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Madison, WI Certificate of Disposition

What is a Certificate of Disposition in Madison, WI?

You’re here because you need information on certificates of disposition in Madison, Wisconsin. Maybe you were charged with a crime, and now need proof that the case was dismissed or that you completed your sentence successfully. Or perhaps an employer or licensing board is asking for documentation about a past criminal matter. Whatever the reason, understanding how to obtain a certificate of disposition is crucial.A certificate of disposition is an official court document that provides information about the final outcome or disposition of a criminal case. – It serves as proof of how the charges against you were resolved. In Madison and throughout Wisconsin, these certificates are issued by the circuit courts.

Depending on the circumstances, a certificate of disposition may show that:

  • The charges were dismissed
  • You were found not guilty after a trial
  • You entered into a deferred prosecution agreement
  • You pled guilty/no contest and received a sentence (potentially showing you completed it successfully)

Without this official documentation from the court, it can be extremely difficult to verify what happened with a past criminal matter. Employers, professional licensing boards, and others often require dispositions when making decisions about hiring, credentialing, etc.

Why Do I Need a Certificate of Disposition?

There are many situations where you may need to produce a certificate of disposition, including:

  • Employment Background Checks: Many employers require dispositions as part of their hiring process, especially for positions working with vulnerable populations like children or the elderly.
  • Professional Licenses: Occupational licensing boards frequently ask for dispositions when you apply for or renew a professional license (e.g. healthcare, law, education, etc.)
  • Housing Applications: Landlords and property managers may request dispositions from prospective tenants with prior criminal records.
  • Immigration Matters: For certain immigration applications and petitions, you may need to provide dispositions for any arrests or criminal charges.
  • Expungement/Pardons: To have an eligible Wisconsin criminal record expunged or to seek a pardon, you must obtain the disposition.
  • Your Own Records: You may simply want the disposition for your own files and peace of mind about what is contained in your official record.

Without an official certificate from the court, it’s your word against whatever background check information the third party has access to, which is often incomplete or inaccurate. Having the certified disposition prevents misunderstandings.

Key Details on Certificates of Disposition

Some key points to understand about certificates of disposition in Madison and Wisconsin:

  • Issued by Circuit Courts: These official documents come directly from the Wisconsin circuit court where your case was handled.
  • Charges and Disposition: They list the original criminal charges you faced as well as how those charges were ultimately resolved.
  • Certified and Signed: The certificates contain a court seal, are certified as true and accurate copies, and are signed by a court official.
  • Permanent Record: The information comes directly from the permanent case records maintained by the court.
  • Statewide Coverage: While issued locally, the certificates can cover any criminal case from any Wisconsin county circuit court.
  • Fees May Apply: Courts charge fees for providing these official documents, typically $5-$25 per case/certificate.

Having the original charges and their disposition laid out clearly in an official court document can be invaluable. – It provides clarification if background checks turn up confusing or incomplete information about your record.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Obtaining a Certificate of Disposition in Madison

If you need a certificate of disposition related to a criminal case handled in the Dane County Circuit Court (which covers Madison), there are a few different ways to go about requesting it. We’ll walk through the specific steps for each option.

1. Request by Mail

One way to obtain certificates of disposition from the Dane County Circuit Court is to submit a request by mail. Here are the steps:

  1. Compile Case Information: Gather details like your full name, date of birth, the case number(s), and year(s) the case(s) were handled.
  2. Draft Written Request: Write a letter or fill out a request form explaining what you need and providing the case details.
  3. Include Payment: There is a fee for each certificate requested, so include a check or money order payable to “Clerk of Circuit Court.”
  4. Mail to Court: Send your written request and payment to:

Clerk of Circuit Court
Dane County Courthouse
215 S Hamilton St #1000
Madison, WI 53703

  1. Wait for Response: The court will process your request and mail the certificate(s) to you, which can take 2-4 weeks typically.

This option is convenient if you don’t need the certificate immediately. – Just be sure to include all the required information and payment to avoid delays.

Pros Cons
Can request from anywhere Slower than in-person
No appointment needed Payment required upfront
Potential for errors if details missing

2. Request in Person

If you need your certificate of disposition sooner, you can request it in person at the Dane County Courthouse in downtown Madison:

  1. Visit Clerk’s Office: Go to the Clerk of Circuit Court’s office on the 1st floor of the courthouse at 215 S Hamilton St.
  2. Complete Request Form: There you can fill out a request form for the certificate(s) you need.
  3. Show ID and Pay Fee: You’ll need to present a valid photo ID and pay the document fee, which is currently $5 per case.
  4. Receive Certificate(s): Once they process your request, which can take 15-30 minutes, you’ll be provided with the certified disposition(s).

The in-person option is best if you need the certificate right away and don’t mind making the trip downtown during business hours. – Having the case details on hand will expedite the process.

Pros Cons
Get certificate immediately Limited hours for in-person service
Avoid mail delays Travel to courthouse required
Staff can look up case details

3. Request Online

The Dane County Circuit Court also accepts online requests for certificates of disposition and other court records. Here’s how:

  1. Visit Court Website: Go to https://wcca.wicourts.gov and click “Request a Record” under Online Services.
  2. Select Record Type: Choose “Disposition” and follow the prompts to enter your case details.
  3. Create Account: You’ll need to create an account and provide contact/payment information.
  4. Pay Fee Online: For dispositions, the fee is $10 per case payable by credit/debit card.
  5. Download or Print: Once processed, you can download/print the certified disposition from your account.

The online option combines the convenience of mail requests with quicker turnaround than in-person. As long as you have the case details and a credit card, it’s very straightforward.

Pros Cons
Request anytime, from anywhere Higher fee than in-person
Faster than mail requests Need internet/computer access
Electronic delivery option

No matter which method you choose, – be prepared with details like your full name, date of birth, case number(s), and the year(s) the case(s) were handled. – Having this information ready will ensure a smooth process.

What If My Case Was Dismissed or I Was Found Not Guilty?

If your criminal charges were dismissed by the prosecutor or you were found not guilty at trial, the certificate of disposition will reflect that outcome. This official court documentation can be extremely valuable. Many people are concerned that just being arrested or charged, even if the case didn’t proceed, could still show up in a background check and hurt their employment or housing prospects. With a disposition explicitly stating dismissal or not guilty, there is no ambiguity.

You can use the certificate to:

  • Confirm Background Check Info: Provide the disposition to an employer or landlord to confirm the background check findings and resolve any confusion.
  • Substantiate Job Applications: When applying for work, you can account for any arrests upfront by supplying the disposition showing no conviction.
  • Maintain a Clean Record: For professional licenses or positions working with vulnerable individuals, the disposition proves your record is clear.
  • Pursue an Expungement: In some cases, you may be eligible to have dismissed charges fully expunged from your Wisconsin record by providing the disposition.

Even if the charges were ultimately dismissed or you were acquitted, the record of the arrest itself can linger and potentially cause issues. Having that official certificate documenting the final disposition gives you proof to clear up any misunderstandings.

What If I Completed a Sentence Successfully?

If you were convicted of charges but then successfully completed your sentence (probation, treatment program, jail/prison term, etc.), the certificate of disposition is evidence of that as well.Many employers, licensing boards, and others understand that people can make mistakes, especially earlier in life. As long as you owned up to the offense and fulfilled all court-ordered obligations, they may be willing to give you a second chance.The key is being able to demonstrate you took responsibility and saw things through.

The certificate allows you to verify:

  • You Completed Probation: For probation sentences, it can confirm you satisfied all conditions and had your probation terminated satisfactorily.
  • You Served Your Full Term: For jail/prison sentences, it shows you served the entire incarceration period ordered.
  • You Met All Requirements: For deferred prosecutions or treatment programs, it proves you met all requirements for dismissal.
  • You Paid All Court Fines/Costs: The certificate indicates all financial obligations like fines, fees, and restitution were paid in full.

Having official documentation that you successfully met all the court’s conditions can go a long way toward getting a job, housing opportunity, or license you might otherwise be denied for the conviction alone.While the record won’t be expunged, you at least have proof you took responsibility and completed the terms, which can be very persuasive for many employers and licensing boards.

Overcoming Potential Roadblocks

Even when following all the right steps, you may occasionally run into roadblocks when trying to obtain a certificate of disposition in Madison.

Here are some common hurdles and how to overcome them:

The Court Can’t Locate My Case

If the court is having trouble finding your case in their records, double check details like:

  • Your full legal name (including any middle names/suffixes)
  • Your date of birth
  • The year the case was filed
  • The county where the charges originated
  • Whether the case was a felony or misdemeanor

Providing as many specifics as possible will help them locate the correct file. If there was a name change involved through marriage, divorce, etc., be sure to include your name at the time.

There Are Multiple Cases

For people with multiple criminal matters in their past, the court may have trouble determining which specific case you need the disposition for. When requesting, try to isolate each case by providing:

  • The full case file number issued by the court
  • The exact date of the arrest or charge for that case
  • The statute numbers for the charges in that particular case

Having those details should allow the court to pinpoint the right case. If ordering dispositions for multiple matters, you may need to specify each one separately.

My Case Is Very Old

Wisconsin circuit courts only maintain physical case files for so many years before they are destroyed or transferred to storage. For older matters, say from the 1980s or earlier, locating your case could require additional research.

If the court is struggling, you can ask them to check:

  • Archives or off-site storage facilities where old files are kept
  • Case indexes or docket books which may have high-level info
  • Digital records if the case was more recent but still archived

You can also try contacting the State of Wisconsin Court Records Management program for assistance locating very old cases.

Payment Issues

For mail or online requests, you may run into issues if your payment method is declined or you don’t include the proper fee amount. – Double check:

  • That any checks, money orders, or online payments are made out properly
  • You included the correct fee amount (currently $5 in-person or $10 online)
  • Your credit/debit card information is entered accurately online

If there’s an issue processing your payment, the court staff should contact you to correct it before proceeding with your request. With some patience and attention to detail, you can overcome any roadblocks. The court staff wants to get you the documentation you need, so work with them closely.

When You Need Assistance

For some situations involving criminal records and dispositions, – you may need assistance beyond just obtaining the certificate itself.

Consider these scenarios:

You Need Your Record Expunged

If your goal is to have an eligible Wisconsin criminal record fully expunged or removed from your record, – you’ll likely need professional legal help.The process involves:

  • Obtaining the disposition and other key documents
  • Filing a formal petition with the court for expungement
  • Attending a hearing to argue your case before a judge
  • Having the expungement order processed by the court

An experienced expungement lawyer can guide you through all requirements, represent you at the hearing, and maximize your chances of getting the record expunged.

Your Disposition Is Incorrect

In some cases, the information contained in the certificate of disposition may be inaccurate or incomplete. If so, you’ll want to get it corrected officially.Potential issues could include:

  • Incorrect statutes listed for charges
  • Failing to reflect deferred prosecutions or requirements you completed
  • Not showing charges that were dismissed or you were acquitted of
  • Omitting details about fines, probation terms, or other sentence conditions

An attorney can review the disposition, identify any errors, and take steps to fix your official record with the court through an amended disposition.

You’re Dealing With Another State’s Records

While this article focuses on Wisconsin dispositions, you may need to obtain documentation from another state where you had a past criminal matter. Each state has its own process and requirements, which can be difficult to navigate, especially from out-of-state. A lawyer with multi-jurisdictional experience can:

  • Determine exactly what documents you need from the other state
  • Properly submit all requests and paperwork to the out-of-state courts
  • Ensure you get dispositions that meet the certification requirements
  • Take additional steps like seeking a pardon or expungement, if needed

When you need to deal with out-of-state criminal records, – having an attorney on your side provides expertise and credibility.

You’re Unsure How Your Record Impacts You

Finally, you may simply want advice on how your specific Wisconsin criminal record could affect your employment prospects, licensing, or other opportunities. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can:

  • Analyze your full record of charges, convictions, and dispositions
  • Evaluate your situation, goals, and what’s required of you
  • Advise if expungement or a pardon would help your circumstances
  • Determine what documentation you need to produce and explain it properly
  • Advocate on your behalf to employers, boards, or agencies if needed

Rather than guessing how your record may impact you, get professional guidance to understand your options and make informed decisions.While a certificate of disposition is often an essential first step, there are times when you may require more comprehensive legal assistance to fully address your criminal record situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How far back do Madison court records go?

Court records in Madison and throughout Wisconsin go back many decades, though very old physical files may be stored off-site. Digital records are typically available from the mid-1990s onward.

Q: What if I need a disposition for a juvenile record?

Under Wisconsin law, juvenile records (for matters when you were under 18) are confidential and have special restrictions on releasing information. You may need to take additional steps or seek legal assistance.

Q: Do I need a disposition if I was never formally charged?

No, a certificate of disposition only covers formal criminal charges filed against you. If you were arrested but never charged, a disposition is not required.

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