According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, nearly 80 million Americans have criminal records. As Minnesota expungement attorneys, we are well-acquainted with the devastating impact a criminal conviction can have on one’s job prospects. Thankfully, Minnesota has recently enacted two laws meant to help people with criminal records find jobs. First, in 2014 Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” law became effective, and, second, as of January 1st, 2015, Minnesota’s expungement law will finally get a much needed boost. So, what do these new Minnesota laws mean, and how can they help you get a job despite your criminal record?
Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” law?
This new Minnesota law prevents employers from asking about a candidate’s criminal record in an initial job application. The restrictions help those with rap sheets at least get a foot in the door. However, the law only limits employers’ ability to question candidates at the initial application stage. For this reason, the law has little, if any, practical ability to stop employers from rejecting applicants due to his or her criminal history. The above-referenced Wall Street Journal article focuses on how employers screen job candidates for criminal records and whether “Ban the Box” laws in states like Minnesota actually improve job prospects for those who have been convicted of a crime. It is clear from the article that the impact of these laws is relatively shallow. Employers are not changing their beliefs on actually hiring people with criminal records. Instead, they are changing their hiring processes to avoid ending up in court. For more information on what Minnesota employers can and can’t ask you about your criminal record, click HERE…
On the other hand, experienced Minnesota expungement attorneys recognize that, for those Minnesotans that are eligible, expungement is the most effective way remove the barriers to employment created by a criminal conviction.
Expungement in Minnesota?
Minnesota’s new expungement law makes a much broader range of Minnesotans eligible to have their criminal records sealed. In addition to making expungement available to more people, changes in the Minnesota expugement law will have a significant, practical impact on a person’s ability to find a job. Specifically, the new Minnesota exungement law allows court to expunge records relating to arrest and conviction held by executive branch agencies, such as the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DVS), and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Additionally, the new Minnesota expungement law allows courts to order the destruction of records held by private companies. This is a critical aspect since many employers use private records companies for background checks and those companies were previously beyond the reach of the court’s expungement power.
The new Minnesota expungement law will create new opportunities for thousands of Minnesotans with a criminal record. More crimes than ever before are eligible for expungement and an order for expungement itself will carry more value than ever before. This was a hard fought victory for the criminal defense bar. Minneapolis, MN criminal defense attorney Brock Hunter is among a small group of Minnesota criminal defense lawyers that fought for this reform. As the Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) Brock got the ball rolling on the bill that would eventually become Minnesota’s new expungement law.
If you are interested in pursuing an expungement or finding out whether you are eligible for expungement, call the Minnesota expungement attorneys at the Law Office of Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. for a free consultation. Our phone number is 612-874-1625.
You may also be interested in checking out our other blog posts regarding expungement: