MN Record Sealing: What You Need to Know
A criminal record is something that can add a lot of complications to your life. It can impact your reputation, your ability to find work, or even your capacity to find a place to live.
However, Minnesota offers something to help people move on from past mistakes and start their life anew without worrying about a criminal record – a process called record sealing or expungement.
It can be a complicated process, but it is one worth understanding if you have a criminal record. Read on to find out what you need to know about this process and what it can mean for your future.
What is Record Sealing in Minnesota?
Record sealing, also called expungement in the state, means that your criminal record is effectively sealed so that it is not available to the public any longer. Only a judge in the state can order a record to be sealed. This order means that, in the future, the record can only be opened, disclosed, or acknowledged under a court order or as allowed under state law.
A criminal record sealing doesn’t erase your criminal history. What it does do is seal your record so that it will not show up on background checks. It will, however, still exist under seal. The only people who will be able to access your criminal record after it is sealed are law enforcement agencies, the court, and prosecutors. If you apply for certain jobs, such as those with a criminal justice agency or state government agency, your record may also still be accessible to them.
Can Sealed Criminal Records Sill Be Used Against You?
Because the court can access your criminal record after it is sealed, any future crimes of which you may be found guilty can take into account prior offenses of the same nature. If a crime of the same nature is on your criminal record, then the court can use that to enhance penalties against you.
Who Is Eligible for Record Sealing in Minnesota?
In the state of Minnesota, only certain types of criminal records can be sealed. Cases where you were never convicted of a crime can be sealed – as can some drug charges in which probation was completed successfully and the case against you was dismissed. Some other charges can be sealed if you have not been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor in the past 10 years.
How To Have Your Record Sealed
You can have your record sealed in Minnesota by filling out the required paperwork and submitting it to the court. You will then have to appear for a mandatory hearing in front of a judge in which you plead your case for record sealing. This is where the counsel of an experienced attorney who has handled record sealing can be very useful.
Why You Should Get Your Record Sealed
If you have your records sealed in the state of Minnesota, then the public cannot view those records. That means, if asked if you have been convicted of a crime, then you can truthfully answer “No.” This is beneficial in many scenarios, but just to give some examples: having your record sealed can help when you apply for new jobs, apply for loans, try to find a place to live, or even try to apply for certain professional licenses. It is in your best interest to have your record sealed if you are eligible.
About the Author:
Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.