The question of whether it’s possible to expunge DUI/OWI records in Milwaukee is one that weighs heavily on those who face charges. The repercussions of a DUI conviction can be far-reaching, affecting everything from job prospects to housing applications.
In Wisconsin, drunk driving offenses are treated with particular severity, appearing on your criminal record for life. While expungement may seem like an ideal solution, the reality is much more complex. This article looks at the intricacies of the expungement process, including if it’s possible in Milwaukee.
- What is Expungement?
- Understanding DUI/OWI Charges in Milwaukee
- The Expungement Process
- Is Expungement Possible in Milwaukee?
- The Role of an OWI Attorney
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Expungement?
Expungement allows an individual to have their criminal record erased in the eyes of the law. Once a conviction is expunged, it’s as though the crime never occurred in the court system.
However, specifics can vary by jurisdiction. In some cases, like Wisconsin, the records are not completely destroyed but are sealed and made inaccessible without a court order. It’s important to note that eligibility for expungement varies widely depending on the state or country’s laws.
2. Understanding DUI/OWI Charges in Milwaukee
In Wisconsin, charges related to drunk driving are typically referred to as OWI, which stands for Operating While Intoxicated. Drunk driving charges in Wisconsin stay on your criminal record for life. Penalties for OWI can escalate significantly with each subsequent offense. Additionally, certain situations, such as drunk driving with a child in the vehicle, can lead to more severe penalties like jail time.
3. The Expungement Process
The expungement process requires careful navigation. In Wisconsin, expungement of a conviction is requested at the time of sentencing. The judge then determines if you are eligible for expungement, typically considering whether you will benefit and society will not be harmed.
Eligibility often depends on the type of charge; it must generally be a misdemeanor, a first-time nonviolent felony, or a crime with a maximum sentence of six years. Additionally, you must have been under a certain age at the time of the offense. Successful completion of probation is also a prerequisite for expungement. Once these conditions are met, you can file for an expungement order in a state court.
4. Is Expungement Possible In Milwaukee?
While expungement is possible in Milwaukee, it comes with strict conditions and does not erase the charges from your life. Wisconsin law mandates that crimes must be a misdemeanor or a certain type of felony and that defendants must fulfill certain criteria to be eligible.
One unique aspect of Wisconsin law is that you must request for expungement at the time of sentencing. This means that before serving any time, a judge or OWI attorney must request expungement or the opportunity will be missed entirely.
Another criterion worth noting is that an expungement order in Wisconsin only seals court records from the public and cannot seal records held by other state agencies. This means the charges are still available from entities like the Wisconsin Crime Information Bureau and Wisconsin Online Record Checks System. Potential employers, schools, landlords, etc. can still access your expunged record through these state agencies.
So while expungement is possible in Milwaukee, anyone who asks for the information about your conviction from another agency may still be able to obtain it.
5. The Role of an OWI Attorney
OWI attorneys are well-versed in Wisconsin’s stringent drunk driving laws and can guide you through the complex legal landscape. They can help to navigate the nuances of your case, and if applicable, they can assist in the process of seeking expungement.
It’s critical to have an experienced OWI attorney who will know to request expungement during the time of your sentencing. Without an attorney fighting for you, your chance at expungement can be missed entirely.
For an OWI attorney in Milwaukee, look no further than Fenton Law. A leading criminal law firm in Milwaukee, Fenton Law has a team of dedicated lawyers fighting for your rights and working towards the best possible outcome for your case. Let us be your advocates in the expungement process and guide you toward a positive resolution. Call Fenton Law today.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
- What is expungement of a criminal record?
Expungement is a legal process that involves sealing or destroying criminal records, essentially removing them from the public. This allows individuals to have a fresh start and removes the stigma associated with having a criminal record.
- Is it possible to expunge DUI/OWI charges in Milwaukee?
Yes, it is possible to expunge DUI/OWI charges in Milwaukee, but a court does not seal records kept by other state agencies. So while the record will be wiped from court records, potential employers, schools, landlords, etc. can still access your expunged record through other state agencies.
- How long does a DUI/OWI stay on your record in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, a DUI/OWI conviction stays on your criminal record for life.
- What are the eligibility criteria for DUI/OWI record expungement in Milwaukee?
Eligibility for expungement of DUI/OWI records in Milwaukee may vary based on the specific circumstances of each case. Wisconsin law mandates that crimes must be a misdemeanor or felony with charges of less than 6 years jail time, and defendants must fulfill certain criteria including age requirements.
- Why is it important to hire an OWI attorney for expungement of DUI/OWI records?
An OWI attorney in Milwaukee is necessary for a successful expungement process. An OWI attorney will know to request expungement during the time of sentencing and whether you apply.
By Attorney Jay Fenton, Owner of Fenton Law Office
Jay Fenton is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee who goes above and beyond for his clients. He has successfully secured favorable outcomes in countless cases, from negotiating plea agreements to filing pre-trial motions and managing complex appeals. Attorney Fenton also has had tremendous success achieving not-guilty verdicts at trial. His dedication and aggressiveness make him one of the best attorneys around.