Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen 735 W. Wisconsin Ave., Twelfth Floor Milwaukee, WI 53233
Jeffrey W. Jensen is a criminal defense lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also a criminal appeals lawyer in Wisconsin.
Today on The Jensen Defense
The state of the expunction law:
Or what you may call the "expungement law".
Effective July 1, 2009, Sec. 971.015, Stats. (commonly-- but incorrectly-- called the "expungement" law) was amended to raise the age of eligibility to twenty-five years old, and it also made Class H and I felonies eligible. In the nearly five years since then, criminal defense lawyers have been flooded with calls from persons seeking to clean up their records. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these persons are not eligible.
Since the new law was implemented, the appellate courts have been called upon to interpret the proper application of the law. The interpretations handed down by the appellate courts have generally not been favorable to persons seeking expunction.
Firstly, in State v. Meinhart, 343 Wis. 2d 588 (2012), the court of appeals held that the amendments to the expunction statute do not apply retroactively to convictions that occurred prior to the effective date of the statute (July 1, 2009). Thus, if you have a felony conviction that occurred prior to that date, the conviction is categorically not eligible to be expunged.
Then, in State v. Matasek, 348 Wis. 2d 243 (2013), the court of appeals held that the expunction decision must be made at the time of sentencing. The issue cannot be raised later after the defendant has completed his sentence. Significantly, though, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has granted review. This could be a signal that, as a matter of public policy, the supreme court may permit courts to address the question of expunction after the defendant has completed the sentence.
Finally, in February, 2014, in State v. Hemp, 2014 WL 406642, final publication determination pending, the court of appeals held that even where expunction is ordered, it is incumbent upon the defendant to bring the matter to the court's attention once he has successfully completed his sentence in order to obtain the order of expunction. Hemp-- coincidentally-- picked up a new case for possession of marijuana. Only then did he seek to expunge the prior conviction, and the court denied his request because of the new case.
The take-away from this flurry of appellate litigation concerning the expunction statute is that: (1) make sure that your lawyer requests an expunction determination at the sentencing hearing; and, (2) if it is ordered, make sure that you apply for expunction immediately upon successful completion of your sentence.
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Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Jeffrey W. Jensen, of the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen, a Milwaukee law firm with offices located at 735 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Twelfth Floor, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has represented persons throughout the State of Wisconsin. If you will face felony charges in either state court or in federal court you should call 414.224.9484. Attorney Jensen regularly appears in Milwaukee County (Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer), Waukesha County (Waukesha criminal defense lawyer, Brookfield criminal defense lawyer), Washington County (West Bend and Germantown criminal defense lawyer), Racine County (Racine criminal defense lawyer), Kenosha County (Kenosha criminal defense lawyer), Brown County (Green Bay criminal defense lawyer), Fond du Lac County (Fond du Lac criminal defense lawyer), and Winnebago County (Oshkosh criminal defense lawyer)
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