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Wisconsin Arrest Records Search

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The following is for informational purposes only

How to Look Up Criminal Records in Wisconsin

WI has a central repository of arrest and criminal records, which they allow the general public access to. All law enforcement agencies feed their records into the system so it’s complete with arrests, convictions, incarcerations, court documents, sentences, parole, and probations. The files are maintained based on fingerprint data. Private citizens have the legal right to request a copy of a Wisconsin arrest record and criminal record. The state provides this service for no charge.

Are Wisconsin Arrest Records public?

Yes. WI honors the Freedom of Information Act by allowing the general public access to arrest records for the state. They keep a massive database of records updated by local law enforcement daily through the natural course of doing business. They do not charge for criminal history requests, but the requests must be processed via fingerprints for exact matches.

Victims & Offenders by Gender and Race

Offenders by Gender

Victims by Gender

Offenders by Race

Black or African American65%
American Indian or Alaska Native1%
Native Hawaiian0%
Offenders w/ reported race3,562

Victims by Race

Black or African American51%
American Indian or Alaska Native2%
Native Hawaiian0%
Victims w/ reported race3,765

What Information Does Wisconsin Criminal Records Report Include?

What Information You Can Find in Wisconsin Arrest Report?

Wisconsin arrest records will show details about the arrest such as where it occurred, the date of arrest, what agency arrested them, the charges filed, the arresting officer’s information, if any vehicles were involved and the booking details. Additionally, general profile information for the person arrested with name, mugshot, age, address, gender, height, weight, and more will also be on there. Typically, a report will also show other warrant and booking details including fingerprints as well as other police and criminal records associated with this person. At the same time, court records related to any arrests, fines, convictions, and sentencing will also be included.

Wisconsin Police Reports and Mugshots

Are Wisconsin Police Reports Public Record?

Yes. Police reports are not only public records in Wisconsin, but many cities like Madison also post them online in an easy list for anyone to review at any time. Not all reports will be posted online, but you could request a copy directly from the police department where the incident was filed. Some of the information contained in online reports are:

  • The date and time of the incident.
  • The type of incident (for example, a weapons violation).
  • The address where the event took place.
  • The name(s) of the people involved.
  • Law enforcement agents, squads and officers involved.
  • Press release if available.
  • Items confiscated during the incident.
  • A very detailed description of the events by the police officer in charge.

The actual paper copy may include additional details such as charges filed, arrests made, crime photos, a suspect’s description, and more.

Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers the general public copies of crash reports upon request.

Wisconsin Mugshots

Police photographs are also called mugshots, that comes from the slang term “mug” meaning the face. Mugshots originated in 1888 when Alphonse Bertillon, a French policeman, perfected them and made them part of his standard booking process. Other countries like the U.S. soon followed his lead. Typically, mugshots include a front-facing shot along with a profile angle. They are generally shot on a gray or plain background, but not always.

Wisconsin mugshots are very easy to find online and are posted freely in inmate searches, on news and media outlet websites, and even public records repositories. Wisconsin mugshots are shot with the suspect in plain clothes against a light beige/gray brick wall. Investigators use them with witnesses and victims to help identify suspects.

Wisconsin Arrest Booking Process

When Wisconsin officers arrest someone, they are legally bound to identify themselves and stipulate they are taking you into custody and that you are under arrest. Upon arrest, the police will transport you to the police station for booking and processing. There, you will undergo the following events:

  • Fingerprinting.
  • Mugshots.
  • You will be assigned a “state identification number.”
  • Police will ask you basic demographic information like name, address, phone number, and age.
  • You may or may not be charged with a crime.
  • You may get one phone call.
  • They may take a sample of your hair for DNA testing.
  • They will take your clothes and give you jail attire to put on.
  • A medical professional may give you a physical and mental health exam.
  • Officers will do a complete background check to look for any outstanding warrants.
  • You will be searched, and your belongings are taken and stored.

Many suspects will remain in jail until they are able to pay for bail, obtain a bond, or have their trial.

Violent Crime Rates for the last 10 years

The crime rate has increased over the past decade in Wisconsin, going from 14,210 crimes in 2006 to 16,580 by 22% higher than it was back in 2006. The largest percentage of violent crimes falls into the Aggravated Assault category, with Revised Rape being the least popular crime in the state.

Wisconsin Violent Crime Rate Change

Arrest Law

Wisconsin Arrest Laws

WI police officers can arrest someone in Wisconsin with a valid arrest warrant. They can also arrest someone without a warrant when the officer believes there is a warrant issued for the person, but he or she does not possess it. When an officer has reasonable grounds to think that there is an arrest warrant out for the person in another state, they can arrest them. Law enforcement can also arrest someone when they witness them committing a crime or know that a felony was committed and believe they did it.

Who has a Power of Arrest?

Any law enforcement officer in this state can arrest someone. According to WI law 164.06, “law enforcement officer means any person employed by the state or by a city, village, town or county for the purpose of detecting and preventing crime and enforcing laws or ordinances, who is authorized to make arrests for violations of the laws or ordinances which he or she is employed to enforce.” Any private citizen can also arrest someone when they witness a crime being committed or have information that a crime was committed not in their presence.

How Long Will an Arrest Report Stay on Wisconsin Public Records?

Arrests that resulted in a conviction will stay on a Wisconsin criminal record forever. The state does not offer any way to remove the conviction record except for a governor’s pardon. Arrests where the charges were dropped, or no charges were ever filed, are eligible for expungement. To begin the process, an offender must apply for a fingerprint card and fill out some paperwork. Once they do that their non-conviction arrest records can be removed from their record.

Can you Expunge Your State Records?

Yes. However, WI allows only arrests that were disposed of as not guilty, or charges were never filed, or the charges were filed but dropped to be expunged from an offender’s criminal record. They must first go through a fingerprinting process to get them removed. There is no fee for the expungement process. All convictions will stay on their record forever.

The Arrest Rate in Wisconsin

Arrest Rate in Wisconsin

For 2017, WI recorded 5,486 arrests for aggravated assault, 1,446 for robbery, 947 for rape, and 185 for murder. Of those 3,984 were committed by men and the rest by women. Also, 382 of those were committed by juveniles.

State Offender and Victim Age Group Statistics

Most of the violent crime offenders in Wisconsin were 20-29 and the largest percentage of violent crime victims were 20-29.

Offender Age

Offenders w/ reported age18,496

Victim Age

Victims w/ reported age15,341

Crime Victim Demographics

Residence Home is the place where the majority of crimes in Wisconsin were committed, in most of the crime cases the offender was a relationship unknown.

Location Type

Residence Home7,292
Parking Garage/Lot552
Gas Station312
Convenience Store270
Specialty Store212
School Elementary/Secondary211

Victim’s Relationship to the Offender

Relationship Unknown8,664
Otherwise Known893
Other Family Member514

Wisconsin Arrest Records by Type of Crime

The popular arrests for 2017 in Wisconsin was for All Other Offenses (except traffic) - 86,476, the same popularity of the arrest type was seen in Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona. The least popularity had Gambling arrests - with only 41 crimes a year.

Arrest TypeUnder 18All agesTotal arrests
Violent Crime1,0678,0239,090
Property Crime6,14029,42935,569
Murder & Non-negligent Manslaughter14203217

State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services

Is your State Safer than Wisconsin?

Select your state and find out:

Crime rate - 2,694
The crime rate in the last 5 years - up by 22%

5 Safest Counties in the Area

A list of 5 counties in Wisconsin that have the lowest arrest rate in 2017

Wisconsin Arrest Records Search
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