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Wisconsin Public Records

Every individual has the right to examine records held by state or local government agencies in Wisconsin, subject to certain limitations outlined in the Wisconsin Open Records Law. This law mandates that government agencies facilitate access to these records without a defined deadline and at a reasonable cost, except when legal reasons justify the withholding of such documents.

How to request Wisconsin Public Records?

The simplest method to obtain a public record is to reach out directly to the state or city agency responsible. Access can also be secured via private sources, given the records are open to the public.

Table of Contents

To request public records in Wisconsin:

Where to find Public Records in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, public records can be found as follows:

Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce):

These are available through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. For access, visit their Vital Records website.

Property Records:

Typically found at the county level, you can visit the website of the county assessor's office where the property is located.

Business Records:

Accessible from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Check their website for business entity records.

Driving Records:

It can be requested from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Professional Licenses

Managed by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. License information is available on their License Lookup website.

Wisconsin State Archives:

Found at the Wisconsin Historical Society, which provides access to a variety of historical documents and records on their website.

Are Wisconsin Public Records Available Online?

Yes, many Wisconsin public records are available online. This includes vital records like birth, death, marriage, and divorce records through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, property records typically available on county assessor websites, business records through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, and court records via the Wisconsin Court System’s website. Additionally, driving records, professional licenses, and historical records are accessible through their respective state department websites. However, the availability of certain records may vary, and some may still require formal requests or in-person visits to access.

Which records are public in Wisconsin?

Which Records are Not Public in Wisconsin?

Under the Wisconsin Public Records Law, certain records are exempt from disclosure, including trade secrets, public personnel records, specific law enforcement records, and certain types of court records. These exemptions aim to protect sensitive information and ensure that public access to records respects privacy and legal requirements.

Wisconsin Background Checks

Wisconsin background checks involve the process of gathering information about an individual’s history, typically for employment, housing, or security purposes. These checks can include criminal records, driving history, employment history, education credentials, credit history, and more. Employers, landlords, and organizations may conduct background checks to assess an individual’s suitability for a job, rental property, or other commitments. Wisconsin law regulates background checks to protect individuals’ privacy and ensure fair and accurate reporting.

What Can Be Included In a Background Check Report?

Criminal Records

This includes information on convictions, arrests, and court records.

Driving Records

Details about a person's driving history, including traffic violations and accidents.

Employment History

Past employers, positions held, and dates of employment.

Education History

The government maintains a list of people with known or suspected ties to terrorism. This information should be included in the report.

Credit History

Financial information, including credit scores and payment history.

Public Records

Records of civil judgments, tax liens, and bankruptcies.

Sex Offender Registry

Information on registered sex offenders.

Social Media and Online Presence

Information available online related to the individual.

Wisconsin Court Records

Overview of the Wisconsin court system and its Structure

The Wisconsin court system is structured hierarchically and consists of several levels:

  • Wisconsin Supreme Court: The highest court in the state, responsible for interpreting the law and resolving legal disputes. It has the authority to hear appeals from lower courts.
  • Court of Appeals: Intermediary appellate courts that review decisions from lower circuit courts and certain administrative agencies.
  • Circuit Courts: Trial courts with general jurisdiction, handling a wide range of cases, including criminal, civil, family, and probate matters. They are divided into 72 judicial circuits.
  • Municipal Courts: Local courts that handle municipal ordinance violations, traffic offenses, and other minor cases.
  • Tribal Courts: Independent courts established by Native American tribes to handle cases within their jurisdictions.

Types of Wisconsin Court Records

Wisconsin Civil and Small Claims Records

Wisconsin Criminal Records

Wisconsin Family Records

Wisconsin Probate Records

Wisconsin Traffic Records

Wisconsin Bankruptcy Records

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality

Wisconsin court records are generally public, but certain restrictions and limitations apply:

  • Confidential Information: Some court records, such as juvenile and certain family court records, are confidential to protect privacy.
  • Sealed Records: In specific cases, court records may be sealed to restrict public access, often to protect sensitive information or comply with legal requirements.
  • Personal Identifiers: Personal identifiers like Social Security numbers and bank account information may be redacted to prevent identity theft.
  • Restrictions on Expungement: Not all records are eligible for expungement, and certain convictions cannot be removed from a person’s criminal record.
  • Access Restrictions: Some records may have limited access for certain individuals, such as law enforcement or legal professionals.

What do these records contain

Wisconsin Public Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records: Marriage and divorce records in Wisconsin can be obtained through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). These records are vital for various legal purposes and genealogical research. Wisconsin DHS Vital Records

Birth and Death Records: Birth and death records are also available through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). These records are crucial for legal and genealogical purposes, providing information about individuals’ birth and death events. Wisconsin DHS Vital Records

Wisconsin Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of criminal records in Wisconsin

Wisconsin criminal records are official documents that contain information about an individual’s criminal history within the state. These records typically include details of arrests, charges, convictions, sentencing, and probation or parole status. They may also include mugshots, fingerprints, and court documents related to criminal cases. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice maintain Wisconsin criminal records.

These records contain a wealth of information, including:

  • Arrest Records: Details of arrests made by law enforcement agencies, including the date, location, and reason for arrest.
  • Charge Information: Specific criminal charges filed against the individual, along with associated case numbers.
  • Court Documents: Legal proceedings, court hearings, and trial records, including transcripts and judgments.
  • Conviction Details: Information about convictions, including the type of offense, sentencing, fines, and probation or parole terms.
  • Mugshots and Fingerprints: Visual records of the individual’s appearance, which can aid in identification.
  • Warrants and Wanted Person Information: Any outstanding warrants for arrest or wanted person alerts.

Police Records and Reports

Police records and reports can be obtained from local law enforcement agencies. These documents contain information about incidents, investigations, and arrests. You can contact your local police department for access to these records.

Booking Records and Reports

Booking records are typically maintained by county jails or detention centers. They include details about individuals who have been arrested, such as mugshots and fingerprints. To access booking records, you can contact the relevant county jail or detention center.

DUI Records

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) records can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). These records include information about DUI offenses and related driver's license suspensions.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

Felony and misdemeanor records are available through the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) website. This online portal provides access to court records, including criminal case information.

Parole Records

Parole records can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC). These records contain information about individuals on parole, including their conditions of release.

Probation Records

Probation records are also available from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC). These records detail individuals on probation and their supervision requirements.

Warrant Search

Warrant information can be accessed through the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) website. This online tool allows you to search for active warrants in the state.

Inmate And Jail Records

Inmate and jail records can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC). These records contain information about individuals incarcerated in state prisons and county jails.

What you can find

In Wisconsin inmate and jail records, you can find information about individuals who are incarcerated in state prisons and county jails.

  • Inmate Information: These records contain details about individuals who are currently incarcerated, including their full name, inmate identification number, and booking date.
  • Mugshots: Mugshots are often included, providing visual records of the inmate’s appearance at the time of booking.
  • Location: You can find information about the inmate’s current location, whether they are in a state prison or a county jail.
  • Reason for Incarceration: The records specify the reason for the inmate’s incarceration, including details of the charges and sentencing.
  • Sentence Information: Details about the length of the inmate’s sentence and any parole or probation status may be available.
  • Upcoming Court Hearings: If applicable, information about scheduled court hearings or parole board meetings may be included.
  • Release Dates: Some records may provide estimates of the inmate’s release date based on sentencing and parole eligibility.
  • Criminal History: In some cases, you may find a summary of the inmate’s criminal history and prior convictions.

How to Perform an Inmate Search in Wisconsin

To perform an inmate search in Wisconsin, you can use the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) online offender search tool. Follow these steps:

  • Visit the Wisconsin DOC Offender Search website.
  • Enter the inmate’s first and last name or their inmate identification number.
  • Click the “Search” button.
  • Review the search results, which will display a list of matching inmates.
  • Click on the inmate’s name to view more details, including their current location, sentencing information, and parole or probation status.

This online tool allows you to easily find information about individuals incarcerated in Wisconsin’s correctional facilities.

Can I look up mugshots in Wisconsin?

Yes, you can often look up mugshots in Wisconsin through online inmate search tools provided by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC). These tools typically include inmate photos, which are commonly referred to as mugshots. You can search for specific inmates and access their booking photos, along with other relevant information, using the DOC’s offender search website. Keep in mind that the availability of mugshots may vary depending on the correctional facility and the DOC’s policies.

Wisconsin Arrest Records

Wisconsin arrest records contain information about individuals who have been apprehended by law enforcement. These records typically include details such as the person’s name, date of arrest, charges filed, location of arrest, arresting agency, and booking photos (mugshots). They also provide information on any warrants issued for the individual. Arrest records are valuable for background checks, legal proceedings, and public safety purposes.

What Do These Records Contain:

Wisconsin arrest records typically contain the following information:

  • Individual’s Information: These records contain the full name and personal details of the individual who was arrested.
  • Date of Arrest: The date when the arrest took place is documented in the record.
  • Charges: Details of the specific charges filed against the individual are included, providing insight into the nature of the alleged criminal activity.
  • Location of Arrest: Information about where the arrest occurred, including the city or county, is recorded.
  • Arresting Agency: The law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest is identified in the record.
  • Booking Photos (Mugshots): Arrest records often include booking photos or mugshots, which are visual records of the individual’s appearance at the time of arrest.
  • Warrants: Any outstanding warrants for the individual may be noted in the record.
  • Legal Documentation: In some cases, arrest records may include legal documents related to the arrest, such as arrest warrants or court orders.

Wisconsin Property and Asset Records Online

To find Wisconsin property and asset records online, you can use the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s website. They offer a searchable database called the “Wisconsin Real Estate Transfer Return,” where you can access property transaction records. Additionally, the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) website provides access to court records, including property-related cases and judgments.

Unclaimed Properties in Wisconsin

To search for unclaimed properties in Wisconsin, you can use the Wisconsin State Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Program website. They maintain a database of unclaimed assets such as forgotten bank accounts, insurance proceeds, and more. You can search for unclaimed property by name or business name on their website and initiate the process to claim any assets that belong to you or your business.

Driving Records

To find driving records in Wisconsin, you can request them from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). You can order a driving record online through the WisDOT website, by mail, or in person at a WisDOT Service Center. To request online, you’ll need to provide the driver’s name, date of birth, and driver’s license number. There is a fee associated with obtaining driving records, and you can pay online. The driving record will include information about the individual’s driving history, including traffic violations, accidents, and license status.

Civil Driving Infractions

Civil driving infractions in Wisconsin are non-criminal violations of traffic laws, typically resulting in fines and penalties rather than criminal charges. These infractions may include offenses like speeding, running a red light, or failure to yield. While they are not criminal offenses, they can still impact a driver’s record and insurance rates. Drivers who receive civil driving infractions may have the option to contest the ticket in court or pay the associated fines to resolve the violation.

Wisconsin White Pages - Find People, Addresses, and Other Non-Official Information

Address Search ​

Address Search in Wisconsin allows you to find information associated with a specific address. You can use online databases or contact local government agencies for property-related details, ownership records, tax assessments, and more. This is useful for property research or verifying an address’s ownership.

People Search​

People Search in Wisconsin involves finding information about individuals residing in the state. You can access public records, such as birth and marriage certificates, court records, and voter registration data. Online people search tools or government agencies’ websites can assist in locating individuals, but it’s essential to respect privacy and legal constraints when using these resources.

Can I Search By a Phone Number and Identify The Owner?

Yes, you can search for the owner of a phone number in Wisconsin through online reverse phone lookup services. These services may provide information about the phone number’s owner, including their name and address. Keep in mind that the availability of such information may vary, and certain phone numbers may be unlisted or protected by privacy regulations. It’s essential to use these services responsibly and in compliance with privacy laws.

License Plate Lookup in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, you can perform a license plate lookup through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) website. The WisDOT provides an online tool where you can enter a license plate number and receive basic vehicle information, including the make, model, and year of the vehicle. This service is designed for general vehicle information purposes and does not provide detailed owner information. Access to more extensive owner information typically requires a legitimate reason, such as law enforcement or insurance purposes, and may involve additional steps and fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

Public records in Wisconsin are generally accessible to the public, including individuals, organizations, and businesses.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

While there may be fees associated with obtaining copies of public records, access to many public records is free.

Are public records Free to access?

Public records in Wisconsin may be free to access, but fees can apply for obtaining physical copies or electronic records. The availability and cost of public records can vary depending on the agency and the type of record requested. Some agencies may provide certain public records online at no cost, while others may charge fees for copies, search time, or other administrative expenses. 

What is the response time for public records requests?

The response time for public records requests can vary depending on the agency and the complexity of the request, but agencies are typically required to respond within a reasonable time frame.

Can my request be rejected?

Requests for public records can be rejected under specific circumstances, such as when records are exempt from disclosure due to legal restrictions or privacy concerns.

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