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Expungement Laws

Student Legal Services - ASUW

Expungement Laws

Expungement is a means to ensure that a person's criminal record will not be available for distribution, other than to be used for criminal justice purposes. These records DO NOT disappear when a record is expunged; the record is simply removed from public access and sealed. Theoretically almost anyone with a Wyoming criminal record could contemplate expungement.  It is a pure statutory process, however, and your case must satisfy the exact language of these laws in order for the process to be successful.  In Wyoming perhaps the most common expungement procedures occur when a juvenile is convicted of a misdemeanor or violation of municipal ordinances (no violent offenses allowed) and then petitions the court for the expungement of the records when he or she reaches the age of majority (if there has not been a conviction for a felony offense since the last conviction as a juvenile). If a person is seeking expungement of his or her adult criminal records, he or she may begin the procedure no sooner than 180 days after the arrest or from the date the charge(s) was dismissed. There must be no formal charges pending against the person when the petition is filed and the petitioner must sufficiently demonstrate at least one of the following: 1) there were no convictions pursuant to any charge or charges, including a lesser or different charge as the result of the incident that led to the person's being arrested; or 2) no criminal charges of any kind were filed; or 3) all criminal proceedings against the person were dismissed. 

Also, a person who (as an adult) has pleaded guilty or no contest to or been convicted of some misdemeanor crimes that are specifically listed in another Wyoming statutory expungement law may petition the convicting court for an expungement of the records of conviction, subject to the following limitations: 1) at least 5 years have passed since the expiration of the sentence imposed for the offense; 2) the petitioner has not previously pleaded guilty to or been convicted of a misdemeanor under the same crimes that are specifically listed in this law (except for the current conviction being sought for expungement); and 3) the misdemeanor to be expunged did not involve a firearm. The petitioner must verify a petition filed under this law, pay a $100 filing fee, and serve the petition upon the prosecuting attorney and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.  If the prosecuting attorney files no objections, the court can place the file under seal if it finds the petitioner is worthy of expungement.  A person can only receive an expungement of a conviction under this law once.  The specific misdemeanor crimes that may be expunged according to the terms of this law are simple assault (including assault upon a household member), battery, reckless endangering and breach of the peace.

The procedures set out in the two laws discussed above (the law regarding expunging criminal records discussed in paragraph one and the law regarding criminal convictions for certain specific misdemeanors discussed in paragraph two) in regard to how to go about getting the records or convictions expunged are slightly different for the two laws and a person interested in learning more should consult the two laws:  W.S.. § 7-13-1401 for expungement of criminal records and/or W.S.. § 7-13-1501 for expungement of certain convictions.  

A third law, W.S.. § 7-13-1502, sets out a procedure for expunging the records of a conviction for certain felonies, subject to specific limitations.  These limitations are: 1) at least 10 years have passed since the expiration of the sentence imposed by the convicting court for the felony; 2) the petitioner has not previously pleaded guilty or no contest to or been convicted of any other felony (besides the one for which expungement is being sought); 3) no firearm was used in the felony for which expungement is being sought; and 4) violent felonies, or felonies punishable or subject to registration under the below sections are NOT eligible for expungement:

 

  • W.S.. § 6-1-104(a)(xii): "Violent felony" means 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.
  • W.S.. § 6-2-106(b): Homicide by vehicle; aggravated homicide by vehicle; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 6-2-108: Drug induced homicide; penalty.
  • W.S.. § 6-2-301 through 6-2-320; Sexual Assault
  • W.S.. § 6-2-501(f); Simple assault; battery; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 6-2-503: Child abuse; penalty.
  • W.S.. § 6-2-508(b); person is guilty of aggravated assault and battery on a corrections or detention officer
  • W.S.. § 6-3-111: Possession, manufacture, transportation and sale of explosives, improvised explosive device, or incendiary apparatus with unlawful intent prohibited; penalties; definition; exception.
  • W.S.. § 6-4-103: Promoting prostitution; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 6-4-303(b)(i) through (iii); Sexual exploitation of children; penalties; definitions.
  • W.S.. § 6-4-402(b): Incest
  • W.S.. § 6-4-405: Endangering children; controlled substances; penalty
  • W.S.. § 6-5-102: Bribery
  • W.S.. § 6-5-204(b) or (c): injury to a peace officer
  • W.S.. § 6-5-206: Escape from official detention; penalties, or W.S.. 6-5-207: Escape by violence or assault, or while armed; penalty.
  • W.S.. § 6-5-301; Perjury in judicial, legislative or administrative proceedings; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 6-8-101: Use of firearm while committing felony; subsequent convictions; penalties; applicability of provisions.
  • W.S.. § 6-8-102: Use or possession of firearm by person convicted of certain felony offenses; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 6-8-103: Possession, manufacture or disposition of deadly weapon with unlawful intent; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 7-19-302(g) through (j): Registration of offenders; procedure; verification.
  • W.S.. § 31-5-233: Driving or having control of vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances; penalties.
  • W.S.. § 35-7-1031(a) through (c) or 35-7-1036: Unlawful manufacture or delivery; counterfeit substance; unlawful possession or distribution to person under 18; drug free school zones.

 

 A petition filed under this law must be verified by petitioner, the petitioner must pay a $300 filing fee, and the petition must be served upon the prosecuting attorney and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. If the prosecuting attorney files no objection before a 90-day deadline, then the court may enter the order (if the court finds the petitioner eligible) for expungement. The court will then place the court file under seal, only available for inspection by order of that court. An expungement under this law restores any rights removed from a defendant as a result of his or her felony conviction. 

 

So, you may be asking yourself, what else can be expunged? Expungement can include not only court records but also identifiable information and DNA records relating to the subject conviction.  Items that cannot be expunged include investigatory files being used solely for criminal justice purposes

 

For more information, see the below Wyoming Statutes:

 

W.S.. § 7-13-1401: Petition for expungement; records of arrest, dismissal of charges, disposition; eligibility; no filing fee

W.S.. § 14-6-240: Fingerprinting or photographing a child; disclosure of child's records

W.S.. § 14-6-241: Expungement of records in juvenile and municipal courts

W.S.. § 14-6-440: Expungement of records in juvenile court

W.S.. § 7-13-1501: Petition for expungement of records of conviction of misdemeanors; filing fee; notice; objections; hearing; definitions.

W.S.. § 7-13-1502: Petition for expungement of records of conviction of certain felonies; filing fee; notice; objections; hearing; definitions; restoration of rights;

W.S. § 7-19-405: Expungement of Information


Spring 2012 SLS extern Emily Thomas, a University of Wyoming Law student, wrote this section while under the supervision of the Student Legal Services. 


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