Wisconsin Criminal Records
What Defines a Criminal Record in Wisconsin?
Criminal records provide a comprehensive overview of an individual’s criminal history. They contain official data sourced, assembled and compiled from local, county and state jurisdiction, including courts, law enforcement departments, and state correctional facilities. While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, the majority of Wisconsin criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report.
What is an Arrest Record?
Arrest records provide information about a subject’s arrest history. It documents if a subject has been questioned, taken into custody, apprehended, or arrested or investigation. Arrest records may also detail the charges leading to the arrest. In the state of Wisconsin, a person can be arrested once they commit a misdemeanor, a felony or a repeated traffic violation.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is an official document that is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state law enforcement department. It authorizes a police officer to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warranty.
Can Arrests be made without a Warrant?
In Wisconsin, police officers are permitted to make warrantless arrests. This often occurs when the officer has reasonable cause to suspect a person has committed a crime or witnessed a person committing a crime.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors belong to a category of non-indictable offenses that are generally less severe than felonies. Common examples of crimes that rank as misdemeanors in Wisconsin include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Sexual battery
- Violation of a restraining order
- Possession of stolen goods
- Resisting a police officer
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Concealment of goods
- Violation of city codes
- Simple possession of marijuana
Wisconsin laws divide misdemeanor charges into multiple classes to describe the severity of the alleged crime, where Class A misdemeanors are the most severe and Class C are the least severe.
- Class A misdemeanors are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment, not more than 9 months
- Class B misdemeanors are punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment not more than 90 days
- Class C misdemeanors are punishable by fines of up to $500 and/or imprisonment not more than 30 days
What are Felonies?
Felony crimes are the most serious type of offense. Crimes in this category are punishable with the possibility of incarceration, served in a county jail or state prison. Some felony convictions are punishable by life imprisonment or death. Wisconsin laws divide into felonies into 9 classes based on the severity of punishment for each group.
- Class A felonies are crimes punishable death or life with/without parole
- Class B1 felonies consist of crimes punishable by up to 60 years
- Class C felonies include crimes punishable for up to 40 years
- Class D felonies include crimes punishable for up to 25 years
- Class E felonies include crimes punishable for up to 15 years
- Class F felonies include crimes punishable for up to 12 years
- Class G felonies include crimes punishable for up to 10 years
- Class H felonies include crimes punishable for up to 6 years
- Class I felonies include crimes punishable for 3 years and six months
What is a Sex Offender Listing?
Wisconsin’s sex offender listing is a public registry that provides data on persons who were convicted of committing a sex crime. Residents of the state can search the registry by name or address. Searches can also be conducted by zip code to identify sex offenders living nearby.
Do Registered Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors?
Although sex offenders aren’t required to directly notify neighbors, residents of Wisconsin can receive instant notifications on the proximity of sex offenders by signing up for the email alert system managed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Sex Offender Registration Program (SORP). Wisconsin laws mandate the registration of an inmate convicted of certain sex offenses with the local county sheriff. Judges are also given discretion as to whether they require registration for crimes besides the charges listed under the sex offender registration law. A judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender if the crime they were convicted of involves sexual motivation.
What is Megan’s Law
Megan's Law in Wisconsin is an informal term used to describe the sex offender laws created by the state, which mandate the creation and maintenance of a sex offender registry that is open to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government implemented a requirement that all states establish registries and provide the public with information about those registered. In Wisconsin, the law applies to any person convicted of a reportable offense on or after January 1, 1996, or who is released from prison on or after that date. Failure to register is a crime.
What are Serious Traffic Violations?
Serious traffic violations in Wisconsin consist of moving and non-moving offenses that lead to death, serious bodily injury, or willful disregard for public safety. Multiple minor traffic violations may also lead to a serious traffic violation. Examples of serious traffic violations in Wisconsin include:
- Reckless Driving
- Hit and runs
- Driving above the speed limit
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license
What are Wisconsin Conviction Records?
A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges can be classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. A conviction also includes when a person has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
What are Inmate Records?
Inmate records provide official information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. It includes general details such as:
- The inmate’s full name and any known aliases
- Physical descriptors
- Inmate’s DOC number
- Racial identification
- Details of the prison sentence
- Convicted offense
- Court file number
- Maximum sentence length
- Conviction type
- Assigned location
- Parole board jurisdiction date
How do I Find Out if someone is in Jail in State?
Wisconsin, like most states, has a Department of Corrections database, which can be accessed by members of the public. It provides public records of inmates who are incarcerated in facilities managed by the Wisconsin DOC. Members of the public can search for records using a known name or DOC number. Information can also be obtained by sending a request to the:
Department of Corrections
P. O. Box 7925
Madison, WI 53707-7925
Who is an Inmate?
A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone who has been deprived of his/her civil liberties and is on trial for a crime or is serving, after being convicted of a crime
What are Parole Records?
Parole records contain an overview of official data on convicted persons who have agreed to certain conditions prior to the completion of their maximum sentence.
What are Probation Records?
Probation records contain the official details of persons who receive probation as an alternative to a period in prison. It allows convicted offenders to serve out their sentences out of custody, as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime. The length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case.
What are Juvenile Records?
Juvenile criminal records provide official data of crimes committed by individuals who are not yet of legal adult age. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
Are Juvenile Records Public in State?
The inspection of Juvenile records in Wisconsin is limited by law to only a group of people. Access to juvenile records is only provided for the following:
- Service providers on the case
- Judge of the juvenile court or persons working under the judge’s direction
- The youth
- Parents or guardians of the youth
- Individuals intervening on behalf of the unit during a proceeding
- The DA’s office
- The Juvenile department
Wisconsin History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Wisconsin criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data started to be centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past, but in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer. As a result, the information provided on StateRecords.org may vary from person to person.