– from Brenda K. in Shorewood, WI
I have a 3rd degree felony on my record, and it is affecting my ability to get a job. What are the steps I need to take to get this expunged from my record? Can I do this myself or do I need to hire a criminal attorney? Thanks for your help.
Criminal Defense Attorney Response:
There are four things you need to do to accomplish this. First off before we start, you can do this yourself, but it is more likely to be successful as well as faster if you hire an experienced criminal lawyer to help you through the process.
1. The first step is to determine your eligibility. In general, you can have your criminal charge expunged when the arrest did not result in a conviction or probation. This means the charges were dismissed, there was an acquittal at your trial, the grand jury no-billed you, or you pled guilty to a Class C Special Expense. In all these cases you can likely get the felony expunged from your record.
2. The next step is to determine how long you must wait before it can be expunged from your record. If you were not acquitted at trial, normally you will need to wait until the statute of limitations runs out. The statue of limitations will vary depending on the charges. Typically statue of limitations in WI vary from 3-10 years.
3. Third, you must draft and file a petition with the civil district court. Your petition must include all details of your case. It must also include a comprehensive list of all the agencies with the records. This step will include a cost to you. Payment of a filing fee will need to be given to the district clerk. All agencies that hold records of the incident will need to be served copies of the paperwork.
4. The last step is getting a judge to sign your petition. This will require the district attorney and all agencies involved with the charge to agree to the expungement. If this does not happen there will be a hearing.
Hope this helps clarify the process. Again, I encourage you to contact a criminal lawyer to help you with this process.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.