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Expungements


Legal Disclaimer: The following is basic legal information, provided as a public service by Wyoming’s lawyers. The information provided is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney.  Only an attorney can give you legal advice regarding your specific situation. Click here for help finding a lawyer


What is Expungement?

Expungement is the process of removing (sealing) a criminal record from the public under certain circumstances. This handout provides an overview of Wyoming expungement procedures.

Why would I need an expungement?

Criminal records are used for a variety of purposes.  Having something on your criminal record can make it more difficult to find a job or rent an apartment.  Removing records that are eligible for expungement may improve your job, school, and housing opportunities.  If a record is expunged, no one (other than law enforcement) can see the records and you do not have to disclose the record to employers or anyone else.

What information is contained in criminal records?

Criminal records contain more than just court records and convictions.  The records contain all criminal history including arrests and records of original charges, even if those charges were later reduced or dismissed.  It is important to understand what is in your criminal record.  Criminal records can be hard to understand.  If you don’t know what is on your criminal record or what the information in the records mean, you should contact a lawyer for advice and help.  For help finding a lawyer, click here.

How can I see what is in my criminal record?

In Wyoming, you can get a copy of your criminal record from the Division of Criminal Investigation.  For more information about obtaining your Wyoming criminal history report, click here. (http://wyomingdci.wyo.gov/dci-criminal-justice-information-systems-section/criminal-records-section/criminal-history-checks

Are some criminal records automatically expunged?

No, do not expect a record to be automatically expunged.  You must file a petition for expungement with the proper court to have the record expunged.

What criminal records can be expunged?

It depends on the type of record and what happened in the case. You may need to speak to an attorney to see if a record can be expunged. There are several ways to qualify for an expungement depending on the circumstances. However, only crimes in Wyoming can be expunged by a Wyoming court. If you have a criminal history in another state, you will have to see if you qualify for expungement in the other state.

See below for records that are eligible for expungement in Wyoming:

If you were arrested but the charge(s) did NOT result in conviction --Wyo. Stat. § 7-13-1401 

Eligibility for Expungement:A person may file a petition seeking to expunge the records of an arrest, charge, or dispositions which may have been made in a case in the following circumstances: 

  1. At least 180 days have passed since the date of arrest or from the date the criminal charge was dismissed; AND
  2. there are no formal charges pending against the person when the petition is filed; AND
  3. the petitioner must show at least one of the following:
    1. there were no convictions of any charge, including a lesser, amended, or different charge, as the result of the incident that led to the person being arrested (this would be the case only if the person was acquitted of all charges and no convictions at all resulted from the incident that led to the person’s arrest); OR
    2. no criminal charges of any kind were filed as a result of the incident that led to the arrest; OR
    3. all criminal charges against the person relating to the incident were dismissed by the prosecutor or the court. 

NOTE: If a person plead guilty to or is found guilty of a charge, but the adjudication of guilt is deferred and the charge is later dismissed the person is not eligible for expungement under this statute, but may still be eligible under other statutes.

Charges resulting in a misdemeanor conviction --Wyo. Stat. §7-13-1501 

A person who has pleaded guilty or no contest or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor may petition the court in which the conviction occurred for an expungement of the records of conviction. (Persons who plead guilty to or are found guilty of a charge, but whose adjudication of guilt is deferred and the charge is later dismissed may be eligible for expungement under this statute.)

To qualify for an expungement of a misdemeanors, the petitioner must show that: 

  1. at least five (5) years have passed since the expiration of the sentence for non-status offenses OR at least one (1) year has passed since the expiration of the sentence for status offenses; AND
  2. the misdemeanor for which the person is seeking expungement did not involve the use or attempted use of a firearm; AND
  3. the petitioner is not a substantial danger to himself, any victim, or society. 

NOTE:  A person may receive only one expungement under this statute. 

Charges resulting in a felony conviction – Wyo. Stat. § 7-13-1502

A person convicted of a felony or felonies subject to expungement under this statute may petition to expunge the records.  Under this statute, any felony,other than those listed below, may be eligible for expungement.

Felonies which are NOT eligible for expungement: 

  1. Violent felonies as defined in W.S. 6-1-104(a)(xii); (these include Murder, Manslaughter, Kidnapping, Sexual Assault in the first or second degree, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Aircraft Hijacking, Arson in the first or second degree, or Aggravated Burglary, or a violation of W.S. 6-2-314(a)(i) or 6-2-315(a)(ii));
  2. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-106(b) – Aggravated Homicide by Vehicle;
  3. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-108 – Drug Induced Homicide;
  4. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-301 through 6-2-320- Crimes involving sexual assault;
  5. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-501(f) as in effect prior to July 1, 2014 and any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-511(b)(iii) – A second or subsequent Domestic Battery;
  6. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-503 – Child Abuse;
  7. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-2-508(b) – Aggravated Assault and Battery on a Corrections or Detention Officer;
  8. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-4-303(b)(i) through (iii) – Sexual exploitation of children;
  9. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-4-402(b) – Incest;
  10. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-4-405 – Endangering children with controlled substances;
  11. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-5-102 – Bribery;
  12. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-5-204(c) – Disarming a peace officer on official duty;
  13. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-5-206 or 6-5-207 – Escape from official detention or escape by violence or assault or while armed;
  14. Any offense punishable under W.S. 6-8-101 or 6-8-102 – Weapons Offenses;
  15. Any offense subject to registration under W.S. 7-19-302(g) through (j) – Registered sex offenders; 

To qualify for an expungement of a felony other than those listed above, the petitioner must show that: 

  1. At least ten (10) years have passed since:
    1. The expiration of the terms of sentence imposed by the court, including any periods of probation;
    2. The completion of any program ordered by the court; AND
    3. Any restitution ordered by the court has been paid in full; AND
  2. Petitioner has not previously pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or been convicted of a felony (other than the conviction for which expungement is sought); AND
  3. The felony or felonies for which the person is seeking expungement did not involve the use or attempted use of a firearm; AND
  4. The petitioner is not a substantial danger to himself, any victim, or society.

NOTE:  A person may receive only one expungement under this statute. 

Expungement of Juvenile Records – Wyo. Stat. § 14-6-241 

Any person adjudicated delinquent as a result of having committed a delinquent act other than a violent felony as defined by W.S. 6-1-104(a)(iii), under the Juvenile Justice Act, may petition the adjudicating court, either juvenile court, municipal court, or circuit court, for an expungement of his record after reaching the age of majority. 

The petitioner must show the following:

  1. Petitioner has reached the age of majority (age 18);
  2. Petitioner has not been convicted of a felony since the adjudication;
  3. That no felony is pending or being brought against the petitioner; AND
  4. Rehabilitation of the petitioner has been reached to the satisfaction of the court or the prosecuting attorney.

What is the process for getting an expungement?

The first step to getting an expungement is to file a Petition for Expungement with the proper court. The person applying for the expungement, the Petitioner, will have to prepare the Petition for Expungement or hire an attorney to do so. As with any legal action, mistakes can have serious consequences. It is always advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney. For help finding a lawyer, click here.

After preparing the Petition, it will need to be filed with the proper court. The proper court to file the Petition varies depending on the offense that is being expunged. If there were charges filed and there was a court case, then the Petition will likely need to be filed in the same court that heard the case originally.

Once the Petition is filed, other parties must be notified and served with the Petition. The Petition must be served on the proper parties, which, depending on the case, include the prosecuting attorney, division of criminal investigation, and the victims of the crime being expunged. The parties served with the Petition are called Respondents. If any of the Respondents object to the expungement, then the Court will set the case for a hearing. At the court hearing, the court will determine if the offense qualifies for an expungement.

If the court grants an expungement, the Petitioner will need to prepare an Order for Expungement to present to the court for the judge’s signature. The court will likely expect the Petitioner to have an Order drafted and ready for the judge’s signature at the hearing.

After the judge signs the Order of Expungement, the court’s file will be sealed and removed from public access. The court will send a copy of the Order to the division of criminal investigation and any records of arrest, charge, or disposition that is in the state’s central records that are related to the offense will be removed from public access. 

What happens to the record once it has been expunged?

The record is sealed from public access and can only be seen by law enforcement. 

Can other information related to the case be expunged?

Other types of records that were made in connection to the case may also be expunged in some circumstances. Additional information that can be expunged includes identifiable information and DNA records that were collected relating to the case. However, items such as investigation files cannot be expunged.

It is also important to understand that things like newspaper articles containing information about the arrest or conviction cannot be expunged and may still be available to the public.