A criminal charge can haunt an individual throughout many facets of their day-to-day life. Most people don’t realize the true extent to which a prior criminal case can be a detriment to their life until it is happening to them. In order to seal previous criminal cases and gain a second chance, people in Minnesota can use the state’s expungement laws, which were updated and expanded in 2015. More criminal cases can now be expunged than ever before, sealing the records of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency that often holds the records used in background checks by employers and landlords.
There is no better time than right now to learn if expungement can help you. Our experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys have a wealth of knowledge regarding expungement and many other criminal law matters. You can meet with a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation and learn more about your options.
What Exactly Is Expungement In Minnesota?
Expungement is a court-ordered sealing of criminal records held by several government agencies, and it prohibits the disclosure of even the existence of the records or their opening except under court order and specific circumstances. An expunged criminal record will not be seen during a criminal background check.
Expungement will help you with background checks conducted by:
- Educational institutions
Expungement is not guaranteed. You must satisfy legal prerequisites, complete extensive waiting periods after conviction or charges are filed and convince the judge presiding over your expungement case that you are deserving of the request.
Who Is Eligible For Expungement?
Generally, all crimes charged as petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors are eligible for expungement, or “expungeable.” Many criminal violations involving controlled substance offenses resolved through a statutory stay of adjudication (Minn. Stat. § 152.18) are also eligible for expungement as well as certain cases involving juveniles prosecuted as adults. Only specific felony offenses are expungeable. If you have been convicted of a felony, talk with our Minnesota expungement attorneys to learn whether your conviction qualifies for expungement. It is worth noting that any offense not requiring registration as a predatory offender is eligible for expungement.
Here are five important considerations regarding expungement waiting periods:
- You can seek immediate expungement if your charge was dismissed without a guilty plea or you were found not guilty at trial.
- You must wait one year to seek expungement if you received a stay of adjudication or began a diversion program to have your charge dismissed.
- You must wait two years following discharge from probation to seek expungement if you were convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor.
- You must wait four years to seek expungement following discharge from probation if you were convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a gross misdemeanor.
- You must wait five years to seek expungement following the completion of sentencing requirements for a felony offense conviction.