Juvenile Court

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Juvenile Court exercise jurisdiction over matters involving juveniles under the age of 17 regarding delinquencies, juvenile protective services, children in need of protection, termination of parental rights, guardianships adoptions, and crimes committed by children. And cases under the age of 18 regarding neglect, abuse, guardianship, termination of parental rights, child abuse injunctions, civil harassments involving minors, ordinance violations, and permanency plan review hearings.

Juvenile proceedings are confidential to the public. The Court may issue orders to have certain records and facts released to involved parties.


Attorneys

In all delinquency, CHIPS/JIPS cases, juveniles/children have the right to be represented by a lawyer. In delinquency/JIPS cases, juveniles/children aged 10 and older, and in CHIPS cases children aged 12 and older, will be appointed an attorney by the State Public Defender’s Office. The attorney will advocate for the juvenile during all stages of the proceedings unless the juvenile wishes to continue without a lawyer and the Judge permits this. Children under the age of 10 and alleged to be a Juvenile in Need of Protection or Services (JIPS) and children under the age of 12 and alleged to be a Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) will be appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), an attorney who will represent the best interest of the child.


Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS)

CHIPS stand for Child In Need of Protection or Services. It is a proceeding in juvenile court for any person under the age of 18 for noncriminal reasons including abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

Similarly, JIPS stands for Juvenile in Need of Protection or Services, are court proceedings involving a juvenile under the age of 18.


Expunging Court Records

Expunging a court record means the court seals the entire criminal case file, both paper and electronic, and will not allow anyone to access the file unless they have a court order.

The court can expunge criminal records in only two circumstances:

  1. For crimes carrying a 6-year or less maximum period of imprisonment, committed by a person under age 25, where the sentence is successfully completed (Wisconsin Statute § 973.015). At sentencing, the court will order that the record be expunged when the defendant successfully completes their sentence.
  2. In juvenile cases when the juvenile reaches age 17 and has satisfactorily complied with the conditions of their dispositional order (Wis. Stat. § 938.355(4m)). Upon reaching age 17, the person must petition the court to expunge the record.

Other than these two situations, a judge has no authority or power to expunge other types of cases. For example, there is no authority to expunge traffic forfeitures, civil cases, or small claims cases.

Forms to request expunction of the court record for an adult conviction or a juvenile adjudication can be found at http://wicourts.gov/forms1/circuit/index.htm.


Rescheduling Court

Each Judge or Court Official sets the rescheduling policy for his/her court. In general, you should submit your request to reschedule in writing and addressed to the court official hearing your case. You should submit your request BEFORE your court date.


Termination of Parental Rights

According to Wisconsin Statute §48.40(2), Termination of Parental Rights is the severing of rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties, and obligations existing between parent and child, pursuant to a court order, voluntarily or involuntarily in the best interest of the child.

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