Do You Need To Clear Your Criminal Record?

In Minnesota, people who have been arrested or convicted of a crime do have a remedy to clear their record. By filing a motion for expungement and having a court grant the motion, a sealing of the records from public view may be obtained. There are two types of expungements that may be granted. The first variety is that of a statutory expungement which is controlled by a specific Minnesota law stating specific grounds for granting an expungement. The other form of expungement is that of an expungement granted under the "inherent authority" of a judge to seal a person's court records.

What Is Statutory Expungement?

In a statutory expungement, if the proceeding was "resolved in favor of the petitioner" then the person has a right to expungement as a matter of right. "Resolved in favor of the petitioner" includes a verdict of not guilty at trial, a dismissal or a continuance for dismissal resulting in a dismissal. A person may also get an expungement if he has completed the terms of a diversion program or received a stay of adjudication and has not been charged with a new crime for at least a year. If a person was convicted of a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor and hasn't been charged with a new crime for two years from discharge of the sentence for the crime, then he is eligible for an expungement. If it was a gross misdemeanor and the person has not been convicted of a crime for at least four years from discharge, he may also apply for an expungement.

The circumstances of obtaining a statutory expungement of a felony conviction are more limited and depend on the type of crime. In any event, it must be at least five years since the discharge of the sentence of the crime before someone may apply for an expungement. Types of crimes that are eligible for expungement include, but are not limited to, gambling regulations, some theft offenses, receiving stolen goods, some types of forgery, residential mortgage fraud, financial transaction card fraud, possession of controlled substance in the fifth degree, sale of a simulated controlled substance and many others. The statute prohibits expungement if a person was convicted of an offense that requires the sex offender registration. (The Minnesota expungement law does not apply to federal convictions.)

The other type of expungement is that based on the "inherent authority of the court." A court may grant an expungement under limited circumstances based on the factors of a) the extent the petitioner has demonstrated difficulties in securing employment or housing as a result of their records sought to be expunged; b) the seriousness and nature of the offense; c) the potential risk to the public's right to access the records; d) any additional offenses or rehabilitative efforts since the offense and other objective evidence of hardship under the circumstances. If the court finds that the petitioner has made a compelling presentation relating to these factors, the court may grant the petitioner's request as to judicial branch records and executive branch records.

Two Ways To Clear Your Record

People who have been arrested or charged, even if they have been convicted, are provided under Minnesota law with two avenues to clear their record from public view. The granting of an expungement petition often puts a person in a much better employment situation and can prevent unwarranted collateral consequences from one incident in an otherwise law abiding life.

Start The Process Of Clearing Your Record

It is important to retain a lawyer to take you through the expungement process. Bill Mauzy is an experienced expungement attorney who understands the complex process of clearing someone's record. Call our Minneapolis office at 612-444-9466. You can also email the office to request an appointment.