Arrest Records in Wisconsin

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to Wisconsin background checks and Wisconsin public records.

 

Wisconsin has a population of around 5.8 million, which makes it the 20th most populated and the 25th most densely populated state in the country. The state has slightly below average crime compared to the U.S. at large, earning a 2.95 per 1,000 violent crime rate in 2018. 

However, the state’s largest city Milwaukee logged a violent crime rate nearly five times higher than the statewide rate. Additionally, Wisconsin experiences a high concentration of arrests, recording the 11th highest arrest per capita rate in the nation in 2018.  

Wisconsin Arrest and Crime Statistics

  • In 2018, around 245 thousand arrests were made in Wisconsin, as reported by 422 law enforcement agencies across the state. 
  • The leading identified cause of arrest in Wisconsin was drug abuse violations, which resulted in around 31 thousand arrests.
  • Wisconsin has the 6th highest rate of sex offenders per capita, with a rate of 432 offenders per 100K residents. 

Sources: FBI: 2018 Crime in the United States, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 

What is a public arrest record?

An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.

An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.  

What is included in a public arrest record?

  • Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime. 
  • Date and location of the arrest
  • Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks. 
  • Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by. 
  • Photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Bail
  • Court date
  • Police interrogation details

What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?

Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:

  • Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering. 
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
  • Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.  

Who can access arrest records?

As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in Wisconsin and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check. 

Other examples of Wisconsin public records include:

  • vital records such as birth and death certificates
  • marriage licenses
  • mugshots
  • court records
  • voting records
  • property records 

Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in Wisconsin?

Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. 

While arrest records may be held in a variety of locations, the central repository for criminal history information in Wisconsin is maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Information Bureau (CIB)

Why can’t I access an arrest record in Wisconsin?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.

The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:

  1. The information is classified to protect natural security. 
  2. The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
  3. Another federal law prohibits the release of the information.
  4. The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information. 
  5. The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies. 
  6. The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
  7. The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source. 
  8. The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision. 
  9. The information includes geographical information about wells.

Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?

Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.  

In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect. 

How many Americans have been arrested?

While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:

  • In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
  • 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
  • The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested: 
    • 6.4% of Americans born before 1949
    • 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
    • 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
    • 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
    • 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RAND Corporation

How to search online for Arrest Records in Wisconsin

Members of the general public can use the Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS) to perform a name-based criminal background check on anyone. The results will yield any Wisconsin arrest records in that person’s name. 

Here’s some basic information about WORCS:

  • One search of the Wisconsin database costs $7. A certified result copy of the criminal record can be purchased for an additional $5.
  • Name-based searches require the following fields to be filled out: Last Name, First Initial, and Date of Birth OR Last Name, First Initial, and Social Security Number.
  • Users can register in order to make payments directly from a billing account.   

How can I search for a Wisconsin arrest record on the internet using a background check service?

Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access Wisconsin arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee. 

However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.  

What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?

If your Wisconsin arrest record or another criminal history document contains an error or incomplete information, you can issue a challenge by submitting the following items to the Wisconsin CIB:

  • A filled out and signed copy of a Wisconsin Criminal History Challenge form. Be sure to give a detailed explanation of the mistake on the form. 
  • A full set of fingerprints on an official fingerprint card. Fingerprinting can be done at a local police department or sheriff’s office. 
  • Any supporting documentation in your possession that provides proof that the arrest record contains an error. 

Mail these items to:

Crime Information Bureau

P.O. Box 2718

Madison, WI 53701-2718

Wisconsin Courthouse and Sheriff Information by County

CountyCourthouseAddressPhoneSheriffAddressPhone
Adams CountyAdams County Circuit Court402 Main St
Friendship, WI 53934
608-339-4208Adams County Sheriff's OfficeFriendship, WI 53934608-339-3304
Ashland CountyAshland County Courthouse201 Main St W
Ashland, WI 54806
715-682-7016Ashland County Sheriff220 6th St E
Ashland, WI 54806
715-685-7640
Barron CountyBarron County Circuit Court1420 WI-25 #2601
Barron, WI 54812
715-537-6260Chris Fitzgerald-Barron County Sheriff1420 WI-25
Barron, WI 54812
715-537-3106
Bayfield CountyBayfield County Courthouse117 E 5th St
Washburn, WI 54891
715-373-6108Bayfield County Sheriff's Office615 2nd Ave E
Washburn, WI 54891
715-373-6120
Brown CountyBrown County WI Courthouse100 S Jefferson St
Green Bay, WI 54301
920-448-4110Brown County, WI Sheriff's Office2684 Development Dr
Green Bay, WI 54311
920-448-4200
Buffalo CountyBuffalo Clerk of Court407 S 2nd St
Alma, WI 54610
608-685-6212Buffalo County Sheriff's Department407 S 2nd St
Alma, WI 54610
608-685-4433
Burnett CountyClerk of Circuit Court7410 Co Rd K #214
Siren, WI 54872
715-349-2147Burnett County Sheriff's Office7410 Co Rd K
Siren, WI 54872
715-349-2121
Calumet CountyCalumet County Courthouse206 Court St
Chilton, WI 53014
920-849-1414Calumet County Sheriff206 Court St
Chilton, WI 53014
920-849-2335
Chippewa CountyChippewa County Clerk of Courts711 N Bridge St
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
715-726-7758Chippewa County Sheriff32 Spruce St
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
715-726-7701
Clark CountyClark County Courthouse517 Court St
Neillsville, WI 54456
715-743-5150Clark County Sheriff517 Court St
Neillsville, WI 54456
715-743-3157
Columbia CountyColumbia County Courthouse400 De Witt St
Portage, WI 53901
608-742-2191Columbia County Jail711 E Cook St
Portage, WI 53901
608-742-6476
Crawford CountyCrawford County Circuit Court220 N Beaumont Rd # 208
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821
608-326-0205Crawford County Sheriff's Office224 N Beaumont Rd
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821
608-326-0241
Dane CountyDane County Courthouse215 S Hamilton St
Madison, WI 53703
608-266-4311Dane County Sheriff115 W Doty St
Madison, WI 53703
608-284-6800
Dodge CountyDodge County Clerk of Courts210 W Center St
Juneau, WI 53039
920-386-3570Dodge County Sheriff's Office124 West St
Juneau, WI 53039
920-386-3726
Door CountyDoor County Circuit Court1209 S Duluth Ave
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
920-746-2280Door County Sheriff1201 S Duluth Ave
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
920-746-2400
Douglas CountyDouglas County Courthouse1313 Belknap St #302
Superior, WI 54880
715-395-1203Douglas County Sheriff's Department1316 N 14th St #100
Superior, WI 54880
715-395-1371
Dunn CountyDunn County Clerk of Courts615 Stokke Pkwy #1500
Menomonie, WI 54751
715-232-2611Dunn County Sheriff's Department615 Stokke Pkwy
Menomonie, WI 54751
715-232-1348
Eau Claire CountyEau Claire County Clerk of Courts721 Oxford Ave #2220
Eau Claire, WI 54703
715-839-4816Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office721 Oxford Ave #1400
Eau Claire, WI 54703
715-839-4709
Florence CountyFlorence County Clerk of Court501 Lake Ave
Florence, WI 54121
715-528-3205Florence County Sheriffs Office501 Lake Ave
Florence, WI 54121
715-528-3346
Fond du Lac CountyClerk of Courts160 S Macy St
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
920-929-3038Fond Du Lac County Sheriff's180 S Macy St
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
920-929-3390
Forest CountyForest County Courthouse200 E Madison St
Crandon, WI 54520
Forest County Sheriff100 S Park Ave
Crandon, WI 54520
715-478-3331
Grant CountyGrant County Sheriff 's Office8820 US-61
Lancaster, WI 53813
608-723-2157
Green CountyGreen County Clerk of Circuit Court2841 6th St
Monroe, WI 53566
608-328-9433Green County Sheriff's Department2827 6th St
Monroe, WI 53566
608-328-9400
Green Lake CountyGreen Lake Clerk of Court571 Co Rd A
Green Lake, WI 54941
920-294-4142Green Lake County Sheriff Department571 Co Rd A
Green Lake, WI 54941
920-294-4000
Iowa CountyIowa County Circuit Court Clrk222 N Iowa St # 205
Dodgeville, WI 53533
608-935-0395Iowa County Sheriff's Department1205 N Bequette St
Dodgeville, WI 53533
608-935-3314
Iron CountyIron County Circuit Court Clerk300 Taconite St # 101
Hurley, WI 54534
715-561-4084Iron County Sheriff's Office300 Taconite St # 226
Hurley, WI 54534
715-561-3800
Jackson CountyJackson County Courthouse307 Main St
Black River Falls, WI 54615
715-284-0208Jackson County Sheriff's Office30 N 3rd St
Black River Falls, WI 54615
715-284-5357 ext. 180
Jefferson CountyJefferson County Courthouse311 S Center Ave
Jefferson, WI 53549
920-674-7150Jefferson County Sheriff's Office411 S Center Ave
Jefferson, WI 53549
920-674-7310
Juneau CountyJuneau County Judge200 Oak St
Mauston, WI 53948
608-847-9351Juneau County Sheriff's Office200 Oak St
Mauston, WI 53948
608-847-5649
Kenosha CountyKenosha County Courthouse912 56th St
Kenosha, WI 53140
262-653-2664Kenosha County Sheriff's Department1000 55th St #1
Kenosha, WI 53140
262-605-5100
Kewaunee CountyKewaunee County Circuit Ct Clerk613 Dodge St
Kewaunee, WI 54216
920-388-7144Kewaunee Rescue Squad620 Juneau St
Kewaunee, WI 54216
920-388-3100
La Crosse CountyLa Crosse County Clerk of Courts333 Vine St
La Crosse, WI 54601
608-785-9590La Crosse County Sheriff's Department333 Vine St
La Crosse, WI 54601
608-785-9629
Lafayette CountyLafayette Circuit Court Judge626 Main St
Darlington, WI 53530
608-776-4811Lafayette County Sheriffs Department138 W Catherine St
Darlington, WI 53530
608-776-4870
Langlade CountyLanglade County Circuit Court800 Clermont St
Antigo, WI 54409
715-627-6215Langlade County Sheriff840 Clermont St
Antigo, WI 54409
715-627-6411
Lincoln CountyLincoln County Circuit Court1110 E Main St #200
Merrill, WI 54452
715-536-0303Lincoln County Sheriff's Department1104 E 1st St
Merrill, WI 54452
715-536-6272
Manitowoc CountyManitowoc County Court House1010 S 8th St
Manitowoc, WI 54220
920-683-4000Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office1025 S 9th St
Manitowoc, WI 54220
920-683-4200
Marathon CountyMarathon County Courthouse500 Forest St
Wausau, WI 54403
715-261-1000Marathon County Sheriff's Department500 Forest St
Wausau, WI 54403
715-261-1200
Marinette CountyMarinette County Clerk-Court1926 Hall Ave
Marinette, WI 54143
715-732-7450Marinette County Sheriff's Office2161 University Dr
Marinette, WI 54143
715-732-7600
Marquette CountyMarquette County Clerk of Courts77 W Park St
Montello, WI 53949
608-297-3100Marquette County Sheriff Department67 W Park St
Montello, WI 53949
608-297-2115
Menominee CountyJudiciary Courts StateCourthouse Ln
Keshena, WI 54135
715-799-3348Menominee SheriffW3269 Court House Ln
Keshena, WI 54135
715-799-3357
Milwaukee CountyMilwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Court901 N 9th St
Milwaukee, WI 53233
414-278-5362Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office821 W State St
Milwaukee, WI 53233
414-278-4788
Monroe CountyMonroe County Clerk of Court112 S Court St # 2200
Sparta, WI 54656
608-269-8745Monroe County Sheriff112 S Court St
Sparta, WI 54656
608-269-2117
Oconto CountyOconto County Circuit Court301 Washington St
Oconto, WI 54153
920-834-6837Oconto County Sheriff301 Washington St
Oconto, WI 54153
920-834-6900
Oneida CountyOneida County Courthouse1 S Oneida Ave
Rhinelander, WI 54501
715-369-6144Oneida County Sheriff2000 E Winnebago St
Rhinelander, WI 54501
715-361-5100
Outagamie CountyOutagamie County Courthouse320 S Elm St
Appleton, WI 54911
920-832-5131Outagamie County Sheriff3030 Goodland Dr
Appleton, WI 54911
920-832-5605
Ozaukee CountyOzaukee County Courthouse1201 S Spring St
Port Washington, WI 53074
262-284-8409Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office1201 S Spring St
Port Washington, WI 53074
262-284-7172
Pepin CountyPepin Circuit Court Clerk740 7th Ave W
Durand, WI 54736
715-672-8861Pepin County Sheriff's Office740 7th Ave W
Durand, WI 54736
715-672-5944
Pierce CountyPierce County Courthouse414 W Main St
Ellsworth, WI 54011
715-273-3531Pierce County Sheriff's Office555 W Overlook Dr
Ellsworth, WI 54011
715-273-5051
Polk CountyPolk County Circuit Court Branch 11005 W Main St #300
Balsam Lake, WI 54810
715-485-9299Polk County Sheriff's Office1005 W Main St #900
Balsam Lake, WI 54810
715-485-8300
Portage CountyPortage County Courthouse1516 Church St
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715-346-1364Portage County Sheriff's Office1500 Strongs Ave
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715-346-1400
Price CountyPrice County Circuit Court126 Cherry St # 201
Phillips, WI 54555
715-339-3315Price County Sheriff164 Cherry St
Phillips, WI 54555
715-339-3011
Racine CountyRacine County Circuit CourtRacine County Courthouse, 730 Wisconsin Ave
Racine, WI 53403
262-636-3333Racine County Jail717 Wisconsin Ave
Racine, WI 53403
262-636-3929
Richland CountyRichland County Circuit Court JudgeP.O. Box 427
Richland Center, WI 53581
(608) 647-2626Richland County Sheriff's Department181 W Seminary St
Richland Center, WI 53581
608-647-2106
Rock CountyRock County Courthouse51 S Main St
Janesville, WI 53545
608-743-2200Rock County Sheriff's Department200 US-14
Janesville, WI 53545
608-757-8000
Rusk CountyRusk County Courthouse311 Miner Ave E
Ladysmith, WI 54848
715-532-2108Rusk County Sheriff's Office311 Miner Ave E
Ladysmith, WI 54848
715-532-2200
Saint Croix CountySt Croix Family Court Clerk1101 Carmichael Rd # 2403
Hudson, WI 54016
715-386-4630St Croix County Office1101 Carmichael Rd
Hudson, WI 54016
715-386-4600
Sauk CountySauk County Courthouse515 Oak St
Baraboo, WI 53913
608-355-3287Sauk County Sheriff's Department1300 Lange Ct
Baraboo, WI 53913
608-356-4895
Sawyer CountySawyer County Clerk of Courts10610 Main St #74
Hayward, WI 54843
715-634-4887Sawyer County Sheriff15880 E 5th St
Hayward, WI 54843
715-634-4858
Shawano CountyShawano Clerk of Court311 N Main St
Shawano, WI 54166
715-526-9347Shawano Sheriff Department405 N Main St
Shawano, WI 54166
715-526-3111
Sheboygan CountySheboygan County Courthouse615 N 6th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081
920-459-3068Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department525 N 6th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081
920-459-3111
Taylor CountyTaylor County CourthouseS 2nd St
Medford, WI 54451
715-748-1400Taylor County Sheriff’s Department224 S 2nd St
Medford, WI 54451
715-748-2200
Trempealeau CountyTrempealeau County Clerk of Courts36245 Main Street.
PO. Box 67
Whitehall, WI 54773
715-538-2311 ext. 331Trempealeau County Sheriff36245 Main St
Whitehall, WI 54773
715-538-2311
Vernon CountyVernon County Courthouse400 Court House Square St Ste 108
Viroqua, WI 54665
608-637-5340Vernon Co. Sheriff's Office & Detention Center1320 Bad Axe Ct
Viroqua, WI 54665
608-637-2123
Vilas CountyVilas County Courthouse330 Court St
Eagle River, WI 54521
715-479-3600Vilas County Sheriff330 Court St
Eagle River, WI 54521
715-479-4441
Walworth CountyWalworth County Clerk of Court1800 County Rd NN
Elkhorn, WI 53121
262-741-7012Walworth County Sheriff Services1770 County Rd NN
Elkhorn, WI 53121
262-741-4400
Washburn CountyWashburn County Clerk of Circuit Court10 4th Ave 2nd Floor
Shell Lake, WI 54871
715-468-4677Washburn County Sheriff's Office421 US Hwy 63
Shell Lake, WI 54871
715-468-4700
Washington CountyWashington County Courthouse432 E Washington St
West Bend, WI 53090
262-335-4400Washington County Sheriff's Department500 Rolfs Ave
West Bend, WI 53095
262-335-4378
Waukesha CountyWaukesha County Courthouse515 W Moreland Blvd
Waukesha, WI 53188
262-896-8410Waukesha County Sheriff Department515 W Moreland Blvd
Waukesha, WI 53188
262-548-7122
Waupaca CountyWaupaca County Family Court811 Harding St
Waupaca, WI 54981
715-258-6111Waupaca County Sheriff1402 Royalton St
Waupaca, WI 54981
715-258-4466
Waushara CountyWaushara County Courthouse209 S St Marie St
Wautoma, WI 54982
920-787-0441Waushara County Jail430 E Division St
Wautoma, WI 54982
920-787-6591
Winnebago CountyWinnebago County Courthouse415 Jackson St
Oshkosh, WI 54901
920-727-2880Winnebago County Sheriff's Department4311 Jackson St
Oshkosh, WI 54901
920-727-2888
Wood CountyWood County Clerk of Courts400 Market St
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
715-421-8490Wood County Sheriff's Department400 Market St # 2
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
715-421-8700

 

If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and maybe hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with ArrestRecords.com. Thanks to public records laws, almost all Wisconsin arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find Wisconsin marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.

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