In the state of Wyoming expungement does not necessarily mean the physical destruction of criminal files as it is normally viewed. Expungement is the figurative elimination of criminal files so they are no longer able to be accessed by the general public. In Wyoming expunged files are maintained by the state central repository of the criminal investigation division. Here they are specially filed to ensure that the criminal record therein cannot be accessed for dissemination purposes. After expungement the only people that will have access to these files are those of criminal justice agencies from any federal or state criminal justice agency for the use of criminal justice purposes. When criminal records are eliminated this means in both paper form and electronic form.
When records are sealed the record is not destroyed but, according to Wyoming Statues 14-6-240, destruction of fingerprints, DNA samples, and related identifying records are destroyed. These normally include juvenile no adjudged guilty records of felony offenses.
Only certain individuals are eligible for record expungement. The state of Wyoming allowed the sealing of juvenile adjudicated delinquent files that can include misdemeanors and municipal ordinances. If an individual has reached the age of eight and has not been convicted of a felony since adjudication, record sealing is an option. However the individual must have completed rehabilitation as to the satisfaction of the court and the prosecuting attorney.
Expungement is also possible under the Wyoming Statues 7-13-1401 for any individual who has had charges dismissed or has waited one hundred eighty days since an arrest was made. No formal charges can be pending upon filing and the individual must adequately demonstrate that he or she has no related dispositions, has had no criminal charges filed, or has had all criminal proceedings against him or her dismissed fully.
Expungement is spoken of so often but many are not aware of what files are able to be sealed and destroyed. In Wyoming all identifiable information and DNA records that reside in the DNA database may be removed after a felony conviction has been dismissed or reversed. This DNA information must be in relation to the dismissed or reversed felony conviction and no other crime. Under Wyoming Statues 14-6-240 all fingerprints and other records of a child who has not been found not guilty of an adult felony shall be expunged upon petition. Juvenile records that are in the custody of the court or any other agency or official can be sealed when in relation to his or her case.
Expungement is a privilege granted to an individual. Expungement is not a right. A formal written request must be petitioned to the offending court, which can deny the petition if the form was not completed accurately or it is not in the favor of the court to grant the expungement. A copy of the reversed or dismissed conviction will also need to be petitioned to the court for verification. Filing fees may apply under certain circumstances, but petitioning is often free of charge. See also:
Wyoming Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Wyoming Felony External link (opens in new window)
Wyoming Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)