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Deleting a public record refers to the process of legally removing and destroying every copy of a record that is available to the public. By deleting a public record, no one including government agencies can refer to the event listed on the record. It is as though the event never occurred. Having certain records such as criminal records available in the public domain can impact negatively opportunities such as obtaining employment credit, loans, and licenses. While Wyoming does not make any provisions for permanently deleting public records, however, the state allows residents to expunge certain records where eligibility criteria are met. In many cases, expungement serves the same purposes desired by most citizens who want public records deleted. Note that expungement differs from a deletion in that while expunged records are publicly inaccessible, they are still available in limited circumstances by specific categories of people.
What is a Public Record in Wyoming?
Per the Wyoming Public Records Act (W.S. Â§16-4-201 through 16-4-205), public records are defined as original and copies of any paper, correspondence, form, book, photograph, photostat, film, microfilm, sound recording, map drawing, or other documents, regardless of physical form or characteristics that have been made by the state of Wyoming. These records also include those made by any counties, municipalities, and political subdivisions thereof and by any agencies of the state, counties, municipalities, and political subdivisions thereof, or received by them in connection with the transaction of public business, except those privileged or confidential by law.
The Wyoming Public Records Act grants everyone the right to inspect or copy any public record of a public body in the state, except where exemptions are expressly provided for. General exemptions to the Wyoming Public Records Act include where:
- An inspection would be contrary to state statute
- An inspection would be contrary to any federal statute or regulation
- Inspection is prohibited by a court ruling or court order
- Disclosure would do substantial injury to the public interest
The state views making records public as a way to promote disclosure and not secrecy in the workings of government. Wyoming affords citizens the privilege to live without fear of discrimination related to a public record by obtaining a court order permitting record sealing in specific circumstances. We also offer record-sealing service to Wyoming citizens who wish to start new lives without the handicap of previous misdemeanors.
Does Wyoming allow Expungement?
Yes. However, it depends on the type of record and what happened in the case. There are several ways to qualify for an expungement depending on the circumstances. Note that only crimes committed in Wyoming can be expunged by a Wyoming Court. If you have committed crimes in other states, you must qualify for expungement in the states where the crimes were committed.
Wyoming allows for the expungement of a record of arrest that did not result in a conviction. The arrest must be at least 6 years old and no current criminal charge must exist against the arrestee. The incident that led to the arrest must also fall into one of three categories:
- There were no convictions of any kind resulting from the arrest
- No formal charges were filed from the incident
- All criminal proceedings from the arrest were dismissed by the prosecutor or the court
Note that a deferred adjudication cannot be expunged under this process. However, it can be expunged if it meets the requirements for expungement under one of the following procedures.
For a misdemeanor conviction to qualify for expungement, the conviction must be at least five years old or at least one year old if the offender is under the age of 18. The offense is also required not to be considered a criminal act. The misdemeanor must not involve the use or attempted use of a firearm. Offenders are allowed to expunge misdemeanors from their records only one time.
Sentences for convictions under this category are required to have been completed at least 10 years ago. An offender can expunge multiple felonies only if the offenses all come out of the same incident. The felony being expunged must be the first felony of which the offender has been convicted. The offense cannot involve the use or attempted use of a firearm. The following felonies are not allowed to be expunged:
- Aggravated assault
- Aircraft hijacking
- Arson in the first or second degree
- Aggravated burglary
- Aggravated vehicular homicide
- Drug-induced homicide
- Any crimes involving sexual assault
- A second or subsequent domestic battery
- Child abuse
- Aggravated assault and battery on a corrections or detention officer
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Endangering children with controlled substances (methamphetamine)
- Disarming a police officer on official duty
- Escape from official detention or escape by violence or assault while armed
- Any crime that requires registering as a sex offender
- Offenders are also permitted to expunge a felony from their records only one time.
- Juvenile Delinquency
Individuals under the age of 18 adjudicated of delinquent acts, other than violent felonies, may expunge their records after reaching the age of 18. They must have been convicted of felony offenses since the juvenile charges and must have no pending felonies. Such persons must also show that they have been rehabilitated.
How do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Wyoming?
To expunge your records in Wyoming:
To expunge your records in Wyoming:
- Obtain your criminal history record from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). You will require the information contained in the record to appropriately complete the expungement petition.
- Prepare a petition for expungement: Persons filing petitions for expungement of misdemeanor offenses must indicate that:
- They have met the waiting period requirements
- The convictions are eligible for expungement
- They have not received expungement in the past
Persons filing petitions for expungement of felony offenses must indicate that:
- Felony convictions are from the same offense
- They have met the waiting period requirements
- That the conviction or convictions are eligible
- They have no other felony convictions
- They do not represent a danger to themselves or others
- Pay the required filing fee: There is a $100 fee required to file a petition for expungement of a misdemeanor offense and a $300 fee to file a petition to expunge a felony offense. There is no filing fee required to submit a petition for a non-conviction arrest.
- Make a copy of everything for your records
- File the petition and fee with the court in which you were convicted, or which would have heard your case.
- Serve the petition on the appropriate persons. If you file a petition to expunge a non-conviction arrest, you must serve a copy of the petition on the prosecuting attorney. If you file a petition to expunge a misdemeanor or felony conviction, you must serve a copy of the petition on the prosecuting attorney and the division of criminal investigations.
- Prepare an Order of Expungement. You need to have the Order ready if the court grants your expungement.
Will My Expungement Record Show up on a Background Check in Wyoming?
Under Wyoming expungement statutes, when a criminal record is expunged, the record is not destroyed but is removed from public access. The record will not show up on a background check. The record of the crime is available only to criminal justice agencies solely for criminal justice purposes. Any rights that were lost as a result of a conviction that has been expunged will be returned. Other types of records that were made as part of the case may also be expunged in some circumstances, but materials like newspaper articles containing information about the arrest or conviction cannot be expunged and may still be available to the public.
If a record has been expunged, no one (other than law enforcement agencies) can see the records and you do not have to disclose the record to employers or anyone else.
How to Seal a Record in Wyoming
Wyoming offers expungement as the only record relief option for residents. The state makes no provision for sealing.
How to Delete Bankruptcy Records in Wyoming
Bankruptcy is the point at which a person or business unable to pay the debts owed files a legal proceeding in a federal court to seek relief from some or all of the debts. Bankruptcy records show up on credit records which are often included in the background checks conducted by employers. It is also legal if employers opt to use credit reports in making hiring decisions as well as evaluating employees for promotion, or retention. For instance, an employer may view an individual in debt as someone with the potential to steal. This and other handicaps create a desire within many persons with bankruptcy records to want bankruptcy records deleted. However, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a credit reporting agency has the right to report any information that is truthful and accurate in your credit report. That includes any record of bankruptcies. Note that in nearly all instances, your permission is required before third parties can obtain your credit report.
If there is inaccurate information on your credit report, the FCRA empowers you to dispute such inaccuracies and demand that the credit reporting agency conducts an investigation. If the agency determines that the information has been inaccurately reported, the inaccuracy will be removed from your credit report. Otherwise, the bankruptcy public record will only be deleted from the credit report either seven years or ten years from the filing date of the bankruptcy, depending on the bankruptcy chapter filed. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be deleted seven years from the filing date because it requires at least a partial repayment of the debts you owe. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is deleted ten years from the filing date because none of the debt is repaid. Bankruptcy records are open records and can be accessed even through non-FCRA compliant records check services.
What are Consumer Protection Laws in Wyoming?
Businesses in Wyoming sometimes try to trick consumers into buying their products and services. However, consumers have the right to hold companies who engage in unfair practices responsible for their acts. The Wyoming Consumer Protection Act prohibits businesses from taking advantage of consumers through various types of misrepresentations, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Under the Act, the Attorney General is authorized to investigate and file a lawsuit in the name of the State when there is reasonable cause to believe that a business has violated the Act and that proceedings would be in the public interest.
Prohibited practices under the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act include:
- Making false representations about an itemâ€™s source, origin, or sponsorship
- Making false representations about a sales representativeâ€™s own sponsorship, approval, or affiliation
- Falsely claiming that merchandise is available to the consumer for a reason that does not exist
- Falsely claiming that a repair or replacement of an item is needed
- Advertising an item without intending to sell it as advertised
- Falsely stating that an item is new or original
- Using â€œbait and switchâ€ sales tactics
- Engaging in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices
Wyoming also has a computer security breach law (Wyo. Stat. Â§ 40-12-502) that governs the actions of certain persons during data breaches. These persons include individuals or commercial entities conducting business in Wyoming that own or license computerized data that includes personal identifying information about Wyoming residents. When a breach occurs, such individuals or businesses are required to conduct in good faith, reasonable and prompt investigations to determine the likelihood that personal identifying information has been or will be misused.
If a business' investigation reveals that misuse has occurred or is likely to occur, the business must give notice as soon as possible to affected Wyoming residents. The notice must be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement and any measures necessary to determine the scope of the breach and to restore the reasonable integrity of the computerized data system.
Under the law, Wyoming defines personal identifying information to include the first name or first initial and last name, plus:
- Social Security number
- Driver's license number
- Account, credit, or debit card number in combination with any security code, access code, or password that would allow access to a person's financial account
- Tribal, federal, or state government-issued identification card
Senate File No. SF0036 also expanded the definition to include:
- Shared secrets or security tokens known to be used for data-based authentication
- Username or email address, in combination with a required password or security question and answer
- Birth or marriage certificate
- Medical information
- Health insurance info
- Unique biometric information
- Taxpayer identification number
Other consumer protection laws in Wyoming include:
- Wyoming Antitrust Laws
- Wyoming Identity Theft Laws
- Wyoming Homestead Laws
- Wyoming Lemon Laws
- Wyoming Interest Rates Laws
How to Delete Lien Records in Wyoming
A lien is a claim on an item or property to ensure that a debtor will pay a debt. There are different types of liens including property lien and tax liens. A property lien can be used to collect a court judgment. The State of Wyoming will file a lien when a taxpayer has unpaid taxes due to the State that are no longer subject to administrative or judicial review. The tax lien ensures that the State of Wyoming is given priority as a creditor before any financial transactions can occur, such as property or the use of a property as collateral for loans. Liens are a matter of public record.
Liens can lower a person's credit score and impact the chance of loan approval. Therefore, many residents may desire to have lien records deleted. Wyoming makes no provisions for deleting lien records. The easiest way to get a lien removed is to pay off the debt owed directly. If that is not possible, the debtor may also negotiate with the lienholder to settle the debt by paying a smaller lump sum to release the debt. The following types of liens are filed and available to be searched in the various Clerk's Offices in Wyoming:
- Real Property
- Personal Property
- State and Federal Tax
- Motor vehicle liens must be placed on the title
Liens against personal property such as motor vehicles, agricultural products, and household items are filed with the Uniform Commercial Code filings. Lien searches are typically required in writing in most jurisdictions. However, requests may also be accepted by fax or email.
You can search Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien records through the Wyoming Secretary of State website. You may be required to pay a nominal fee to conduct a lien search.
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