Your Guide to Minnesota Record Expungements
In Minnesota, there are certain criminal records that can be expunged. However, it’s a complicated and somewhat slow process – or at least it can be if you don’t have an attorney who can help.
There are a lot of questions about record expungements in Minnesota that are asked regularly, which is why this list of frequently asked questions has been compiled.
Read on to find out all you need to know about having your Minnesota criminal record expunged.
What is Minnesota Record Expungement?
Expungement is a process where the legal record of a criminal conviction or arrest is sealed. It doesn’t disappear from your record completely, but it won’t come up on background checks and you will no longer need to disclose the event when asked about your criminal record.
What Criminal Offenses are Eligible for Expungement?
This question is the most important. After all, there’s no point in committing time and effort to expunge your record if it’s not eligible. Under Minnesota law, there are a few categories of offenses that can be eligible for expungement. They are:
Misdemeanors and Petty Misdemeanors
If it’s been at least two years since you were discharged from probation due to a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor and you’ve not been convicted of any new crimes during that time, then you can petition the court for record expungement.
If it’s been at least four years from the time you were discharged from probation for a gross misdemeanor, then you can ask the court for a record expungement.
There are some felonies that are eligible for expungement. If your felony charge is one, then you have to wait at least five years from the date of your probation discharge before you can petition the court.
Offenses for Controlled Substances
You can petition the court to expunge your record for your first offense of drug possession, but only after you have pleaded guilty and completed probation and the court dismissed charges. One year after you can petition the court to have this expunged from your record if you’ve not been charged with any new offenses in the interim.
Criminal Cases Resolved in Your Favor
If you have been found not guilty of a crime in court, then you can have your records expunged immediately following the resolution of the case.
What If You Completed a Diversion Program?
If you completed a diversion program successfully or the court dismissed your case after deferred prosecution, then you can petition the records related to the case be expunged.
You must wait a minimum of one year from the date of the dismissal and you cannot be convicted of any other crimes in the meantime.
This case is special since the court is required to grant the expungement request unless the government can prove through evidence that it is a risk to public safety to have the records sealed.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Records Expungement?
You can petition the court on your own to expunge records but hiring an attorney with experience in the area will help to expedite a process that can be complicated and a bit confusing. If you want it done quickly and successfully, an attorney is your best bet.
How Long Does It Take to Have My MN Record Expunged?
After the appropriate petitions have gotten to the government agencies required, the court schedules a hearing within 60 days. The entire expungement process can take a minimum of 90 days on average.
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.