Definition of Wyoming Expungement
In Wyoming, expungement does not always imply the physical destruction of criminal files, as is commonly assumed. Expungement is the symbolic destruction of criminal files so that they are no longer accessible to the general public. Expunged files in Wyoming are kept by the state central repository of the criminal investigation division. They are specially filed here to ensure that the criminal record contained within is not accessible for dissemination purposes. Following expungement, the only people who will have access to these files are those from any federal or state criminal justice agency for criminal justice purposes. When criminal records are destroyed, they are destroyed in both paper and electronic form.
When a record is sealed, it is not destroyed; however, according to Wyoming Statutes 14-6-240, fingerprints, DNA samples, and related identifying records are destroyed. These are typically juveniles with no adjudicated guilty records for felony offenses.
Eligibility for Expungement
Only a few people are eligible for record expungement. Wyoming law allows for the sealing of juvenile adjudicated delinquent files, which can include misdemeanors and municipal ordinance violations. Record sealing is an option for people over the age of eight who have not been convicted of a felony since their arrest. To the satisfaction of the court and the prosecuting attorney, the individual must have completed rehabilitation.
Expungement is also possible under Wyoming Statutes 7-13-1401 for anyone who has had charges dismissed or has waited 180 days since their arrest. No formal charges may be pending at the time of filing, and the individual must adequately demonstrate that he or she has no related dispositions, that no criminal charges have been filed, or that all criminal proceedings against him or her have been completely dismissed.
Expungement is frequently mentioned, but many people are unaware of which files can be sealed and destroyed. In Wyoming, after a felony conviction is dismissed or reversed, all identifiable information and DNA records in the DNA database may be removed. This DNA information must only be related to the felony conviction that was dismissed or reversed. All fingerprints and other records of a child who has not been found not guilty of an adult felony shall be expunged upon petition under Wyoming Statutes 14-6-240. When it comes to his or her case, juvenile records in the custody of the court or any other agency or official can be sealed.
The Expungement Procedure
An individual is granted the privilege of expungement. Expunction is not a legal right. A formal written request must be made to the offending court, which may deny the petition if the form was not filled out correctly or if it is not in the court’s favor to grant the expungement. A copy of the reversed or dismissed conviction must be petitioned to the court for verification as well. Filing fees may apply in some cases, but petitioning is frequently free of charge.