CIB Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal History Unit

What criminal history information can be accessed over the Internet?

Access to criminal history information can be obtained on the Wisconsin Online Record Check System at


Adult criminal history information is public record in the State of Wisconsin.  Anyone may obtain this information provided they pay the fee established by the Wisconsin Legislature. 


Access to juvenile information is restricted by statute and is available online only for daycare background checks.  To conduct a daycare background check, you must have a valid Facility ID number assigned by the Department of Children and Families, which must be added to your billing account, and then you must select Daycare as your request type.


The general public is prohibited by law from accessing juvenile information.


What type of response will I receive when doing a Wisconsin criminal history background check?

The Background Check & Criminal History Information page or WORCS FAQs page may be of further assistance. 


How do I read a criminal history response?
Please visit the Background Check & Criminal History Information page for additional assistance.


What do I do if I believe a criminal history response is incorrect for any reason?
Please visit the Background Check & Criminal History Information page for additional assistance.


How do I challenge a criminal history response?
Please visit the Background Check & Criminal History Information page for additional assistance.


How can I get records from other states?

Release of criminal history information from other states is governed by the laws of each state. Some states release information similar to Wisconsin, some states release no information, and other states may fall somewhere in between.


What is the fee for a background check?

Online background checks cost $7.00.

(Optional) Additional caregiver or daycare fee of $3.00.


Mail requests are subject to an additional $5.00 processing charge.


How can I obtain a certified background check?

A Single Name Record Request Form (DL-LE-250) Form must be mailed in with a notation in the "Special Processing Instructions" section requesting a certified copy. No additional fee is required.


What is a police certificate and how can I obtain one?

This is a fingerprint-based criminal history search, most commonly needed for purposes of immigration, adoption, or when you are required to have a fingerprint supported background check. A Single Name Record Request Form (DJ-LE-250) must be mailed in along with a set of your fingerprints (you can usually obtain a copy at your local police department or sheriff's office).


These cost $20.00.


How can I obtain an apostille?

First, you must obtain a certified copy of your background check (see above). The "apostille" is provided by the Wisconsin Secretary of State's Office. More information can be found at


Can I get my record removed if I was convicted?

No, ALL charges for a given date of arrest must have resulted in you being released without charge (or not prosecuted) or you being cleared of the offenses through court proceedings.  So, if you were convicted of even one charge, the arrest does not qualify for record removal.  Being convicted of a lesser offense is still a conviction, so it does not qualify for removal.   


My Court record was expunged; why does the arrest still appear on my Wisconsin criminal history record?

Court ordered expungement or sentencing under a youthful offender provision still results in a conviction. Any conviction prevents the removal of the record from the Criminal History files. A notation that the court record was expunged will appear provided the Clerk of courts office sent the information to the Crime Information Bureau. The Background Check & Criminal History Information page may be of further assistance.


My Wisconsin criminal history record is confusing, can you explain what is shown? 

The original charge(s) submitted by the law enforcement agency will appear first, followed by the prosecution decision(s) from the District attorney, followed by the Court case disposition from the Clerk of court or Municipal court. The Background Check & Criminal History Information page may be of further assistance.


I was convicted of a Felony, can I get my record removed? 

No. However, you can apply for a Governor’s Pardon; which would add a note to your record saying that you received a Governor’s pardon.  You can contact the Governor's office at (608) 266-1212 or go to .The Background Check & Criminal History Information page may be of further assistance.


Firearms Unit

What are the Wisconsin Statutes related to firearms?

Wisconsin Statutes Relative to Firearms.


What are the disqualifying offenses?                 

Wisconsin Statute 941.29 prohibits possession of a firearm if a person has been:


  • Convicted of a felony in this state.
  • Convicted of a crime elsewhere that would be a felony if committed in this state.
  • Adjudicated delinquent for an act committed on or after April 21, 1994, that if committed by an adult in this state would be a felony.
  • Found not guilty of a felony in this state by reason of mental disease or defect.
  • Found not guilty of or not responsible for a crime elsewhere that would be a felony in this state by reason of insanity or mental disease, defect or illness.
  • Committed for treatment under s.51.20(13)(a) and ordered not to possess a firearm under s. 51.20(13)(cv).
  • Enjoined under an injunction issued under s. 813.12 or 813.122 or under a tribal injunction, as defined in s. 813.12 91) (e), issued by a court established by any federally recognized Wisconsin Indian tribe or band, except the Menominee Indian tribe of Wisconsin, that includes notice to the respondent that he or she is subject to the requirements and penalties under s. 941.29 and that has been filed under s. 806.247 (3).
  • Ordered not to possess a firearm under s. 813.125 (4m).
  • Illegal or unlawful aliens.
  • Persons who have renounced United States citizenship.
  • Persons dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
  • Persons adjudicated as mental defective or committed to any mental institution.
  • Unlawful users of or addicted to controlled substances or having drug convictions within the last year at a misdemeanor or non-criminal level.
  • Convicted of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • A fugitive from justice.
  • On October 1, 1996, the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 was amended to prohibit firearm possession by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse (the "Lautenberg Amendment").
  • Acts 195 and 196, effective April 1994, require that Court Clerks notify the Department of Justice if: (1) a court prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 51.20 (13) (cv) 1; or, (2) a child is adjudged delinquent for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 936.396 (8). Additionally, the Court Clerks must notify the Department of Justice when: (1) a court cancels a prohibition under par. 51.20 (13) (cv) 2; or, (2) a court determines that an adjudicated delinquent is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public, pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 941.29 (9). Form # DJ-LE-249 is the official notification Court Clerks are required to report requirements of Acts 195 and 196 to the Department of Justice.

Consult the ATF website for additional information


How do I appeal a denial for a handgun purchase?

Any inquiry concerning your appeal should be directed to the Handgun Hotline. Due to the Privacy Act of 1974, the Handgun Hotline cannot disseminate specific information to you via the telephone.


Before details of the limitation resulting in a non-approval number can be released, satisfactory proof of the buyer’s identity is required pursuant to JUS 10.07(1)(b).  Satisfactory proof of identity includes a set of rolled ink fingerprints prepared by a law enforcement agency on a supplied fingerprint card from your appeals package.  This identification/verification ensures that the record used for a non-approval decision actually relates to the buyer.


To begin the appeal process complete the Identification Request Review form (DJ-LE-FH4) and a fingerprint card.   Wisconsin law enforcement agencies have been notified that individuals denied approval to purchase a handgun would be required to be fingerprinted.  They have been asked to verify the information on the individual's copy of the Firearms Dealer Notification form by asking for photo identification and to fingerprint the person on the card provided. Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if they have the applicant fingerprint card FD-258 and will aid in completing the fingerprint card. There may be a fee involved depending on each agency's policy.  You will be required to produce a government-issued photo identification to prove you are the same person identified by the information on the fingerprint card.


The preferable applicant card is the blue FBI applicant card FD-258 and should be filled out as show in the sample. The Reason Fingerprinted field on the applicant fingerprint card must indicate Firearms Denial Challenge. Requests without a fingerprint card or with illegible fingerprints will be returned. Fingerprint cards without a minimum amount of personal identification information will also be returned. Minimum data includes full name, sex, race, date of birth, reason fingerprinted and information regarding the official capturing the fingerprints.


Return of the completed forms and fingerprint card will permit the Crime Information Bureau to ensure that the record used for denial matches based on positive identification.  This search will be based on positive biometric identifiers, fingerprint, rather than the initial name search.  This card, and the results of the comparison, will be returned to you following the process.  If the non-approval resulted from an out-of-state record, the identification process will require a longer period of time to process. If the record used does not match based on fingerprints, you and the gun dealer will be notified in writing, and an approval number will be issued.


If the identification is positive, you will be furnished a copy of the record that was used to issue the non-approval.  After you review that record, you should again communicate with the Supervisor of the Handgun Hotline if there are any errors or discrepancies in the record with which you do not agree.  If you wish to challenge a particular finding on the record, it will be necessary to provide proof in the form of a court document or other information that supports your contention of inaccuracy. 

You may submit any information to the originating agency that would assist with the correcting and/or updating of your record. (This may also hasten the appeal process.) If the originating agency corrects your record, the Handgun Hotline must be notified and provided documentation indicating such.  The information will be verified and evaluated and you will receive  a decision on your appeal in writing.


If your appeal is successful, your will be notified that your denial has been overturned and that you are eligible to receive a firearm.  You will be issued a letter, which must be presented to the FFL that initiated your background check.