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Milwaukee County Arrest Records

A booking process follows every arrest in Milwaukee County, whereby law enforcement officers collect and register a suspect's details, including their name, address, physical description, fingerprints, and photograph. These pieces of information, alongside bond/bail details and other pertinent information, make up an arrest record.

Keeping arrest records helps law enforcement to track crime rates, maintain materials for future investigations, and adequately process people in custody. Meanwhile, prosecutors review arrest records to ascertain charges to file, and individuals who have been arrested in the past typically need access to their records if they want to erase them. Other members of the public can also view arrest records to read about the facts or circumstances of an arrest.

Because arrest records are needed to prosecute offenders in Milwaukee County, details about a person's arrest will make it into a few other public records. For example, arrest information can be found in Milwaukee County court records when a defendant is charged in court. If the defendant is convicted, their arrest details may appear in inmate records maintained by correctional bodies, and so on.

Are Arrest Records Public in Milwaukee County?

Yes. Under Wisconsin's Public Records Law, arrest records are open to the public in Milwaukee County. The law ascertains that information produced and collated by publicly funded bodies, such as police departments, sheriff's offices, and other state bodies, is accessible to members of the public.

However, state and federal laws restrict certain records from public access. They include the following:

  • Juvenile arrest records: These are confidential and only accessible to specific individuals, such as the juvenile, their legal representatives, and law enforcement officers.
  • Removed records: If an arrest record was removed from the Department of Justice's database, it is no longer publicly available.
  • Confidential information: Certain details within an arrest record, like a victim's identity in sensitive cases and police informant details, are withheld to protect privacy.
  • Sealed records: Records sealed by courts are not accessible to members of the public except to the parties specified by a court order.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

Details in Milwaukee County public arrest records include:

  • Arrestee's personal information: Name, date of birth, address, physical description (height, weight, gender, race), fingerprints, photographs.
  • Arrest details: Date and time of arrest, location of arrest, arresting agency, charges, arresting officer.
  • Case details: Presiding court name, case number, and bond details.

Milwaukee County Crime Rate

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis (BJIA), Milwaukee law enforcement agencies reported 45,798 offenses in 2022. Larceny theft accounted for the highest reported incidents, with 14,926 recorded cases. The Milwaukee Police Department's 34,527 reported offenses were the highest in the county in the same year.

Milwaukee County Arrest Statistics

The BJIA's 2022 Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Arrest Data shows that law enforcement in Milwaukee County executed 23,458 arrests in 2022. Adult arrests comprised 20,051 of the total, while the rest (3,407) involved juveniles. Simple assault accounted for 3,446 arrests, and 436 apprehensions were recorded for robbery.

Find Milwaukee County Arrest Records

Individuals have different federal, state, and county resources at their disposal to view and obtain arrest records, including:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Prisons: Where one was arrested in Milwaukee County but placed in federal custody, the BOP's inmate locator portal is an adequate resource. The portal allows the public to view basic details about persons in federal custody, including their register number, location, and release date. Users can query the database by name or BOP Register, FBI, INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services), or District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DCDC) number. One can obtain more information, including arrest details, by submitting a FOIA request to the Bureau.
  • Wisconsin Department of Corrections: Where a person was arrested in Milwaukee County but placed in state custody, the Department's offender search tool can be accessed to look up information. The public can search with an inmate's name, date of birth, or Department of Corrections number, among other information. The system provides details like where the inmate is being detained and a link to their court records. Individuals can also submit a public record request to the Department for more information.
  • The Milwaukee County Jail: The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office oversees the county jail and provides the In-Custody Locator, which allows the public to view arrest and inmate information. The public can query the system by providing an inmate's name.

Search results include an arrestee's booking number, height, and weight. Selecting an inmate displays their case number, charge description, charge severity, bail amount, and court information.

One can also use the following details to contact the Jail Records division by phone or in-person to obtain information:

Criminal Justice Facility
949 North 9th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 226-7100

People can also approach the sheriff's office or the police department that made an arrest for the subject's record.

Note: When producing arrest records, law enforcement will redact certain details restricted by law, such as informant and victim identity. They may also outrightly reject a request if they believe the law permits it. However, individuals convinced they have the right to view the record(s) can take the matter to court.

Free Arrest Record Search in Milwaukee County

Most official online resources for viewing arrest records, such as inmate locators, are free. However, those requesting copies of arrest records will bear the associated costs, as agencies typically charge to reproduce or deliver records. Individuals can contact each agency to confirm their fees and accepted payment methods.

Members of the public can also utilize third-party resources to find arrest information. These resources are provided by private businesses that collate arrest and other public data into a central database, and they eliminate the process of going from one agency to another to review records. Essentially, users can often find what they need in one place, regardless of who was responsible for an arrest.

However, third-party resources are not free. These sites typically charge per search or use a subscription payment model. All the same, they do not provide privileged and restricted information and are not affiliated with federal or state public agencies.

Get Milwaukee County Criminal Records

Milwaukee County criminal records contain comprehensive details about people's interactions with the criminal justice system, from the time of arrest to incarceration. Individuals looking for such records have the following options:

Milwaukee Courts

The Milwaukee circuit courts and various city municipal courts maintain records pertaining to the criminal cases they handle.

Individuals looking to obtain criminal case records created by the circuit court in Milwaukee can use the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) database. It is an online portal containing records of cases handled by circuit courts throughout the state. Individuals can enter a record subject's name or date of birth and select Milwaukee County to start the search. The search results page shows each entry's case number, filing date, case status, and case parties. Opening each case displays additional information, such as the description of charges, sentence (if convicted), and charge history.

Individuals can also visit the criminal court division of the Milwaukee Clerk of Criminal Court using the following information to obtain court records:

Milwaukee County Safety Building
821 West State Street
Room 117
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 278-4538

People looking to obtain records related to traffic ordinances and parking violations can visit the website of the municipal court that handled the case. Most municipal courts run online case search systems that allow the public to view case records. An example is the City of Milwaukee Municipal Court's case search system. Still, the public can visit municipal courthouses to view

The Wisconsin Department of Justice

The Department of Justice's Criminal Information Bureau allows individuals and organizations to request criminal history information on anyone. The Bureau runs the Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS) for checking and viewing criminal history information. Interested parties can also request information by mail or in person.

People looking to use WORCS must create a user account with the Bureau. People can use a record subject's identifying information, such as name and date of birth, to search.

Aside from WORCS, individuals can submit requests by mail to the CIB using Form DJ-LE-250. They can go to the CIB Forms webpage to download the form, fill it out, and submit it to:

Crime Information Bureau
Attn: Record Check Unit
P.O. Box 2688
Madison, WI 53701-2688

The CIB also provides a fingerprint-based service, which allows entities, especially employers, to submit applicant fingerprints for background checks.

An online background check costs $7. People requesting daycare and caregiver services must pay an additional $3. Mail requests cost $5, and fingerprint record checks cost $15 each.

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office

Members of the public can send public records requests to the local sheriff's office for criminal history information. They can submit a request online or use the following contact information to submit their requests by mail, email, or in person:

821 West State Street
Room 102
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 226-7085
Fax: (414) 223-1267
Email: MCSOopenrecords@milwaukeecountywi.gov

Milwaukee County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

Milwaukee arrest and criminal records have different implications and should not be considered the same. Arrest records only exist to document the events and facts surrounding law enforcement apprehensions. They do not serve as proof that people have broken the law.

In contrast, criminal records detail people's involvement with the criminal justice system. They include arrest notations, charges, court dispositions, sentences, and probation and parole information. These records can have significant consequences for employment, housing, and other life areas.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Forever. Arrest information can stay on an individual's record until they apply to the Crime Information Bureau to have it removed (expunged). However, the record must qualify for removal.

Expunge Milwaukee County Arrest Records

Expungement in Milwaukee County only applies to conviction records that qualify under Wisconsin Statute 973.015. Arrest information related to a conviction record, including a person's fingerprint card, cannot be removed even after the court expunges it.

Only arrest information tied to cases that were never charged (not prosecuted), dismissed, or acquitted by a court qualifies for removal from the CIB database. People whose cases were dismissed upon completing a pre-trial diversion program can also have their arrest information removed.

Eligible petitioners must fill out the Fingerprint Record Removal Request (DJ-LE-250B) and send it to:

Crime Information Bureau
Attn: Criminal History Unit
P.O. Box 2718
Madison, WI 53701-2718

Milwaukee County Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is a written legal document ordering an individual's arrest. It is issued by a judge upon reviewing a complaint that establishes reasonable cause to believe someone violated a law.

A judge can also release an arrest warrant from the bench if a person fails to appear in court, obey court instructions or orders, or violates their parole, prohibition, or diversion program.

Warrants must meet these requirements in Milwaukee County:

  • Must be written and signed: The document must be in writing and contain a judge's signature.
  • Include the crime and statute: The warrant must clearly state the Wisconsin statute that the individual allegedly violated and name the crime that necessitated approval of the arrest order.
  • Identify the subject: The warrant must either state the alleged offender's name or provide a description that law enforcement can use to identify them with reasonable certainty.
  • Attached complaint: A copy of the complaint that resulted in the issuance of the warrant must be attached.
  • Arrest order: The warrant must explicitly charge law enforcement to apprehend the individual and bring them before the issuing judge or, if unavailable, another judge within the same county.

Milwaukee County Arrest Warrant Search

Individuals can find active warrants by approaching the Milwaukee Sheriff's Office or a city police department. They can also approach the criminal division or the Clerk of the Circuit Court to find out if a warrant was issued in a case, or they can search online court databases. For example, members of the public can find warrants issued by the Milwaukee Municipal Court using its case search system.

Note: People subject to arrest warrants for minor offenses such as misdemeanors can visit the customer service window outside Room 117 of the Milwaukee Safety Building, 821 West State Street, to check their case status and clear their warrants.

Do Milwaukee County Arrest Warrants Expire?

No, arrest warrants generally do not expire in Milwaukee County. However, prosecutors must pursue cases within a specified window, as determined by the state's statutes of limitations.

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