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Information on Wisconsin outstanding warrants is not only maintained by the office of the sheriff that is responsible for their execution but also by the two branches of the judiciary that have a part to play in the pre-warrant hearing. The office of the magistrate issues active warrants while the department of the county clerk maintains the court dockets that have information on the serving of these orders as well as the arrest records that go with them.

The criminal process in Wisconsin usually starts at arrests. However, the petition for an arrest warrant and sometimes a grand jury indictment may be held well before the actual detention of the accused. Furthermore, it should be noted that the majority of the criminal cases do not go to trial instead they are handled through plea bargaining. Given these legal intricacies, it would certainly help to know about the criminal procedure followed in the state from the time the suspect is taken into custody to sentencing.

The Crime Information Bureau (CIB) of Wisconsin is a subset of the Division of Law enforcement Services which operates within the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ). The CIB comprises of units which are dedicated to compiling crime history data and offering this to interested applicants, not just from the criminal justice community but also citizens of the state. The five branches of the CIB are:

Because most cases start at the lower end of the judicial spectrum, it would only be fair to discuss the tribunals which form the base of the judicial pyramid in the state. The court system of Wisconsin comprises of 4 categories and the tribunals at each level have their own set of responsibilities and authorities.

Active warrants from Wisconsin are court sanctioned orders for detention. The Criminal Code of Wisconsin, section 968.04 states that a magistrate ought to issue a warrant when it is apparent from the complaints filed with the bench that a crime did occur and that this was committed by the person in question. This process is known as the establishment of probable cause and it is a legal mandate that has to be fulfilled before an active warrant is sanctioned.