Military service is a life changing experience. At the Minneapolis criminal Defense firm of Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. we commonly seek expungements for veterans in two situations. First, many vets have a criminal record from when they were young, from before they entered the military. The details of a veteran’s military service can be used to demonstrate that individual has changed and deserves a second chance through expungement. Our experience has shown that Minnesota courts believe a person with a criminal history, who has since entered and served in the military, has shown a commitment to remaining responsible and law abiding. By granting many of these expungements, a the courts are expressing their view that a person has served our country should no longer be held back by mistakes made when he or she was young.
Alternatively, it is an unfortunate truth that many returning service members suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) find themselves entangled in the criminal justice system. Thankfully, many of these veterans will rehabilitate themselves through treatment or other means. If these experiences are explained to the court in the right light, a strong argument can be made that such veterans are ideal candidates for expungement.
Most importantly, in either scenario, it is critical that your expungement attorney place your military experiences in the right context. We see two mistakes commonly made at this point in a petitioner for exungement: (1) Military service and PTSD or TBI are used as an excuse for criminal behavior committed since; or (2) expungment attorneys rely too heavily on the fact that simply having served in the military means the veteran is rehabilitated. For more information about Brockton D. Hunter P.A.’s specialized veterans criminal defense practice and how a petition for expungement works click on the links above. You may also be interested in a previous post on the Minnesota Criminal Law Blog entitled New Minnesota Law Makes More Minnesotans Eligible for Expungement.