in two main situations:
1) Youthful offenders – Wis. Stat. §973.015
At the time of sentencing, a court may order that a record be expunged upon successful completion of the sentence where: (1) the offender is under the age of 25 at the time of the commission of the offense, (2) the offense carries a maximum imprisonment of 6 years or less, and (3) the court determines that the offender will benefit and society will not be harmed by the expungement.
If the offender was placed on probation or sentenced to serve jail or prison time, the clerk will automatically have the record expunged following successful completion of the sentence. Conversely, if the offender was only sentenced to pay a fine or restitution, the offender must request expumgement, upon successful completion of the sentence, using form CR-266.
2) Juvenile offenders under age 17 – Wis. Stat. §938.355(4m)
Upon turning 17, an offender who has been adjudged delinquent as a juvenile may petition the court for expungement of the juvenile adjudication where: (1) he has complied with the conditions of the dispositional order, and (2) the court determines that the juvenile will benefit from, and society will not be harmed by, the expungement.
To request expungement under this circumstance, an individual must file form JD-1780.
The court may also expunge a criminal record where an offender committed a commercial sex act as a victim of human trafficking under Wis. Stat. §973.015(2m). Beyond thee three situations, a judge has no authority to expunge any other type of record.
Colorado law only allows expungement in two circumstances:
1) Juvenile records (Under the age of 18) – §19-1-306, C.R.S.
Juvenile records may be expunged unless: (1) the offender committed an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior, (2) the offender was adjudicated as an aggravated or violent juvenile offender, (3) the offender received an adult sentence, or (4) the offender failed to pay restitution stemming from a juvenile conviction.
If these circumstances are not present, a juvenile offender may request to have his record expunged by filing a Petition for Expungement of Record, form JDF-302, available here. Depending on the case, the offender may be able to file the petition immediately, or may have to wait up to five years. To determine when a petition can be filed in your case, review form JDF-301, available here.
2) Underage Drinking and Driving – §42-4-1715, C.R.S.
Underage drinking and driving records may be expunged where the offender: (1) had a BAC between 0.02 and 0.05, (2) is over age 21 at the time of the expungement request, (3) has not been convicted for any other DUI offense while under the age of 21, (4) has paid any fines and has completed any requirements of his conviction, (5) has never held a commercial driver’s license, and (6) was not operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time he committed the offense.
An eligible offender may request expungement by filing form JDF-305, available here.
If your conviction does not qualify for expungement, you may have the option of requesting that your case be sealed. To speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your expungement options, contact the Alderman Law Firm today for your free consultation by calling 720-588-3529 (CO) or 608-620-3529 (WI).