Monday, July 2, 2007

If Arrested, Will The Arrest Appear Online?

Wisconsin Open Records Law


If a person is arrested, the arrest, citation, and information regarding the arrest can be made public and published on the Internet through many portals including newspapers, television, radio stations, and CCAP, as well as personal websites.

Newspapers often maintain an online version of their printed news, which may include the entire newspaper or just selected areas of news. Arrests, tickets and other police news are usually published online bcause people like to read about those types of newsworthy issues.

Some cases make the six o'clock news and subsequently are published on the television station's website. High profile criminal cases broadcasted on major networks such as Court-TV or CNN almost always make the website edition.

CCAP (see cap) is the Wisconsin circuit court records website located at Under Wisconsin open records law, CCAP mirrors the clerk of courts records. With very few exceptions, arrests are published on CCAP along with subsequent court activity. Among the few exceptions are an arrest of a juvenile or an arrest incident to a mental committment. Even juvenile arrests have exceptions, such as arrests resulting from traffic offenses because juveniles are treated as adults in traffic case.

Case information remains accessible on WCCA for the minimum retention period for the case type as set by Supreme Court Rule - Chapter 72. However, cases with active warrants, active appeals or money still owed remain available on WCCA. However, a person can contact the Clerk of Circuit Court office in the county where the case was filed for complete case information for those cases that no longer display on WCCA.

Case records remain available on CCAP for a number of years. A traffic forfeiture, non traffic ordinance violation, or a subsequent arrest to incarcerate a person for violation of a court order remain on CCAP for 5 years. Tax warrants, civil cases, foreign judgment cases, transcripts of judgement cases, unemployment compensation cases, workers compensation cases, tribal court orders, misdemeanor and criminal traffic cases remain available on CCAP for 20 years. However, drunk driving cases remain available on the Department of Transportation records forever. Class A felony and John Doe cases remain available on CCAP for 75 years. Class B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I felony cases remain available on CCAP for 50 years.

An expunged record is one that is removed from a person's public information, however, it is not completely destroyed. An expunged record still exists in a file drawer in the clerk of court office where the charge originated. An expunged record can also appear on CCAP even after the expungement order has been entered. In those instances, additional legal action must be taken to remove the expunged record from CCAP.

Helpful links:
Drunk Driving Tickets & Records
WI State & Federal Arrests
Wisconsin criminal penalties