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Expungements


Legal Disclaimer: The following is basic legal information, provided as a public service by Wyoming’s lawyers. The information provided is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney.  Only an attorney can give you legal advice regarding your specific situation. Click here for help finding a lawyer


What is Expungement?

Expungement is the process of removing (sealing) a criminal record from the public under certain circumstances. This handout provides an overview of Wyoming expungement procedures.

Why would I need an expungement?

Criminal records are used for a variety of purposes.  Having something on your criminal record can make it more difficult to find a job or rent an apartment.  Removing records that are eligible for expungement may improve your job, school, and housing opportunities.  If a record is expunged, no one (other than law enforcement) can see the records and you do not have to disclose the record to employers or anyone else.

What information is contained in criminal records?

Criminal records contain more than just court records and convictions.  The records contain all criminal history including arrests and records of original charges, even if those charges were later reduced or dismissed.  It is important to understand what is in your criminal record.  Criminal records can be hard to understand.  If you don’t know what is on your criminal record or what the information in the records mean, you should contact a lawyer for advice and help.  For help finding a lawyer, click here.

How can I see what is in my criminal record?

In Wyoming, you can get a copy of your criminal record from the Division of Criminal Investigation.  For more information about obtaining your Wyoming criminal history report, click here

Are some criminal records automatically expunged?

No, do not expect a record to be automatically expunged.  You must file a petition for expungement with the proper court to have the record expunged.

What criminal records can be expunged?

It depends on the type of record and what happened in the case. You may need to speak to an attorney to see if a record can be expunged. There are several ways to qualify for an expungement depending on the circumstances. However, only crimes in Wyoming can be expunged by a Wyoming court. If you have a criminal history in another state, you will have to see if you qualify for expungement in the other state.

See below for records that are eligible for expungement in Wyoming:

Expungement of arrest with NO conviction - W.S. 7-13-1401 

Eligibility for Expungement: A person may ask to expunge the records of an arrest, criminal charge, or criminal case outcome if the following are true: 

  1. At least 180 days have passed since the arrest or from when the criminal charge was dismissed; AND
  2. there are no formal charges pending when the expungement request is made; AND
  3. at least one of the following is true:
    1. the person was not convicted of any criminal charge relating to the event that led to the arrest (in other words, there was a full acquittal on all charges, if any); OR
    2. no criminal charges of any kind were filed against the person as a result of the event that led to the arrest; OR
    3. the prosecutor or court dismissed all criminal charges against the person relating to the event. 

NOTE: A person who pleads guilty or is convicted of a charge is not able to get expungement under this statute (W. S. 7-13-1401), even if there is deferred adjudication or the charge is later dismissed. However, the person may still be able to get expungment under other statutes.

Expungement of a misdemeanor conviction - W.S. 7-13-1501 

A person who pleads guilty, pleads no contest, or is convicted of a misdemeanor may ask for expungment. This includes cases of deferred adjudication and cases where the charge is later dismissed.

To expunge a misdemeanor, the following must be true: 

  1. At least one (1) year has passed after the end of a sentence for a status offense OR at least five (5) years have passed since the end of a sentence for a non-status offense; AND
  2. the misdemeanor did not involve the use of a gun; AND
  3. the person is not a substantial danger to himself, any victim, or society. 

What is a status offense? A status offense is something that is only illegal for certain groups of people, such as minors. For example, drinking alcohol is only a crime if you are under 21.

NOTE:  A person can only get one expungement under this statute. 

Expungement of a felony conviction – W.S. 7-13-1502

A person can ask to expunge any felony conviction under this statute except those listed below.

Felonies which are NOT eligible for expungement: 

  1. Violent felonies (including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, first or second degree sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, aircraft hijacking, first or second degree arson, and aggravated burglary) - W.S. 6-1-104(a)(xii)
  2. Aggravated homicide by vehicle - W.S. 6-2-106(b)
  3. Drug induced homicide - W.S. 6-2-108
  4. Crimes involving sexual assault - W.S. 6-2-301 et. seq.
  5. Domestic battery (except for the first offense) - W.S. 6-2-501(f) as in effect prior to July 1, 2014, or W.S. 6-2-511(b)(iii)
  6. Child abuse - W.S. 6-2-503
  7. Aggravated assault and battery on a corrections or detention officer (attacking prison staff) - W.S. 6-2-508(b)
  8. Sexual exploitation of children - W.S. 6-4-303(b)(i) through (iii)
  9. Incest - W.S. 6-4-402(b)
  10. Endangering children with controlled substances - W.S. 6-4-405 
  11. Bribery - W.S. 6-5-102
  12. Disarming a peace officer on official duty - W.S. 6-5-204(c)
  13. Escape from official detention or escape by violence or assault or while armed (violent or armed jailbreak) - W.S. 6-5-206 or 6-5-207
  14. Weapons offenses - W.S. 6-8-101 or 6-8-102
  15. Crimes that requires sex offender registration - W.S. 7-19-302(g) through (j) 

To expunge a felony (other than those listed above), the following must be true:

  1. At least ten (10) years have passed since:
    1. the end of the sentence, including probation; AND
    2. the completion of any court-ordered program; AND
    3. full payment of any court-ordered payment to the victims (restitution); AND
  2. the person has not plead guilty, plead no contest, or been convicted for any other felonies; AND
  3. no guns were used in the felony for which the person seeks expungement; AND
  4. the person is not a substantial danger to himself, any victim, or society.

NOTE:  A person can only get one expungement under this statute. 

Expungement of juvenile records - W.S. 14-6-241 

Once a person turns 18, they can ask to expunge any non-violent felony committed as a minor. See W.S. 6-1-104(a)(xii) and above for information on violent felonies.

To expunge a juvenile record, the following must be true:

  1. The person has turned 18 years old; AND
  2. the person has not been convicted of any more felonies; AND
  3. there are no current felony cases against the person; AND
  4. the court or prosecuting attorney believes that the person has been rehabilitated.

What is the process for getting an expungement?

The first step to getting an expungement is to file a Petition for Expungement with the proper court. The person applying for the expungement, the Petitioner, will have to prepare the Petition for Expungement or hire an attorney to do so. As with any legal action, mistakes can have serious consequences. It is always advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney. For help finding a lawyer, click here.

After preparing the Petition, you will need to file it with the proper court. The proper court to file the Petition varies depending on the offense that is being expunged. If there were charges filed and there was a court case, then the Petition will likely need to be filed in the same court that heard the case originally.

Once the Petition is filed, other parties must be notified and served with the Petition. The Petition must be served on the proper parties, which, depending on the case, include the prosecuting attorney, division of criminal investigation, and the victims of the crime being expunged. The parties served with the Petition are called Respondents. If any of the Respondents object to the expungement, then the Court will set the case for a hearing. At the court hearing, the court will determine if the offense qualifies for an expungement.

If the court grants an expungement, the Petitioner will need to prepare an Order for Expungement to present to the court for the judge’s signature. The court will likely expect the Petitioner to have an Order drafted and ready for the judge’s signature at the hearing.

After the judge signs the Order of Expungement, the court’s file will be sealed and removed from public access. The court will send a copy of the Order to the Division of Criminal Investigation and any related records of arrest, charge, or disposition in the state’s central records will be removed from public access. 

What happens to the record once it has been expunged?

The record is sealed from public access and can only be seen by law enforcement. 

Can other information related to the case be expunged?

Other types of records that were made in connection to the case may also be expunged in some circumstances. Additional information that can be expunged includes identifiable information and DNA records that were collected relating to the case. However, items such as investigation files cannot be expunged.

It is also important to understand that things like newspaper articles containing information about the arrest or conviction cannot be expunged and may still be available to the public.