For many years, the law in Minnesota has allowed people convicted of certain crimes to petition for expungement. Expungement is the process of having your criminal records sealed from the public’s view. It seems great, right? A chance to escape past mistakes and the stigma that accompanies a criminal conviction. In reality, expungement attorneys have long understood that the effectiveness of a successful petition for expungement was been pretty limited.
Primarily, people want to pursue expungement for employment purposes. They don’t want an old assault, theft, or drug conviction popping up on a background check, preventing them from getting a job. And sure, an expungement will seal the records of a conviction held by the courts. The problem is, most employers don’t turn to the government when they want to run a background check. Instead, businesses contract with private companies that track criminal arrests and convictions. Until now, those private criminal records companies were outside the long-arm of the law. An order of expungement could not be used to force private organization to delete a record of conviction.
Alas, the new Minnesota expungement law finally filled this enormous gap. Minnesota Statute 332.70 was amended to read,
If the disputed record is found to be sealed, expunged, or the subject of a pardon, the business screening service shall promptly delete the record. A business screening service that complies with this subdivision is not in violation of this section.
This means that the courts finally have the power to issue an order sealing the criminal records that really effect people. Another important result of this change to the law is that people who successfully petitioned for expungement in the past can now request to have that order extended to a particular private records company.
Thenew 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. Brock Hunter is one several 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 expungement attorneys at Brockton D. Hunter P.A. for a free consultation. Our phone number is (612) 979-1112.