CNCS provides this state by state guide for informational purposes only and makes reasonable efforts to ensure the quality of the information. You are responsible for determining the suitability of the information and your use of the information in this guide, and for compliance with NSCHC requirements (45 CFR 2540.200 - .207). CNCS makes no express or implied warranty, no representation, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness, timeliness, or completeness of any information in, or available through, this guide. The information in this guide is presented in good faith and believed to be correct. You assume the risk of relying on the information contained in this guide. Links to non-CNCS websites are provided for informational purposes only.

CNCS is not responsible for the content of non-CNCS websites. CNCS neither endorses the information, content, presentation, or accuracy nor makes any express or implied warranty regarding external websites or any commercial product or service.

If you identify information that is outdated, please notify us at CHC@cns.gov.

Wisconsin is an open records state.
Some form of criminal history information is open to the public in “open records” states. In “closed records” states, access to criminal history information is not generally available to the public, but is available to authorized entities (e.g. law enforcement agencies).

Contact Information

Wisconsin Department of Justice, Crime Information Bureau 
Phone: (608) 266-7314

State Checks 

General Information on State Checks:

  • While two options for types of state checks are listed below, name-based and fingerprint-based, only one type of state check is required. CNCS does not recommend one of these checks over the other. Either the name-based state check or the fingerprint-based state check is acceptable.
  • Please note that to be in compliance with CNCS requirements, recipients may have to conduct checks in up to two states: the  state of service/work check on individuals in covered positions, as well as a state of residence check (i.e. if the state of residence is different from the state of service/work at the time of application).

Name-Based State Checks

Available from: Wisconsin Department of Justice, Crime Information Bureau
What is released: Record attached or “no record found.”
Cost: $7.00 when completed online (+ additional $5.00 surcharge if the form is sent in the mail or by fax)
How long does it take to obtain results? Typically within minutes when completed online
Additional notes: Name-based checks only include adult criminal information from Wisconsin. 


Fingerprint-Based Checks

Available from: Wisconsin Department of Justice, Crime Information Bureau
What is released: Record attached or “no record found.”
Cost: $31.50 for employees; $30.00 for volunteers 
How long does it take to obtain results? Typically 10 days
Available to: Organizations
Additional notes: Because name-based checks are quicker, cheaper, and easier than fingerprint-based searches, most background checks required in Wisconsin are name-based. Since there is a possibility that someone shares the same name and date of birth as your potential member or staff person, Wisconsin has developed a process for clarifying a false match that may result from submission of a particular person’s identifying data for a name-based criminal history background check. This process is initiated by submitting a Wisconsin Criminal History Challenge Form (DJ-LE-247) and a full set of fingerprints.

See the FBI Checks section below for more information on the Wisconsin Department of Justice also conducting a state check when an FBI check is requested. 
The Wisconsin Department of Justice allows non-professionals to take fingerprints, which may be a cost savings to grantees. 


This website (https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dles/cib/background-check-criminal-history-information) has information on how to read a criminal record specific to the state of Wisconsin. Look for “how to read a criminal record” section about one-third down the page. 


Approved Alternative Repositories 

State repositories are institutions that house and maintain the arrest and disposition (or outcome) information for cases handled in that state. Each state has a central repository, and CNCS has designated one in each state that grantees must use. In some cases, generally when a different institution is able to provide information that is equivalent to what is provided by the state repository, CNCS may designate them as an Approved Alternative Repository.
None at this time. 


FBI Checks 

State Repository Provides FBI Checks: Yes, for certain organizations that are mandated by state statute. Under Public Law 105-251 organizations serving children, the elderly, and people with disabilities qualify to receive FBI checks through the Wisconsin Department of Justice (the CNCS-designated state repository); this law is called the National Child Protection Act/Volunteers for Children Act. More information on what organizations are eligible under this law in the state of Wisconsin is available here: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/sites/default/files/dles/cib-forms/record-check-unit/vca-brochure.pdf
Available to: Organizations that qualify under the National Child Protection Act/Volunteers for Children Act; see above. 

Additional notes: The Wisconsin Department of Justice also conducts a state check at no extra cost when an FBI check is conducted, so for checks in Wisconsin you can receive the fingerprint-based state check and FBI check for one price. 
CNCS FBI Channeler:  Organizations that cannot successfully use the state repository for FBI checks may use CNCS’s FBI-approved Channeler, Fieldprint, for FBI checks. 
Cost: The cost for one FBI check through Fieldprint is $27.50. 
How long does it take to receive results? The majority of checks conducted electronically take no more than two business days from the date the fingerprints are captured. If an applicant does not live near a Fieldprint livescan location and fingerprints must be taken manually and mailed, it will take longer to receive the results. See the Fieldprint Guide and FAQ (linked below) for more information.
More information
Fieldprint Guide and FAQs: https://www.nationalservice.gov/FBIGuidance (see document, “Using Fieldprint as an FBI Channeler – A Guide for CNCS Recipients”)
Fieldprint website: http://www.fieldprintcncs.com/ 

NSOPW (National Sex Offender Public Website) Check

A required component of the NSCHC is a nationwide check of NSOPW.gov before an individual begins work or service in a covered position. Please note that a compliant nationwide NSOPW check must include reports from all states, territories, and tribes. If any state, territory, or tribe is unavailable at the time the NSOPW check is conducted, you must either run a nationwide NSOPW check again through NSOPW.gov and ensure that all entities are reporting, or run a separate check for each entity that is not reporting through the state sex offender registry website.

Please note that a check of a single state’s sex offender registry alone is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the nationwide NSOPW check requirement. The information provided in the State Sex Offender Registry Information section is for reference purposes only in the event that a single state sex offender registry check is necessary to supplement an incomplete nationwide NSOPW check.


State Sex Offender Registry Information

Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry: http://offender.doc.state.wi.us/public/

Individuals Requesting Criminal History Records (versus Organizations)

Option One: Online, $13
1. Visit the record check website to submit your request. Select your payment option. (Credit card is the quickest and easiest process) 
2. Choose a type of search to perform. 
3. A general search will cost $13 per individual, payable by credit card on-line. It will search the Wisconsin Department of Justice Criminal History Database. 
4. Click “Continue” and fill out the appropriate information.
5. Bring sealed results to program to ensure chain of custody.
Option Two:  By Mail, $12, 7-10 days
1. Complete and mail the request form DJ-LE-250. Select “nonprofit,” and “general information”
2. Mail the form, ($12) payment, and a self-addressed stamped return envelope to: 
WI Division of Law Enforcement Services 
Crime Information Bureau, Record Check Unit 
PO Box 2688 
Madison WI 53701-2688 
3. You should receive your response in 7 to 10 days. Fees are charged even if a record is not found. Bring sealed results to program to ensure chain of custody.

Revised as of 2/24/2017

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