Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long are cases kept on WCCA?
  2. My case was dismissed. Why is it still showing up on WCCA?
  3. Why are some cases not available on WCCA?
  4. Why is Traffic Case Information about Juveniles available on WCCA?
  5. Is it necessary to put all non-criminal/OWI cases and ordinance violation information on WCCA?
  6. A case appears on WCCA with my name and date of birth, but it isn't me. How can I have that case removed from WCCA?
  7. Can I have my address removed from a case on WCCA?
  8. Can I access court cases for other states?
  9. I don't want my private information on WCCA. How can I get it removed?
  10. I don't want my criminal case on WCCA. How can I get it removed?
  11. Another website is publishing information about my Wisconsin court case. Can I pay to get that information removed?
  12. Does expunction remove my case from everywhere?
  13. My judgment is satisfied; why is the judgment party status active?
  14. What is a converted case?
  15. Could you describe what the different case types mean?
  16. What day did WCCA become available on the Internet?
  17. How do I retrieve bankruptcy cases?
  18. Where do I find more information about statutes?
  19. Who do I contact if I want clarification about information displayed on WCCA?
  20. Who do I contact if the data displayed on this web site is incorrect?
  21. Do cases settled out of court display on WCCA?
  22. I keep getting the message: "Your search has returned more than 500 rows. Please try again." What's wrong?
  23. After doing a 'Docketed Civil Judgment' search, some judgments have a link that reads 'Click Here' instead of a case number link. What does 'Click Here' mean?
  24. Why don't I see any Court Record Additional Text on older cases?
  25. Why do I see the month and year in the 'Date of Birth' field for some cases and the full date of birth on others?
  26. Where can I find definitions for some of the legal terms used in court records?
  27. Where can I find an explanation of the abbreviations used in court files?
  28. Is there more information available about these cases?
  29. How is information displayed on the website?
  30. How is address information updated on a court record?
  31. What is the judgment and lien docket?
  32. What is the Wisconsin Open Records Law?
  33. Why can't I see petitioner names or addresses in Domestic Abuse-Temporary Restraining Order cases?

How long are cases kept on WCCA?

Case information remains accessible on WCCA for the minimum retention period for the case type as set by Supreme Court Rule - Chapter 72. However, cases with active warrants, active appeals or money still owed remain available on WCCA. Contact the Clerk of Circuit Court office in the county where the case was filed for complete case information for those cases that no longer display on WCCA. Case types that are confidential do not appear on this list.

Cases remain available as follows:

5 Years Traffic Forfeiture Cases (TR)
Non-Traffic Ordinance Violation Cases (FO)
Incarcerated Person Cases (IP)
20 Years Docketed Judgments
Tax Warrants (TW), with the following exceptions:
Filed before 7/31/1981 - 10 years.
Filed from 7/31/1981 - 4/30/2004 – Permanent retention.
Filed after 4/30/2004: 20 years, but can be renewed for an additional 20 years.
Civil Cases (CV)
Complex Forfeiture Cases (CX)
Foreign Judgment Cases (FJ)
Transcript of Judgment Cases (TJ)
Unemployment Compensation Cases (UC)
Workers Compensation Cases (WC)
Tribal Court Order Cases (TC)
Misdemeanor and Criminal Traffic Cases (CM and CT)
Small Claims Cases (SC), with the following exceptions:
Dismissed SC cases filed prior to 7/1/2006 are removed 1 year after the final order.
Dismissed SC cases filed 7/1/2006 or later are removed 2 years after the final order.
Small Claims cases with stipulated dismissals are displayed for 20 years
see SCR 72.01(8)
30 Years Family Cases (FA), with the following exceptions:
Dismissed divorce and annulment/legal separation cases are retained for 5 years.
Paternity post judgment actions (PA)
50 Years Class B - I Felony Cases (CF)
75 Years Class A Felony Cases (CF)
Probate and Informal Probate Cases (PR and IN)
John Doe Cases (JD, with class code 34001) for proceedings under §968.26, Wis. Stats.
Proceedings commenced under §968.02(3) (JD, with class code 34003).
Commitment of an Inmate Cases (CI)
100 Years Will Filed Cases (WL)

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My case was dismissed. Why is it still showing up on WCCA?

WCCA is a mirror of the historical record in the Clerk of Court's office. As a historical record, it shows what has happened in every case filed. If a case is dismissed, or a person is found "not guilty" in a criminal case, that is part of the historical record and is disclosed in the records. See Question #1 for case retention information.

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Why are some cases not available on WCCA?

There are several reasons why a case may not be available on WCCA:

  • Some older cases were not included when the circuit court in a county automated its records. How far back WCCA records go differs by county. See when counties began using the circuit court case management system.
  • Case types such as adoptions, mental commitments, and juvenile cases are confidential by law and so are not shown on WCCA.
  • A judge may order certain criminal cases to be expunged if the convicted offender is under 25. This order will delete all court records of the case included on WCCA. See FAQ #12.

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Why is Traffic Case Information about Juveniles available on WCCA?

Licensed drivers ages 16 or older are treated as adults for non-criminal traffic violations.

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Is it necessary to put all non-criminal/OWI cases and ordinance violation information on WCCA?

By law and tradition, Wisconsin favors openness in government. Determinations about which cases appear on WCCA were finalized in March of 2002. The information that appears on WCCA represents an effort to balance these competing interests.

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A case appears on WCCA with my name and date of birth, but it isn't me. How can I have that case removed from WCCA?

When a person believes a criminal complaint, traffic citation or ordinance violation was issued in error due to mistaken identity or identity theft, they can petition the court to remove their name from the online record of that action.

If you would like to remove a case that was filed due to mistaken identity or identity theft, complete a Petition, Affidavit and Order Concerning Removal of Case Record from Online Records Because of Identity Theft or Mistaken Identity (GF-182). This form can be found in the forms section of the Wisconsin Court System website at www.wicourts.gov or by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. This form has instructions printed on it that will assist you in completing the form.

If you wish to file this petition, you should also consider filing a Certification by Prosecuting Agency Verifying Identity Theft or Mistaken Identity (GF-185). This form can be found in the forms section of the Wisconsin Court System website at www.wicourts.gov or by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. This form has instructions printed on it that will assist you in completing the form. The Certification by Prosecuting Agency is a statement from the prosecuting agency agreeing that you were not the person who committed the offense. You are not required to submit the Certification, but it strongly recommended that you ask the prosecuting agency to complete a Certification before filing your Petition with the court. If the prosecuting agency does not agree with you that you were not the person who committed the offense, you may have difficulty convincing the court that your Petition should be granted.

Once you have completed the Petition, take it to the clerk of circuit courts office in the county where the case was filed. If the prosecuting agency has completed the Certification, file that with the Petition. The judge will review your Petition.

If your Petition is granted, your name will be concealed on the online (circuit court case management/WCCA) record of the case, but the case number and case information will still be viewable. No change will be made to the paper case file, which will continue to be kept in the clerk of circuit courts office. If you want information sealed in the paper file, you must make a general motion to the court to seal information in the paper court record.

Click here for the form: Petition, Affidavit and Order Concerning Removal of Case Record from Online Records Because of Identity Theft or Mistaken Identity (GF-182)

Click here for the form: Certification by Prosecuting Agency Verifying Identity Theft or Mistaken Identity (GF-185)

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Can I have my address removed from a case on WCCA?

A person whose address displays on WCCA in a non-criminal case can petition the court to remove their address information from the online record for safety reasons. In order for the address to be removed, you must show the court that there is a demonstrated potential of physical or bodily harm or a threat of harm to you, a family member or a member of your household at that address.

If you would like to petition the court to remove your address from WCCA, complete a Petition, Affidavit and Order Concerning Removal of Address Information from Online Records (GF-183). This form can be found in the forms section of the Wisconsin Court System website at www.wicourts.gov or by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. This form has instructions printed on it that will assist you in completing the form. You must submit a separate Petition for each case number in which you wish to have the address removed.

Once you have completed the Petition, take it to the clerk of circuit courts office in the county where the case was filed. A judge will review your Petition. If your Petition is granted, the address information will be removed from the online (circuit court case management/WCCA) case record. This Petition will not remove the address from the paper file. If you would like your address sealed in the paper file, you must make a general motion to the court to seal your address in the paper court record.

Click here for the form Petition, Affidavit and Order Concerning Removal of Address Information from Online Records (GF-183).

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Can I access court cases for other states?

WCCA does not maintain a list of court records databases for other states or jurisdictions. The State Law Library provides links to other court records and public records databases.

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I don't want my private information on WCCA. How can I get it removed?

You probably can't get rid of this information. Wisconsin has a strong open records law [ Wis. Stats. 19.31-19.39 ] that requires most court records to be open. Personal information appearing in court records is protected by statutes only in limited circumstances. According to Wisconsin court cases, even if the information may be harmful to an individual's reputation or privacy, that is not necessarily enough to allow a judge to seal a court record. However, if you feel your safety is at risk, you can petition the court to remove your address from the online record of a non-criminal case. See FAQ #7.

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I don't want my criminal case on WCCA. How can I get it removed?

You probably can't. Wisconsin law allows a judge to "expunge" a case in only two situations, both involving youthful offenders:

  • Certain crimes committed by a person under 25. If the judge ordered expunction upon successful completion of the sentence, the record can be expunged for misdemeanors and certain H & I felonies. See §973.015, Wis. Stats.
  • Adjudication of a juvenile delinquent. A juvenile who has been adjudged delinquent can, upon reaching age 17, petition the judge for expunction of the juvenile adjudication. See §938.355, Wis. Stats. However, WCCA does not display juvenile adjudications because they are not public records.
An expunged case is sealed by the clerk of court and is available to be viewed only with a court order. If the judge properly orders a case expunged, any reference to it will be removed from WCCA. A judge has no other authority or power to expunge cases, and there are no similar provisions for other types of cases.

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Another website is publishing information about my Wisconsin court case. Can I pay to get that information removed?

WCCA is not responsible for court case information that is published on other websites. Any business or website offering to remove court case information for payment is not connected to WCCA or to any circuit court. Wisconsin circuit courts do not accept payment to remove court case information from the website. Payment to another organization will not cause court case information to be removed from the WCCA website.

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Does expunction remove my case from everywhere?

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 those records.
See the Wisconsin Criminal Information Bureau for more information.

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My judgment is satisfied; why is the judgment party status active?

A judgment party's status is always active, unless a creditor has an assigned creditor. If the creditor has an assigned creditor, the assigned creditor is 'active' and the original creditor is inactivated. The active status has nothing to do with the satisfaction of a judgment.

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What is a converted case?

A converted case is a case that existed in the county's case management system prior to using the circuit court case management system. Some cases were converted onto the circuit court case management system. Some converted and historical cases do not contain complete information. To view complete information on these cases, visit the Clerk of Court's office in the county where the case took place. Converted and historical cases have the following Court Record events:

  • This converted data may be incorrect. See file.
  • Converted case opening event
  • Prior information, see file
  • Prior information, see file CL
  • Prior information, see file - No status change
  • Prior Records are Converted Data

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Could you describe what the different case types mean?

  • CF - Felony - a crime punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prisons and / or a fine
  • CI - Commitment of an Inmate - a case with a petition alleging that a person is a sexually violent person
  • CL - Construction Lien - a claim on property for non-payment of work that improved the property
  • CM - Misdemeanor - a crime punishable by a fine and / or confinement in a local jail, but not by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prisons
  • CO - Condominium Lien - a claim on a condominium unit for the owner's non-payment of assessments for common expenses
  • CT - Criminal Traffic - a misdemeanor offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle
  • CV - Civil - typically, lawsuits seeking claims in excess of $5000, but also such actions as restraining orders, appeals from municipal court and administrative agency decisions, name changes, etc.
  • CX - Complex Forfeiture - A forfeiture action that requires access to the rules of civil procedure and which is punishable by a forfeiture of money.
  • FA - Family - divorce, legal separation, annulment, custody, child support, maintenance, property division, or the enforcement or modification of an order affecting the family
  • FJ - Foreign Judgment - a judgment or order of a court from a different state, a federal court outside Wisconsin, a municipal court of another county, or a tribal court; treated as if ordered by a Wisconsin circuit court.
  • FO - Non Traffic Ordinance Violation - a violation, unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle, punishable by the forfeiture of money
  • GF - Group File - a category for maintaining documents that are not specifically case-related
  • HL - Hospital Lien - a claim by a hospital for non-payment of services provided to an injured person. The claim is on a judgment, award, settlement, etc. that the injured person may have against the person responsible for the injury.
  • HT - Habitual Traffic - No longer available for use. A petition claiming a person is not the person identified by DOT as a habitual traffic offender is now filed as a CV case.
  • IN - Informal Probate - a typical probate matter in which no issues are contested and a deceased person's estate is administratively handled by the probate registrar instead of by the court
  • IP - Incarcerated Person - a case with a petition submitted by a prisoner who wants to begin an action without prepaying court costs and fees
  • JD - John Doe - a proceeding under WI Stats. 968.26 to determine whether a crime has been committed. For clerical convenience, this case type also includes the filing of complaints under WI Stats. 968.02(3) and coroners' inquests under WI Stats. 979.04.
  • JJ - Juvenile Judgment - a judgment against a juvenile for unpaid debt, typically restitution
  • JT - Joint Tenancy - No longer available for use. A statement filed with the Register in Probate that results in the termination of a decedent's interest in joint property is filed as a PR case.
  • ML - Mechanics Lien - No longer available for use. A mechanics lien is not required to be filed with the clerk of circuit court.
  • OL - Other Lien - claims not specifically identified by the other lien case types and include such claims as environmental liens, mining liens, quarry labor liens, etc.
  • PA - Paternity - Post judgment actions in paternity cases, such as support and custody. Pre judgment information concerning the determination of paternity is confidential and is not available to the public.
  • PR - Probate - formal probate (in which issues are contested and a deceased person's estate is supervised by the court) and such other probate-related actions as the summary settlement of small estates, the termination of joint tenancy, etc.
  • SC - Small Claims - lawsuits seeking claims of $10,000 or less, evictions, evictions due to foreclosure, replevins (return of property), return of earnest money, forfeitures, arbitration awards, and third-party complaints, personal injury claims, or tort claims of $5,000 or less.
  • TC - Tribal Court Order - a judgment, decision, or order of an Indian tribal court in Wisconsin that is treated as if it had been issued by a Wisconsin state court
  • TJ - Transcript of Judgment - a judgment or order from another Wisconsin circuit court, a Wisconsin appellate court, a federal court in Wisconsin, or a municipal court in that county; treated as if ordered by the circuit court in the county where it's filed.
  • TR - Traffic Forfeiture - a violation, related to the operation of a motor vehicle, punishable by the forfeiture of money
  • TW - Tax Warrant - a warrant issued by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for failure to pay income or franchise tax when due. This warrant has the same effect as a judgment granted by the court.
  • UC - Unemployment Compensation - a warrant issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for an employer's failure to pay contributions, interest, or fees. This warrant has the same effect as a judgment granted by a court.
  • WC - Workers Compensation - an award issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.This award has the same effect as a judgment granted by a court
  • WL - Will Filed - a will filed with the court for safekeeping during a person's lifetime

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What day did WCCA become available on the Internet?

Monday April 5th, 1999.

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How do I retrieve bankruptcy cases?

Bankruptcy cases are handled by the Federal Courts, not the Circuit Courts, and are therefore not available on WCCA.

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Where do I find more information about statutes?

At the Revisor of State Statutes website: http://legis.state.wi.us/lrb

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Who do I contact if I want clarification about information displayed on WCCA?

Contact the Clerk of Circuit Court office in the county where the case was filed for additional information about any cases, judgments, or calendar activities on WCCA. See Clerk of Circuit Court contact information.

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Who do I contact if the data displayed on this web site is incorrect?

Errors on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) Internet Site result from an error in the underlying court record in the county responsible for the case. To correct an error or update a record, you must contact the court official in the county responsible for the case, usually the clerk of circuit court or circuit court judge.

If you are a party in the case you may request that the record be corrected. If you are represented by an attorney, your lawyer should request the correction. If you are not a party in the case, you may ask to have the record corrected if you can show that you have a relationship to the case. Make all error correction requests in the county responsible for the case.

The clerk may be able to correct some information, such as:
  • Typographical errors/misspellings
  • Inconsistent information
  • Action taken, but not shown on the court record
  • Papers filed, but not recorded
  • Errors or omissions in your personal information
Changing certain information requires formal court action, such as:
  • Sentencing information
  • Court activity information
  • Satisfying judgments

PLEASE NOTE: Disagreements over the validity of an action or its outcome are not errors and will not result in changes being made.

Requested corrections should be made in writing and copied to the other parties in the case.

Click here for the ERROR CORRECTION REQUEST FORM.

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Do cases settled out of court display on WCCA?

Once a case is filed with the court, it will display on WCCA, even if the case was settled or dismissed.

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I keep getting the message: "Your search has returned more than 500 rows. Please try again." What's wrong?

WCCA limits your results two ways. First, if a search returns more than 500 records, you will receive an error message. Second, if you search takes longer than a certain amount of time, your search will time out and you will receive an error message. For example, if you search in a county for "Smith*", you will likely get this message because there are more than 500 cases with a last name of Smith. Try further limiting your search by adding additional criteria, such as a first name, a filing date range, or a case type.

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After doing a 'Docketed Civil Judgment' search, some judgments have a link that reads 'Click Here' instead of a case number link. What does 'Click Here' mean?

When you see 'Click Here' instead of a case number, the docketed civil judgment is on a confidential case. No case information will be displayed.

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Why don't I see any Court Record Additional Text on older cases?

The information that displays on WCCA varies based on when the case was added. We display 'Finding Notes', 'Sentence Notes', the 'Miscellaneous Condition Notes', and court record 'Additional Text' for all cases filed after July 1, 2001. In addition, if the individual finding, sentence, or Court Record Event was added after July 1, 2001, the text will display on WCCA. Finally, we display 'Probation Notes' and probation 'Time Conditions Notes' on WCCA for cases with guilty findings beginning on April 1, 2003

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Why do I see the month and year in the 'Date of Birth' field for some cases and the full date of birth on others?

For non-criminal cases, we display only the birth month and year -- we do not display the full date of birth. For criminal felony, criminal traffic, and criminal misdemeanor cases, we display the full date of birth.

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Where can I find definitions for some of the legal terms used in court records?

The Wisconsin News Reporters Handbook, chapter 6, has a good glossary of terms commonly used in Wisconsin courts. You can find it online here. You can also check the Wisconsin State Law Library web site for legal dictionaries and general legal information.

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Where can I find an explanation of the abbreviations used in court files?

You can find a list of some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms used in court files here. There are also many abbreviations in party names and many abbreviations for county jails and state prisons that are not listed.

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Is there more information available about these cases?

The WCCA website does not display all the information in a case file that may be public record. Most cases have a paper file with the original documents shown in the court record events and other documents that may not be referenced on the WCCA website. These documents are available in the offices of the official recordkeepers.

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How is information displayed on the website?

The information on the WCCA website is provided in two ways: the main screen shows the type of case, the parties, and any judgment that has been entered in the case. For criminal cases, a case summary is provided to show the current pending charges or the defendant's conviction/acquittal status. Criminal cases, traffic, and ordinance violations also show a history of the charges against the defendant. On the right, the link to "court record events" provides the date of actions taken in the case, such as filing of the complaint or petition, pleadings, court appearances, and judgments. Individual courts vary in how much detail is entered for each court record event.

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How is address information updated on a court record?

Court records display the last known address for all parties on open cases. Parties whose addresses are listed on the court record should keep the court informed of their current address. Parties should provide their address information to the clerk of circuit court in the county where their case is filed. Addresses are updated on closed cases only if there is continuing court activity on that case.

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What is the judgment and lien docket?

The clerk of circuit court for each county is responsible for maintaining a judgment and lien docket for that county. The judgment and lien docket may consist of several sources: (a) In most counties, recent records are maintained electronically by entry into the circuit court case management system. Current filings may be viewed on public access terminals located in the office of the clerk of circuit court. Some clerks also make entries into a paper docket kept in the clerk's office. (b) Older records are contained in books and card files that predated implementation of the circuit court case management system. These older sources are kept only in the clerk's office for that county. (c) The WCCA website usually displays new judgments and liens within a few minutes of the time they are entered in the judgment and lien docket by the clerk of court. However, WCCA cannot guarantee that website information is completely current for purposes of the judgment and lien docket, due to occasional delays in uploading information from the circuit court case management system to the website.

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What is the Wisconsin Open Records Law?

The public policy of Wisconsin state government is that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and its official acts. Wis. Statute 19.31. Circuit court records are open for public inspection, Wis. Stats. 59.20(3), unless closed by a statute, a common law limitation, or a specific court order.

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Why can't I see petitioner names or addresses in Domestic Abuse-Temporary Restraining Order cases?

Federal law prohibits Internet access to petitioner name and address information in these cases. 18 USC sec. 2265(d)(3). Wisconsin Statute 813.12(5m) also prohibits the court from disclosing the petitioner's address.

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