Misdemeanor Classes in Wisconsin
Even though misdemeanors are not as severe as felonies, they are not without consequences. The state of Wisconsin categorizes these penalties into various misdemeanor classes. Those convicted of felonies are imprisoned in state or federal prisons or penitentiaries, while those convicted of misdemeanors are imprisoned in county or local jails.
The Class A Misdemeanor is the most serious and severe of all misdemeanors. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment in a county jail facility for up to nine months, or both the fine and the imprisonment combined. If a person is found to be a repeat offender, their sentence may be increased to two years rather than nine months.
Class B misdemeanors can result in fines of up to $1,000, jail terms of up to ninety days in a county jail, or both the jail sentence and fine combined. For repeat offenders, the jail sentence for Class B Misdemeanors can be increased to two years in prison over ninety days.
Class C misdemeanors are the final misdemeanor classification in Wisconsin. Class C misdemeanors can result in fines of up to $500, imprisonment in a county jail facility for up to thirty days, or both a jail sentence and a fine. Repeat offenders can face up to two years in prison instead of thirty days.
Misdemeanor Expungement in Wisconsin
Expungement is the legal process by which a person’s criminal conviction is sealed. When it comes to expungement, sealed means erased. The prior conviction or convictions are removed from public record after the court orders an expungement. An individual must petition the court in order to have his or her case expunged.
Expungement is frequently granted to those with juvenile records so that they can live a clean life free of the burden of previous convictions. This allows for clean records for job applications and licensing applications.
When a criminal conviction is expunged, it is sealed and removed from the circuit court website. A pardon is an alternative to an expungement, but it is very different. The Governor of Wisconsin issues a pardon, whereas the court issues an expungement.
Eligibility for Expungement
Even though expungement is a legal option, it is not a guaranteed legal right under Wisconsin law. The court is not obligated to grant an expungement simply because one is requested.
The court will consider ordering an expungement only under particular conditions: the individual was under the age of twenty-one at the time the crime was committed; the criminal conviction was not greater than a misdemeanor; the individual convicted has completed his or her sentence fully; all probationary time has been served; all fines have been paid in full; the convicted individual will benefit from the granting of an expungement; the individual has not been convicted of any other criminal offense — either misdemeanor or felony — since the crime up for expungement has been committed; and the society as a whole will not be harmed by the granting of the expungement.