Wisconsin arrest records are reports which contain details of any arrest, confinement, or temporary detention of an individual under investigation. Arrest records are created after apprehension by law enforcement and precede any trial or court action. In Wisconsin, most of these arrest records are generated and maintained by law enforcement and are publicly available following The Wisconsin Open Records Act. Wisconsin police departments generate these public arrest records and submit them to the Crime Information Bureau.
Arrest records only state that a person was arrested but not on the case's outcome. Also, an arrest record does not prove a person's guilt in connection with a particular crime. If the person were found not guilty of the charges they were arrested on, this would be indicated in their arrest record. An arrest record may also be modified, erased, or deleted under certain conditions.
Wisconsin Arrest Statistics
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) publishes statistical information collated through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. These use definitions of offenses and arrests defined by the FBI.
Data collected from various sources show that in Wisconsin, 1 in 341 arrests made are violent crimes. Among violent crimes reported, assault had the highest rate at 2%, followed by robbery with 0.51%, rape at 0.38%, and murder at 3%.
Statistics for property crimes show that 1 out of every 68 crimes committed in Wisconsin is property crime. Among these, theft has the highest rate, followed by burglary and motor vehicle theft, respectively.
Furthermore, according to data provided by the OCMH for under 18 crime rates in Wisconsin, disorderly conduct ranked the highest at 19%. Other arrests were for drug abuse (8%), larceny (12%), property crime (15%), and violent crime (3%).
According to the OCMH, Wisconsin youth have the highest arrest rate, with over three per hundred juveniles arrested in 2016. However, below one percent of those arrests ended in confinement. The FBI ranked Miluwakee as Wisconsin's most dangerous city, at No. 23.
However, as of 2021, Wisconsin's violent crime rate is 22%, below the national rate of 3.7 incidents per 1,000 people. This number is lower than the USA's average crime rate, and Wisconsin's safest cities enjoy some of the lowest reported crime numbers in the country. In the last three years, violent and property crimes have declined.
The property crime rate in Wisconsin is lower than the national rate by 30%, with 14.7 incidents per 1,000 people, compared to 21.1 nationwide.
What is an Arrest Record in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, an arrest record is a document showing information that a person has been detained, interrogated, taken into custody or detention, held for investigation, arrested, charged with, indicted, or tried for any felony, or misdemeanor, or other offense in violation of Wisconsin penal code.
The Centralized Criminal History (CCH) database features information regarding arrests, prosecution, and convictions. Wisconsin police departments generate these public arrest records and submit them to the Crime Information Bureau.
What is Contained in an Arrest Record?
Since arrest records are documents that detail the events preceding and immediately after an arrest, they usually serve as evidence in a court of law if an arrest leads to a hearing, The information captured in an arrest record is divided into:
- Biographical information of the alleged criminal: Full name, suspected aliases, age, birthplace, race, date of birth, height, race, sex, weight, hair color, state identification number, scars/marks/tattoos, eyes color, and social security number, etc.
- Arrest and booking information: A photograph (mugshot), fingerprints, booking number, time and date of the booking, date and time of arrest, incident area, arrest location, type of arrest, arresting agency, the amount for bail, time, and manner of release, date of hearing (if any), outstanding warrants (if any), etc.
- Crime information: Classification of the crime (juvenile, misdemeanor, felony, etc.), description of the criminal incident (supported by data obtained from witnesses and victims) are contained in this section. In addition to these, the victim area, the next court date, all criminal charges upon which an individual was held.
- Details about the police interrogation.
Are Arrest Records Public in Wisconsin?
Yes. Under The Wisconsin Open Records Act, state arrest records for adult criminals are made public. The open records law permits all government-generated documents and information to be made accessible to the public.
To request an arrest record, you may perform an arrest search on The Wisconsin Online Record Check System.
Alternatively, you can find these records by visiting the local Sheriff's office in Wisconsin, the arresting agency, or the local police website. Oftentimes, the requester is often required to pay a fee for transcribing, processing, shipping, reproducing copies of the police reports and court documents, etc.
Who Can Access Wisconsin Arrest Records?
In Wisconsin, adult criminal history information is considered public record and is theoretically accessible to anyone making a request. The subject of the record, an employer or a potential employer, their insurance company, a legal representative, victim, witness, government agency, bail bondsman, and other interested third parties, may access arrest records generated by local law enforcement agencies. However, under certain exemptions, access to police and prosecutor files may be delayed or even denied.
These guidelines restrict or deny access to the records if:
- The record belongs to a juvenile suspect. In such a scenario, only a parent, a person with a court order from the Juvenile Court, or any other party entitled to receive the record by law, may gain access to them.
- Release of the record or information will compromise the safety of a person involved in a criminal investigation.
- Release of the record or information will impede or compromise an investigation or related investigation.
- The record has been sealed or expunged.
- The pending court case stands resolved. As such, the arrest information has become part of a person's local criminal history. Hence, it no longer falls under the state's public record disclosure laws and can only be accessed by specific people and agencies.
How Do I Lookup Someone's Arrest Records in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin state law allows individuals other than the record holder to request public arrest records. The first point of inquiry should be at the local Sheriff's office or police department responsible for the arrest. Requesters can access public records either online or by sending a formal request to the record-holding department. However, due to COVID-19, some public offices may have limited office hours. As a result, it is advisable to call the offices beforehand or check their official website and obtain information about reviewing an arrest record.
State agencies differ, so expect some variation to the rules if you're accessing records from multiple places.
Alternatively, interested persons can carry out a name-based criminal record search on Wisconsin Online Records Check System to look up someone's arrest records in Wisconsin. First, the requester must create a user account. Then they submit the full names, dates of birth, and social security numbers for the criminal records they seek. After account approval, the applicant may perform a name-based criminal record search for a fee.
Interested persons may query the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access page to perform a free public criminal record check. Requesters must know the defendant's name and birth date for an accurate case search.
Generally, a public records request ought to contain:
- The legal name and any other contact information of the requester (including an email, phone number, and mailing address).
- The name and details of the document to be accessed.
- A specific period that you'd like to receive the materials.
- Mode of delivery, whether by email or hand mail.
How to Subpoena Arrest Records in Wisconsin
To subpoena an arrest record in Wisconsin, a person would have to fill out a form on the Wisconsin Court System Website or with the department of corrections.
A Subpoena is a written court order used to compel a person to go to court, submit evidence, give a testimony, a deposition, or other documents.
Subpoenaing an arrest report can be done through court order or an attorney representing a client. Even though arrest records are accessible to the public per Wisconsin's Open Records Act, a minor's personal information is concealed from public view to protect their identity. So, cases involving a minor will require a subpoena to obtain the document in its original form.
Furthermore, Wisconsin statutes restrict retrieval if the solicitor is imprisoned or mentally committed to records that contain distinct references to the requestor or their minor children. Thus, such documents might require a subpoena.
How to Search for Inmates in the Wisconsin Prison System
The Wisconsin prison system comprises state prisons, adult institutions, a division of juvenile correction, community corrections, county jails, and a division of management services.
Solicitors can do inmate searches offline if they know the actual state and county where the arrest occurred. They could also do it online via official and third-party channels. For an inmate housed within a Department of Corrections amenity, a petitioner may use the Inmate and Offender Search option to locate them in state prison. If you cannot find the inmate you seek, contact the jail in the county or city of conviction to inquire.
In the Wisconsin prison system, solicitors conducting inmate searches using the Inmate and Offender Search must fill out a form. They should have necessary details about the offender, such as:
- The inmate's full name
- DOC number
- Birth year
Another provision for searching inmate records in Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, a searchable sex offender registry. Here, it is possible to conduct searches using a name or geographical location parameters. You can also view images of the offender, their current address (unless they are incarcerated), details of the offense committed, and their court case status.
In addition, the Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS) performs inmate searches in Wisconsin via name-based searches or fingerprint searches. Name-based searches are quicker, cheaper, and more accessible. Name-based searches use non-unique identifying information, such as name and date of birth. Since multiple persons likely share a name and date of birth, this makes name-based searches less reliable than fingerprint-based.
How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Online Record Check is a tool designed for individuals or organizations to submit criminal background checks and retrieve results online.
A person can find out if someone was in jail or obtain general inmate information using the Wisconsin inmate records, an inmate locator tool provided by the Wisconsin Department of Correction. This website contains the location of inmates, as well as other data about past and present inmates.
After opening the site, the requester must fill out all fields in as much detail as possible. They are required to provide all relevant information possible to ease the search. Required information includes the inmate's name, year of birth, home address, and Department of Corrections(DOC ) number if available.
Searches can be filtered to fulfill specific parameters. For instance, to only reveal registered sex offenders.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Information Bureau (CIB) manages Wisconsin's central fingerprint-based criminal history archives. This Centralized Criminal History database contains detailed information on arrests, prosecution, and convictions maintained by the state department of corrections.
CIB further provides a means to clear up false matches which may result from name-based criminal history background checks. False matches can happen when two or more inmates have similar names and dates of birth). This process is commenced by submitting a Wisconsin Criminal History Challenge Form (DJ-LE-247) and a full set of fingerprints.
How Long Do Wisconsin Arrest Records Stay on File?
The nature of the crime committed will determine the applicable statute of limitations concerning the Arrest Records belonging to an individual.
A statute of limitations is a legal document dictating the amount of time that arrest records are considered to be valid and accessible. At the end of a particular statute of limitation regarding arrest records, those arrest records must be destroyed.
Previously, arrest records, once documented, will stay on Consolidated Court Action Programs (CCAP) forever. However, on March 30, 2018, The Director of State Courts and the WCCA (Wisconsin Circuit Court Access) Oversight Committee agreed that criminal cases ending in a dismissal or acquittal be removed from the CCAP after two years.
These changes also modify a few other non-criminal-type cases. Except as provided in SCR 72, the original paper records of any court shall remain with the court for the following minimum periods:
- Civil (CV) cases, not small claims: 20 years after final order.
- Judgment and order record: This has no statutory limit. The recordkeeping requirement was repealed by 1983 Wisconsin Act 303.
- Judgment docket. Twenty years after final docket entry.
- Criminal traffic (CT) cases 20 years.
- Family (FA) cases 30 years.
- Class A felony (CF) cases 75 years.
- Class B – I felony (CF) cases: 50 years.
- Forfeiture (FO) cases: 5 years.
- Misdemeanor (CM) cases: 20 years
- Traffic forfeiture (TR) cases: five years.
What is the Difference Between an Arrest Warrant and an Arrest Record?
An arrest warrant refers to an official notarized document issued to law enforcement agencies by judicial authorities. It gives law enforcement officers the necessary authorization to make a lawful arrest of the individual identified on the warrant. Before a judge or magistrate issues an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there exists probable cause for an arrest. Suppose an individual is identified on an arrest warrant issued in Wisconsin. In that case, they may be arrested anywhere in the state of Wisconsin. They may also be arrested outside Wisconsin and extradited to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin does not maintain a central repository for warrant searches. Thus, interested individuals should check county repositories for this record. Other valuable tools for anyone looking to carry out a Wisconsin warrant search are the DEA Fugitive Search tool and the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information.
An arrest record is a document produced by a law enforcement entity after an individual's arrest or detention. It contains the details of the incident, the individual's personal information, and sometimes, additional information about their criminal record.
The most conspicuous difference between an arrest warrant and an arrest record is that that arrest warrant authorizes law enforcement to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize said individual's property. In contrast, an arrest record is a record of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has occurred.
What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and a Criminal Record?
Though sometimes used interchangeably, an arrest record differs from a criminal record.
An arrest record indicates that law enforcement captured someone for a criminal offense. Such detention may or may not lead to criminal proceedings and convictions. Hence, descriptions of convictions or court sentences do not appear in an arrest record.
On the other hand, a criminal record, also called RAP (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions) sheet, is a record of an individual's entire criminal history, which lists all non-expunged criminal offenses. Created once a person has been fingerprinted and photographed for a criminal offense, it details an individual's complete criminal history. Criminal records contain official data sourced and gathered from local, county, and state jurisdictions, including law enforcement, state correctional facilities, and courts.
How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in Wisconsin?
The easiest way to view an arrest record for free in Wisconsin is to visit the local police website or the website of the county sheriffs for recent arrest information. Another option would be the use of The Wisconsin State Records Website.
Alternatively, an individual can obtain this information by visiting the local Sheriff's office in Wisconsin to search for records of the recent arrests. If there has been a court hearing, a requester might call the court to request relevant documents, including a transcript of the proceedings. This request might come at a small cost for reproduction.
How to Search for a Wisconsin Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service
Sometimes, obtaining a paper copy of an arrest record or finding it online through databases maintained by law enforcement agencies may pose a challenge. In such cases, individuals may employ third-party search services to acquire the information without delay or long processing times.
The state of Wisconsin does not restrict the use of third-party criminal history checks. The only condition is that the requestor follows federal laws established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to notify applicants.
To find a Wisconsin arrest record through a third-party search service, a requester will often need to navigate to the preferred site with their web browser. They will then input the record owner's first and last names into the indicated search fields on the site search. In most cases, requesters will be required to pay a one-time or monthly subscription fee.
What Must I Do if My Arrest Record Has a Mistake?
Suppose a person's arrest record contains inaccurate information. In that case, the first point of co should be to the arresting agency from which the document originates, i.e., the police department or Sheriff's office responsible for the alleged arrest.
Each agency has its way of handling such incidents. Some agencies have a form that concerned individuals can download, complete and submit online or in person. There may be an official fee for this service. If the record check was correct, this letter could then be sent to other agencies as proof of the mistake.
Often, the subject requesting a correction has the responsibility of showing that the previous information is incorrect. So after scheduling an appointment with the Sheriff's office, they will bring their driver's license and social security number and have their fingerprint taken. The Crime Scene Unit will then compare the subject's fingerprints with those on the arrest record. If there is no match, the unit then drafts and files the appropriate letter.
In other cases where erroneous information is due to a clerical error, individuals may prove the mistake by obtaining certified copies of the court documents. These certified copies will be gotten from the court clerk's office and show the correct information. When submitting this information to the appropriate agency, the individual should describe the information contained in the record and the accurate information.
How to Expunge Arrest Records in Wisconsin
Wisconsin laws allow adult criminal records to be deleted (erased or sealed) in minimal circumstances.
Per Wisconsin's state laws which are on the Wisconsin Department of Justice website, it may be possible to have some or all of a person's arrest record removed from the Wisconsin Criminal History Repository if:
- If a person was detained and released without any criminal charges or if the charges against them were dropped or dismissed
- If the person was under 25 years old at the time of committing the crime.
- If the crime carried a maximum period of imprisonment of six years or less, and
- Suppose the person has successfully fulfilled the terms of sentencing. Then, they must request an expungement at the time of their sentencing, and the court will then decide whether or not to grant the request.
- Suppose they were victims of human trafficking convicted of a prostitution offense. In that case, they might petition to have those convictions expunged at any time. (Wisconsin Statutes § 973.015.)
For an expungement petition, requestors must fill out the CR-266 form. Having met the requirements to request the removal of your fingerprint from the database, fill out the fingerprint removal request form.
Note that there is no fee required to remove arrest information from a person's record in Wisconsin. Sometimes, the arrest information being removed from a person's Wisconsin criminal history record is already in the custody of the FBI. Then, the FBI would be contacted to remove the information from their record.