Adams Law Group, llc

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Gives Guidance for Expungement

Last month in State v. Meinhardt,Wisconsin’s Second District Court of Appeals articulated the standard for a defendant to expunge a criminal conviction.  The decision contains no surprises as Wisconsin’s recently expanded expungement statute, § 973.015(1)(a), is relatively clear. Defendants seeking to expunge a conviction must be:

1. Under 25 years old at the time the offense occurred.

2. Have been convicted of a misdemeanor, or Class H or I felony.

3. Been allowed by their sentencing judge to seek expungement at the time of sentencing.

4. Have completed the terms of his or her probation.

Unfortunately for defendants, the statute does not allow for retroactive application. That means those convicted before July 1, 2009 must have been under the age of 21 at the time of their offense occurred. This was the reach of the pre-2009 expungement law.

Another unfortunate aspect of the law–those who were charged with a crime only to have it “dropped” or dismissed have no remedy to remove CCAP records of the incident.

Open question–whether a defendant who is convicted of a lesser county offense (known as a civil forfeiture) can have these convictions expunged.

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