Help Getting Your Record Expunged In Minnesota
A criminal record can have a serious impact on your future. Future employers may perform a background check prior to hiring you and find your record. Colleges, universities and landlords may perform a similar search. Even if you were found “not guilty” or your case was dismissed, the record of your case can still be found.
In some cases, you may be able to get your record expunged so that your criminal record does not come back to haunt you. An expungement does not mean that your record is wiped clean, but instead, it is sealed.
In one survey, nearly a quarter of employers said they would not hire someone with a nonviolent conviction on his or her record. Protect your future by taking steps today to seal your criminal record. Call us in Minneapolis at 612-426-7047.
How Do I Qualify For Expungement?
Under the Second Chance Law, you can request an expungement if:
- You successfully completed a diversion program, or you received a stay of adjudication and at least one year has passed without another criminal charge.
- Your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty.
- You were convicted of a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor, and at least two years have passed without another criminal conviction.
- You were convicted of a gross misdemeanor, and at least four years have passed without another criminal conviction.
- You were convicted of a low-level felony offense, and at least five years have passed without another criminal conviction. (The law lists 50 nonviolent offenses that can be expunged.)
The rules are different for individuals convicted of domestic violence or other crimes involving violent acts. Certain violent crimes, such as murder or sexual assault, do not qualify for expungement unless you receive a stay of adjudication. In all cases, the court will consider 12 factors to determine whether a criminal record should be expunged. These include your criminal record, the severity of the crime, the risk to society and your reasons for requesting the expungement.
Minnesota’s Second Chance Law
Minnesota’s Second Chance Law went into effect in 2015, significantly improving how expungement works in Minnesota. It gives more individuals a second chance by increasing the number of crimes eligible for expungement. But it does more than that – it finally makes expungement a real remedy for those who have been charged with crimes.
Previously, individuals were not able to seal their Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) or executive branch records. Because many employers and housing agencies request background checks from the BCA, sealing a criminal record wasn’t a full remedy – people who had formally sealed their records continued to face discrimination when applying for jobs or attempting to rent an apartment. The Second Chance Law seals all records, including police, judicial, probation, county attorney, DHS and BCA records.
Finally, it gives individuals the ability to bring a civil lawsuit against any government agency that opens an expunged record unlawfully.
Our attorneys can help you determine if you are eligible for expungement and the records that you can expect to get sealed. We will guide you through the legal process to ensure that your rights and your reputation are protected into the future.
Frequently Asked Questions About Expungements
Our clients ask us a lot of questions about how qualifying for a criminal expungement works in Minnesota. Here are the answers to some of our most commonly heard questions.
Can a criminal record be expunged in Minnesota if my case is dismissed?
Yes. This matters because, even if the court dismissed your case, the fact that you were charged with a crime is still on your record.
Can a gross misdemeanor be expunged?
Yes, if four years have passed since you have completed your sentence, and you have not been convicted of a new crime in that time.
Can convictions get expunged?
In Minnesota, you can expunge many types of convictions from your record. But you must sit through a waiting period, like we mentioned in the answer above. For a felony, your crime must qualify for expungement, plus you must wait five years from the end of your sentence. For a misdemeanor, the waiting period is at least two years from discharge of your sentence.
What kind of felonies can get expunged?
State law allows the expungement of 50 different felonies. Examples include:
- Fifth-degree felony possession/sale of a controlled substance
- Causing a car accident that resulted in great bodily harm
- Contempt of court
- Theft of $5,000 or less
- Theft of $1,000 or less with risk of bodily harm
A defense attorney who is familiar with expungement law can explain if your felony record can qualify.
What is the difference between an expunged and a sealed record?
Once a record is expunged, it is as if it never existed. It cannot be found. In most respects, a sealed record is similar. But someone can still access your record by seeking a court order to get it unsealed. This can happen more often than you might expect.
Can expunged records be found?
In general, no. Once a judge orders a record expunged, the court deletes it from its records. It should not turn up on a background check. However, details of your case could still be on the internet. There may have been news reports about your arrest or conviction. There are also websites dedicated to posting information about people’s criminal backgrounds. Unfortunately, an expungement does not affect these internet sources.
Can any kind of lawyer clear my criminal record?
Technically, any attorney licensed in Minnesota can work on expunging a criminal record based in a Minnesota county. But a lawyer who is unfamiliar with expungements is going to need a lot of time to research the subject. And even then, they are more likely to make a mistake that forces you to start all over.
How much does it cost to get my record expunged in Minnesota?
Besides legal fees, the main cost of requesting an expungement is the filing fee. This varies from county to county. In Hennepin County, the filing fee for an expungement is $297.
Get Help Today – Call Now
Our skilled attorneys can help you through the process of obtaining an expungement and help you protect your privacy. Contact Groshek Law PA online or call 612-426-7047 for a consultation with an experienced expungement lawyer.