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Expungement Lawyer MN

Helping Individuals Expunge Minneapolis Criminal Records

If a conviction is preventing you from having the quality of life you seek, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged. In Minnesota, people who have been convicted of a crime or arrested are able to have their records sealed. This can help them get a job, housing, or qualify for other essential opportunities. Brockton D. Hunter P.A. has taken an active role in assisting people with moving beyond their past mistakes through expungement.

With our experience helping clients seal criminal records, our expungement attorneys in Minnesota can help you. Contact us at (612) 979-1112.

What is Expungement?

An expungement is an order signed by a judge that requires criminal records regarding arrest, indictment or information, trial or verdict be sealed. Sealing records means that the records may not be disclosed or opened. This DOES NOT mean the records are destroyed. In fact, the law sets out several circumstances in which expunged records may be disclosed or opened. For instance, the records may be opened when a person is under criminal investigation, or when a criminal justice agency is evaluating a prospective employee. However, taken as a whole the law is a big step forward for people who have paid their debt to society and wish to move forward with their lives.

What Is the Expungement Process in MN?

Anyone seeking to have their criminal record sealed must go through a complex process.

The steps involved in seeking an expungement include the following:

  • Gathering all pertinent information: The individual must have copies of their criminal case history and lists of names and addresses they've used since their first arrest. Having complete and accurate information is important, as it must be included on the expungement petition. Any errors may delay the process.
  • Explaining why expungement is sought: The individual must also write down why they want their criminal record cleared. For instance, they might be having trouble getting a job or a place to live because of their criminal history, and an expungement would remove the barriers they're facing. When a judge is determining whether to grant the request, one of the things they'll weigh is the benefits of expungement upon the individual against the risks upon the community.
  • Submitting expungement petition: After the individual has completed all necessary forms, which includes a written statement about why the expungement should be granted and how they've been rehabilitated since their conviction, they must file their forms with the correct court. After filing the petition 60 days must pass before there is a hearing.
  • Attending a hearing: The individual will be scheduled for a hearing. During the proceeding, the judge may ask clarifying questions about the information contained in their petition. In most situations, however, the judge will make a decision based on what was written in the petition.

When deciding, the judge will consider a range of factors, such as:

  • The severity of the offense
  • The risk the individual poses to society
  • The individual's commitment to rehabilitation

If the judge grants the expungement, the individual's record will be cleared of the conviction for which relief was sought.

What Charges Can Be Expunged?

A person can seek to have their criminal record sealed only if they have been convicted of certain qualifying crimes.

Examples of Minnesota offenses that can be expunged include:

  • Theft
  • Fifth-degree controlled substance crime
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Mail theft
  • Issuing a bad check
  • Damage to property
  • Forgery
  • Additionally, people who have successfully completed diversion programs and people who were convicted of petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and felonies, can also petition the court for expungement.

If a person has been convicted of an offense requiring registration as a predatory offender, they cannot have their criminal record sealed.

Such crimes include:

Expungement Requests Allowable in MN

You may request an expungement in these circumstances:

  • If you’ve successfully completed terms of a diversion program or stay of adjudication and have not been charged with a new crime for 1 year
  • If you’ve been convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and you have not been convicted of a new crime for at least 2 years
  • If you’ve been convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a gross misdemeanor and have not been convicted of a new crime for at least 4 years.
  • If you’ve been convicted of, or received a stayed sentence for a felony on, “The List” and have not been convicted of a new crime for at least 5 years.

“The List” is a list of 50 felony offenses that are eligible for expungement. It can be found on the Revisor’s site in Section 6 , and includes convictions for 5th Degree Controlled Substance, failure to appear in court, theft of $5,000 or less, dishonored check over $500, and movie pirating, among other things.

What's the Waiting Period for Seeking Expungement?

The amount of time a person must wait to get their record expunged in Minnesota depends on the offense they were charged with. Generally, the waiting period begins when the individual completes their sentence, including terms of probation.

A person may file for an expungement as follows:

  • No waiting period: When the case was decided in the petitioner's favor.
  • 1-year waiting period: When the petitioner was granted deferred adjudication, they completed the terms of their diversion program, and they have not been charged with a new crime since finishing their sentence.
  • 2-year waiting period: When the petitioner was convicted of a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor, and they have not been convicted of a new crime since finishing their sentence.
  • 4-year waiting period: When the petitioner was convicted of a gross misdemeanor and they have not been convicted of a new crime since completing their sentence.
  • 5-year waiting period: When the petitioner was convicted of a felony specified in Minnesota Statute 609A.02, subdivision 3, paragraph (b), and they have not been convicted of a new crime since completing their sentence.

Types of Expungement in Minnesota

Currently, a person has two options for seeking an expungement: statutory or inherent authority expungement. The method an individual pursues to have their record cleared depends on the specifics of their situation.

Statutory expungements are those based on Minnesota's statutes. This means that a written law exists enumerating the grounds for clearing a specific offense.

Statutory expungement focuses on the following types of matters:

  • Certain drug crimes
  • Juvenile crimes prosecuted in adult courts
  • Cases decided in the defendant's favor
  • Cases in which the defendant was placed in a diversion program
  • Cases involving petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and gross misdemeanor offenses
  • Cases involving specified felonies

If a person's offense does not qualify for a statutory expungement, they may try to have their record sealed through the inherent authority process. This vehicle provides that the court can decide whether or not someone's record can be cleared. The decision is not based on grounds provided in the expungement statute. Often, such an expungement is granted when the petitioner's constitutional rights were violated or a criminal justice agency abused their discretion. An inherent authority expungement only clears records held by the court.

Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” Law

This "Ban the Box" 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. 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.

Call Our Accomplished Minneapolis Firm

At Brockton D. Hunter P.A., we have assisted several people with sealing their criminal records, helping them move on with their lives after a criminal offense. Brock Hunter was a crucial factor in the effort to reform Minnesota expungement law. Along with being a criminal defense attorney, he served as the Legislative Chair for the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer.

For help seeking a second chance, contact us at (612) 979-1112 to speak with our Minneapolis expungement lawyers.


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