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Expungements are very complex matters

A person who was convicted of a crime will sometimes wonder if there is a way to have the record of the conviction removed. The way that this can occur is through an expungement, but an expungement is only available in certain cases. Before you begin the process of seeking to have your records removed in this manner, you should understand some basic information about it.

One important factor that you should be aware of is that expungements are only possible if there was a conviction in the case. It isn't possible to have a case expunged if you were found not guilty or if charges were dropped.

Another factor you should know is that even expunged records can be retrieved if there is a court order to do so. That isn't something that is very common. The expunged records would not show up on a search on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website and no information would be given to someone who contacts the court directly with questions about the case.

There is one thing that an expungement can't do for a conviction. It won't automatically remove the record of the conviction from third-party websites and databases. This means that the record could be pulled up on those in some cases; however, the information wouldn't be able to be confirmed in an official manner since the court system's database would have the record expunged.

Because expungements only apply to specific cases, the first thing you should do is find out if your case is eligible. If it is, you can move forward with the process of petitioning the court to have it expunged.

Source: Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, "Expunging Court Records: Helpful Information and Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Nov. 24, 2016

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