Dane County Circuit Court Records for certain years, an index of the same, are available to the public online at www.wcca.wicourts.gov. For example, a criminal index is on-line from approximately 1984 and forward. Civil actions vary in years available on-line. To clarify what record indexes are or are not on-line, and for what time periods, please contact the Record Center in a manner as outlined below. Actual records can be viewed at the Record Center located within the Courthouse at the address listed to the left. We typically maintain about five (5) years worth of records on-site, with the exception of simple traffic and non-criminal, ordinance violations which we retain for one year on-site. Other records may require retrieval from remote locations and may take several days to pull. Requests for copies of records and review of files can be made as indicated below.
What are the hours of operation?
7:45 am until 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays.
How can a request for records be submitted?
- In person at the address listed below
- By mail at the address listed below
- By fax at 1-608-267-8859
- By e-mail at Dane.firstname.lastname@example.org
- No phone requests are taken
Dane County Courthouse
215 S Hamilton St.
Madison, WI 53703
What are the associated costs?
- To conduct a background search on an individual or company where a case number(s) is not supplied is $5.00 per name searched pursuant to WI Statute 814.61(11)
- Copies of documents are $1.25 per page pursuant to WI Statute 814.61(10)
- Certified copies are $5.00 per document pursuant to WI Statute 814.61(5)
- Exemplified copies (triple seal typically for out-of-state filing) is $15.00 for the exemplification, and $1.25 per page for the documents being attached.
- Postage is actual.
- See also Probate Fees.
Is prepayment of fees required?
Yes, if the total cost exceeds $5.00, pursuant to WI Statute 19.35(3)(f). Where prepayment is required, an invoice is prepared and sent to the requester together with a "return copy" to accompany your payment. Upon return receipt of the return copy of the invoice with payment, the records are sent out. If cost is equal to or less than $5.00, records are sent together with the invoice, unless outstanding prior balances exist. Payment can also be made on-line or via telephone for an additional small fee using a credit/debit card. The invoice will outline how to proceed with payment through the Government Payment Service if preferred, via credit/debit card, and the associated fee.
Information required when submitting a request?
- If a background search is being requested, full name of individual or company being searched
- For criminal searches, a date of birth for the subject is requested, if known
- If you are seeking copies from a case, specify what specific documents you are requesting. Provide case number(s), if known (i.e., Judgment of Conviction in 92CF12, etc.)
- Advise us of where we are to send the documents/completed search and by what method (i.e., fax, mail or hold for pick-up, etc.)
- When full payment does not accompany your request, you must include a name and full address for billing purposes.
- If possible, please include a telephone number where we can reach you in the event we need clarification on a request. An e-mail address is fine if you can be reached in that manner
What are the factors that determine turnaround time for receipt of records?
We typically process requests in 1-10 business days. However, certain factors will affect this turnaround time:
- Volume of requests. Typically, we try to process requests within one to ten business days, but this is not always possible if volume is high and/or staffing levels are reduced. In calendar year 2007 alone we received over 6,167 search/copy requests just by fax, mail and e-mail alone. That averages to 513 requests per month. Often people want records on a rush basis. We try to process requests in a timely manner in the order received.
- Whether records are on-site or not. We generally have records on-site for five years with some exceptions. Many records between the years 1992-2002 are off-site. Time is needed to retrieve files from remote locations, thus adding some time to when requests can be processed. Many records prior to 1992 are microfilmed and can be accessed on-site. Again, there are exceptions.
- Whether or not pre-payment is required. If prepayment is required, receipt of records is in large part dependent on when we receive payment and the method of delivery of records once payment is received (i.e., pick-up at counter, fax, mail, e-mail, etc.).
- The complexity of the request - multiple copies, large volume of copies on multiple files; research of older records with limited search information other than name of party searching; request for confidential records requiring approval of a judge prior to release; need for exemplified copies for records being filed out-of-state, which requires several signatures, etc.
What about RUSH jobs? I absolutely need the documents ASAP!
- Convey the urgency in your request. What do you specifically need and when do you need it by? Be prepared to address payment issues.
- If possible, be prepared when contacted to pick up your records or have someone pick them up on your behalf. Convey the same in your request. Or, make arrangements for priority mailing, FedEx, etc., ' sending prepaid envelopes or account numbers, etc.
- If pre-payment is required and you can't come in and don't have time to wait for an invoice and the sending of a check, etc., advise us in your request that you will pay by credit/debit card and ask that we notify you ASAP as to cost when ascertained. Convey how we are to notify you (i.e., e-mail, fax, telephone, etc.). Payment by credit/debit card can minimize receipt time by several days absent other factors such as awaiting files from off-site, etc.
- We use standard mail service generally or we can fax or e-mail smaller jobs to you. If you desire to have something sent priority overnight ' you'll need to provide the postage paid envelope or include the associated fee with your payment to us, which is currently $17.50 for smaller packages. FedEx deliveries require that we have your FedEx account number to include on the routing slip so your account is billed and not Dane County.
- For more specific questions about rush requests, please fax or e-mail your questions in the manner as indicated above.
*Unless sealed by the court or otherwise confidential by law, Circuit Court files and documents are open for public inspection at no cost, unless you are requesting copies in addition to inspection of records. Cases typically available in the Record Center include: civil; criminal; family; paternity; small claims; traffic; forfeiture ordinance; state tax liens; construction liens; hospital liens; condo liens; Probate, etc., for Dane County actions only. We do not maintain records of other Circuit Courts throughout the state or established municipal courts handling their own actions.