Expungement Lawyer Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota Criminal Record Expungements
Expungement means the sealing of a criminal record. Having a criminal record can present problems in obtaining employment, housing, a loan, and may create difficulties in other areas as well. An expungement will remove your arrest and criminal conviction history from public search records.
In Minnesota, there are two types of criminal expungements: expungements that are ordered under Minnesota statutes and expungements that are ordered under the court’s “inherent authority.”
While not all cases can be expunged, as of January 1, 2015, Minnesota’s Second Chance law allows for statutory grounds for an expungement to include convictions of all criminal levels, including felonies.
The expungement process can be complex. An experienced attorney can navigate the expungement process for you and maximize the likelihood that your record will be sealed.
Minnesota Eviction Expungements
An Eviction (Unlawful Detainer Action) is required in order to remove a tenant from rental property. Eviction records, even records of dismissed cases, can cause problems for people seeking rental housing and in other areas as well.
If an eviction does appear on your record, challenging it and having an expungement granted is difficult but possible. The expungement process can be complex. An experienced attorney can navigate the expungement process for you and maximize the likelihood that your record will be sealed.
Please call the Magna Law Firm at 763-438-3032 for a free legal consultation.
Common Questions and Answers Regarding Expungement
Your criminal offense record continues to haunt you even though it is has been years since you have committed a crime. You have experienced great difficulty obtaining housing, voting, carrying a firearm and or finding a job because of your criminal record. Is expungement of your criminal record an option for you? Below is a list of some of the most common questions that relate to the expungement process and our attempt to answer them.
Is my criminal offense record physically destroyed when it is expunged?
No. Under Minnesota law, the expungement of your criminal record simply means that your criminal record is sealed and cannot be disclosed to any individual, corporation, or agency absent a court order. Thus, even if a court orders expungement, your criminal record is not physically destroyed.
What part of my criminal offense record is sealed?
All information relating to the arrest, charge, trial and ultimate resolution of your criminal offense.
Is my criminal offense record even eligible for expungement?
Minnesota law recognizes several categories of criminal offenses that are eligible for expungement.
Controlled Substance Offenses
For your first drug possession offense, if, after entering a guilty plea and successfully completing probation the Court dismissed the charge against you, you are eligible to have this offense record sealed. You must wait, however, at least one year from the date the court dismissed your case to have this record sealed. In addition, you cannot be charged with any new offenses during this period.
Criminal Cases Resolved in Your Favor
If you took your criminal case to trial and were found not guilty, or if the prosecutor voluntarily agreed to dismiss your case, you are entitled to have your offense record sealed. If your criminal case was resolved in this fashion, you may petition the Court to have your record sealed immediately following the dismissal of your case. Under these circumstances, the court must grant your request to seal your record unless the government proves by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of public safety outweigh your interests in having your record sealed.
Diversion and Deferred Prosecution
If you successfully completed a diversion program for your criminal case or ultimately had a court dismiss your case after deferred prosecution of the case, you are entitled to have your criminal record relating to the case sealed. You must wait, however, at least one year from the date the court dismissed your case to have your record sealed. You cannot be convicted of any new crimes during this period. Under these circumstances, the court must grant your request to have your record sealed unless the government proves by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of public safety outweigh your interests in having your record sealed.
Petty Misdemeanor and Misdemeanor Offenses
If you have been convicted of a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor criminal offense, you may petition the court to have this record sealed. You must wait, however, at least two years from your probation discharge date to ask the court to seal your record. You cannot be convicted of any new crimes during this period
Gross Misdemeanor Offenses
If you have been convicted of a gross misdemeanor offense, you may petition the court to have this record sealed. You must wait, however, at least four years from your probation discharge date to ask the court to seal your record. You cannot be convicted of any new crimes during this period.
Felony Level Offenses
Certain felony level offenses are eligible for expungement. Those offenses are specified in Minn. Stat. 609A.02, subd. 3, section (5). For these offenses, you must wait at least five years from your probation discharge date before you ask the court to seal your record. You cannot be convicted of any new crimes during this period.
Even if I am eligible, what are the chances that the court will grant my expungement request?
Minnesota law describes expungement as an “extraordinary” judicial remedy. For the court to grant your expungement request, you must prove by clear and convincing evidence that you would benefit from the expungement to a level that is equal to the level that the public would be disadvantaged by having your record sealed. In making this determination, the Court will consider many factors such as the seriousness of your criminal offense, the risk you pose to society, the amount of time that has elapsed since the offense, and the steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself since committing the crime. You must also demonstrate to the court that having your criminal record open has caused you significant harm in terms of obtaining housing, employment or other necessities. To the extent you can establish that having your criminal record open has caused you extreme hardship, and that a significant period of time has elapsed since the offense and that you have learned from your mistake, the better chance you stand.
How long will the process take?
After serving your petition on the appropriate government agencies, the Court will schedule a hearing on your petition no sooner than 60 days after service of your petition. You should anticipate that the process will take a minimum of 90 days.
What if a government agency discloses my criminal record after a court has ordered my record to be expunged?
Minnesota law allows you to bring a civil action against a government entity that unlawfully discloses your criminal record. In this action, you can recover money damages for the harm caused by the disclosure and reasonable attorney fees.
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