Milwaukee Minor Expungement Attorneys

Anyone who has a juvenile criminal record knows that mistakes during their reckless youth can significantly impact their future chances for employment and other opportunities for years to come. Having a mark on your criminal record can be unfair, given that many people change significantly after adolescence.

Fortunately, Wisconsin’s criminal statute 938.355(4m) allows for juveniles to petition the court for an expungement of their adjudication once they reach 17 years of age. The court could expunge the criminal record if it determines that the person has complied with all of the conditions of their dispositional order and that the person will benefit from the expungement without having a negative impact on society.

Protect your child’s future by working with an experienced, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer to get their adjudication expunged. Contact Hart Powell, S.C. today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the case and how we can help clear their record.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is when a person’s charge or conviction is completely removed from the state or federal record. This means that after expungement, both the person’s criminal record and the public record will no longer contain any mention of the charge or conviction. If your case has been expunged, and you are asked if you have ever been charged or convicted of a crime, you can honestly and honorably answer “No.”

All decisions about expungement occur at the state level. Each state has different laws about how to apply for expungement, how long a person must wait to have records expunged, and which offenses will be expunged. At Hart Powell, S.C., we are closely familiar with the Wisconsin state laws about expungement and can help you navigate through the complicated nuances of the state legal system.

What Does Expungement Not Mean?

Keep in mind that expungement is not the removal of any mention of your crime from the public domain. Traces of your criminal history could remain in the news media, social media, search engines, or even arrest reports. Expungement only guarantees removal from the state and federal records. You shouldn’t expect any privacy protection measures to be taken on your behalf if your case is expunged.

Also, expungement is not the same thing as “forgiveness,” or legal pardon. Legal pardon is when a public official (like a mayor or the president) publicly grants you forgiveness for your crime, which can soften the impact of your conviction, although it doesn’t remove the crime from your record. Expungement, on the other hand, is when a judge or court removes the conviction off your record.

In addition, “sealed” records and “expunged” records are two different things. Some records qualify to be “sealed,” meaning that the public can no longer access them, but that the criminal justice system can. If you apply for a government position, apply to school, or engage in some other endeavor that requires a more in-depth background check, those reviewing your application can request information about your record from a criminal justice agency if your record is only “sealed.”

Lastly, expungement does not mean that the expunged cases on your record will never be seen by anyone ever again. The general public and most employers will not be able to see them, which should be helpful in obtaining employment, applying for housing options, or seeking a license. However, if you apply to work in law enforcement, the military, or other high-clearance government positions, certain agencies will be able to see the expunged items on your record.

The State Attorney will also be able to see your record if you are brought to trial again. Lastly, immigration officers can see a veiled version of your record if you are applying for changed immigration status or immigration benefits – however, they can only see that you were arrested and expunged, not the details of your charge.

What Types of Crimes Do Not Qualify for Expungement?

If you were convicted of first-degree murder or sexual offenses that require registration as a sex offender before you are 18, you will not qualify for expungement for those particular charges. Most other juvenile cases qualify for expungement.

Previously, if you were convicted as an adult before you had expunged crimes on your juvenile record, you would not have been able to expunge your juvenile record after that point. However, this policy has been altered, and you can now expunge Class B and C misdemeanors from your juvenile record, even after you have been convicted as an adult.

However, you are not entitled to expungement if you have an adult conviction – it becomes the discretion of a judge whether to grant it or not. You will also never be able to expunge Class A misdemeanors or felonies if you have been convicted as an adult. For this reason, we encourage you to apply for expungement as soon as possible with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.

What Do I Do to Get A Juvenile Case Expunged?

In most cases, you’ll need to apply for expungement, or your lawyer will need to make a motion for you to be expunged in court – it won’t be automatic. You should give the expungement application process at least five months, although it sometimes takes longer.

Understanding at what point you qualify for expungement, and what you are required to report after your case has been expunged can be complicated. We highly recommend that you work with a legal expert. We’ll help you determine the best way to get your criminal record as clean as possible, as quickly as possible. At Hart Powell, S.C., we are more than happy to review your case for you.

A qualified attorney can help you:

• Make a motion in court for your record to be expunged (if your case is not yet closed)
• Do a background check to inform you of which particular charges are on your record
• Advise you on which cases are eligible for expungement and which ought to be sealed instead
• Advise you at what time you are eligible to apply for expungement
• Help you file the proper application paperwork for expungement
• Fight a State Attorney’s decision if they decide to not grant you an expungement
• Ensure that your records are truly cleared after expungement has been granted
• Advise you on how to handle situations in which an agency might ask about or be able to see your expunged record, such as applying to a law enforcement position or seeking a change in immigration status

When your criminal record has such a huge impact on your life and the opportunities available to you, don’t leave the handling of your record to just any team of lawyers. At Hart Powell, S.C., we are committed to fair fees, complete honesty, and treating you and your case as unique and worthy of our absolute effort.

Imagine a world in which you are no longer haunted by the mistakes or misfortunes of your past. Take your first step out of the shadows and into the light of your bright future – call us today at (414) 271-9595 to set up your risk-free consultation!

Written by Michael Hart & Craig Powell

Last Updated : May 20, 2021