Criminal Cases

Criminal Court Actions

A criminal case is an action brought by a government to penalize a violation of the criminal laws. In either a misdemeanor or a felony case you will have an initial appearance. At this appearance you will be served with a criminal complaint that outlines the charge, the probable cause supporting the charge, and the penalty.  Adjournments cannot be granted in criminal cases unless it is deemed an emergency by the court.

See below for FAQs regarding criminal cases

Q. How do I find out information about a criminal case?

A. A brief description of cases and an index of records is available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website. Cases can be viewed at the Clerk of Courts Office, 432 E. Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095 in person. There is a statutory fee of $1.25 per page for copies of documents contained within the court file.

Q. Which statutes deal with criminal laws?

A. The primary statutes can be found in Chapters 938-961 which deal with the Criminal Code and Controlled Substances Act and Chapters 967-980 which deal with Criminal procedures.

Q. Can I sue someone in criminal court?

A. No; criminal complaints must be brought to the local police department, Sheriff's Department, or District Attorneys's office. These agencies will determine if they will proceed or investigate your complaints.

Q. How do I appeal a criminal case?

A. An appeal of a final circuit court judgment or order can be initiated with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals by filing a notice of appeal with the Clerk of Circuit Court for the county in which the judgment or order being appealed was entered. You will need to familiarize yourself with the Rules of Appellate Procedure (Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 809). Appeals can be complicated so you may want to consult an attorney for legal advice. You may also access the Citizen's Guide to Filing an Appeal in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals for additional information.

Q. I don't want my criminal case on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.  How can I get it removed?

A. You probably can't. Wisconsin law allows a judge to "expunge" a case in only certain circumstances that you may review in the Expunging Court Records brochure.

Q. Does expunction remove my criminal case from everywhere?

A. No. Even under the limited circumstances described above, a judge can only order expunction of the court's record. The Wisconsin Crime Information Bureau also keeps criminal records. The case may still exist in the records of the District Attorney, other law enforcement records, the Department of Transportation and other places. The judge has no authority to require removal of these records. You may review documentation concerning removal of criminal records on the Wisconsin Department of Justice website.
Criminal Records: Questions & Answers
Removal of Arrest Information

Q. I need more time to pay my fine!  What do I do?

A. If you are requesting an extension of time to pay a fine, you may contact the Clerk of Courts office at 262-335-4341, or submit a written request by mail or in person. The request should include your current address, the case number or the citation number, the reason for the extension and the length of time you are requesting. If the time to pay the fine has passed and the alternative has been issued, no further extension can be granted and the fine must be paid in full.