What is a Removal?
Removal deletes the arrest information from the Department of Justice records, but it has no effect on court or police records.The Wisconsin Crime Information Bureau (CIB) handles removals.
Who is Eligible for a Removal?
You are eligible to have arrest information removed if the charges were dismissed or not prosecuted, you were released without charges being filed, or you were found not guilty or acquitted by a court.
You are not eligible for removal in any of these situations:
- If the charges were part of an arrest "event," and some charges arising out of that event are not eligible for removal (all charges must be eligible);
- If the arrest involved "custody transactions": warrants, probation violations, or extradition;
- If the information was already expunged by a court;
- If the offense resulted in a conviction, and the court agreed to expunge the record if you successfully completed all conditions of your sentence;
- If first-offender or youthful-offender status controlled the disposition of the charges, and the charges were not dismissed; or
- If the charges were amended to a lesser offense.
If you are uncertain whether you are eligible for a removal, consult with an attorney.
What Effect Does a Removal Have?
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) removes an arrest record from its files. If the arrest information was reported to the FBI, the DOJ will notify the FBI to remove that record from its files. The DOJ's removal has no effect on court or police records. These records remain and are accessible by law enforcement and courts.
Once a record is removed, it cannot be considered at a later sentencing, for impeachment at a trial, or for enhanced sentencing. Employers cannot use a removed record to show that the offense is "substantially related" to a job. In other words, an employer cannot deny employment based on a removed record.
When Can I Apply for a Removal?
You can apply for removal of arrest information at any time. In some cases, the process for removal is almost automatic.
How Do I Apply for a Removal?
Here are the three steps to apply for a record removal:
- Complete the “Wisconsin Fingerprint Record Removal " form. To access the form and instructions, visit the Wisconsin's Crime Information Bureau (CIB) website here: Wisconsin Fingerprint Record Removal Request
- Make copies of everything.
- Send the completed form and fingerprint card to the CIB address here:
Crime Information Bureau
Attn: Criminal History Unit
P.O. Box 2718
Madison, WI 53701-2718
There is no fee.
More Information About a Removal
For more information about removal in Wisconsin, call Wisconsin's Criminal History Unit at (608) 266-7314 or the unit supervisor at (608) 261-6267/(608) 266-0872. To access published forms and helpful brochures, visit the Office of Court Operations website here: Removal of Arrest Information.
The Papillon Foundation - Wisconsin Criminal Record Resources
Collateral Consequences Resource Center
Wisconsin Circuit Court
Wisconsin Court System
Wisconsin Department of Justice
State Bar of Wisconsin