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Terms and Definitions – Background Check

  • Applicant: Any person who applies for a license, permit or other certificate from the department.
  • Arrest: A person has been taken into custody and detained by law enforcement.
  • Background Review: A status of Background Review occurs when information is revealed during the background check process that may constitute immoral conduct or incompetency and which requires further investigation and review.
  • CCAP: Consolidated Court Automation Program. This website, also called the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA), provides access to certain public records of the circuit courts of Wisconsin. The information displayed is an exact copy of the case information entered into the CCAP case management system by court staff in the counties where the case files are located. The court record summaries are all public records under the Wisconsin open records laws. However, not all Wisconsin counties provide information to CCAP.
  • Charge: A criminal charge is an official accusation or allegation that a person engaged in a certain criminal act.
  • CIB: "Crime Information Bureau." Within the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the CIB functions as a central repository for criminal arrest and conviction records within Wisconsin. Only incidents that were submitted to the CIB accompanied by fingerprints are contained in the database.
  • Conviction: A criminal conviction is a finding of fact by a court that a person committed a criminal act.
  • Criminal Complaint and Information: Official court documents outlining and explaining the crimes of which a defendant has been accused.
  • Denied: A status which occurs when an application for licensure is denied - Wis. Admin Code PI 34.35 (7)(8).  
  • Deferred Prosecution: An agreement entered into by a defendant, the prosecutor and the judge. The agreement usually lists conditions that a defendant must fulfill within a set amount of time. If the defendant completes the agreement successfully, the judge agrees to dismiss charges against the defendant, or to reduce them to a non-criminal forfeiture.
  • Dismissed: Charges are dropped, and the case is not pursued.
  • Disposition: The outcome of a case.
  • DOJ: (Wisconsin) Department of Justice.
  • Expunged: The contents of the court record are purged. This often happens as part of an agreement when a person is sentenced - if the person completes certain conditions, the court agrees to “expunge” the records of the case. Note: Only the court records are expunged. Law enforcement records remain available.
  • Felony: A felony is a crime for which the penalty is more than one year in jail.
  • Immoral Conduct: Conduct that is contrary to commonly accepted moral or ethical standards and which endangers the health, welfare, safety or education of any pupil. Immoral Conduct includes the intentional use of an education agency’s equipment to download, view, solicit, seek, display, or distribute pornographic material - Wis. Stat. 115.31(1)(c).
  • Incompetency: A pattern of inadequate performance of duties of the lack of ability, legal qualifications or fitness to discharge required duties, and which endangers the health, welfare, safety or education of any pupil – Wis. Admin Code PI 34.35(d).
  • Licensee: A person holding a license or having the right to renew a license.
  • Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a crime for which the maximum penalty is not more than one year in jail.
  • No Probable Cause (NPC): A misconduct investigation has taken place and was closed with the finding that, based on the available information, there is no probable cause to pursue revocation of the person’s Wisconsin educator license(s).
  • Ordinance Violation/Forfeiture/Non-criminal: non-criminal violation of the law, usually a county or city ordinance. The disposition of these charges typically involves a fine or forfeiture.
  • Reinstatement: Restoring the rights, privileges and authority previously revoked.
  • Sentence: A consequence imposed by a judge after a person has been found guilty of committing a crime.
  • State Superintendent: The Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction is an elected official.