In Minnesota, you can sometimes seal your criminal record so employers, landlords, or the general public cannot see it. This is called Expungement. Even police and law enforcement cannot see it without a court order. Expungement essentially seals the case so it is not visible to the public and only under very narrow circumstances can government agencies see it with a court order. For an expungement to work, it has to be done correctly and involve all the necessary parties and agencies, otherwise it is a waste of time and money.
Minnesota updated its expungement laws to enable more people to qualify for an expungement! Minnesota Statute 609A is the law that covers expungements.
Stay of Adjudication or Diversion Program Expungement Attorney
If you have successfully completed a stay of adjudication or the terms of a diversion program, you can have your case expunged! You cannot be charged with any new crimes for one year after your case was closed.
Misdemeanor Expungement Lawyer
Most misdemeanors such as theft, disorderly conduct, and sometimes DWI/DUI and Assaults can be expunged. For a Misdemeanor or Petty misdemeanor, you need to have no criminal convictions for two years after you were discharged from probation. This would exclude most parking tickets, speeding, and driving without a license. Some of these cases we can even get expunged without going through the whole expungement process.
Gross Misdemeanor Expungement Lawyer
Most Gross Misdemeanors are eligible for expungement. With a Gross Misdemeanor, you must wait three years after you were discharged from probation and you must not have been convicted of a new crime. This includes most cases that are sentenced as a gross misdemeanor but possibly started as a felony. Also a gross misdemeanor that is sentenced as a misdemeanor.
Felony Drug Conviction Expungement Attorney
If you received a conviction for Felony 5th Degree Controlled Substance Crime, then you can have it expunged after four years. That includes sale of marijuana.
Felony Conviction Expungement
Felony convictions are the most frequent charge that people need to expunge. Minnesota law only allows expungement in certain felony cases. Low value felony theft, 3rd and 4th degree drug possession, and stolen property charges are the most frequently expunged. You need to be conviction free for four years after you were discharged from probation before you are eligible. For help, call an experienced expungement lawyer.
Not Guilty or Acquitted of a Crime
If you had charges dismissed, were acquitted at a trial, or won your case, you can have the charges expunged at any time. Oftentimes we can do this without even having to go to court. Give us a call to discuss the logistics of cleaning up your record.
Minnesota Automatic Expungement of Marijuana Cases
In 2023, with the passing of recreational marijuana laws, the legislature put into place a method for the automatic expungement of certain marijuana cases. This is a good first step, but it will not be implemented for some time. We have been informed that this process is not likely to be recognized by the Federal Government, as automatic statutory expungement is not allowed. Only getting an order from a judge will seal the records with the Feds. In addition, if you lost your gun rights, automatic expungement may not get them back. The best way to get this off your record is to get an attorney to file a full expungement petition and gun rights restoration.
One category of cases you cannot expunge are sex crimes that require Predatory Offender Registration.
I also get calls from people asking to expunge convictions from other states. You can only expunge eligible Minnesota convictions.
Tips for Preparing for your Expungement:
The single biggest thing you can do to help your case get expunged is to document all the instances your criminal conviction has hurt you. One of the factors that the judge must take into consideration is what benefit an expungement would have for your record. I have seen many cases where people say “I was turned down for an apartment.” Your word or testimony is not as good as a letter you can show the judge. I tell everyone to make sure they get documentation, letters of rejection, and any other paperwork they can find to show their criminal conviction is harming them. The cases that seem to be the most successful are the ones that can show the conviction is holding them back.
I also recommend you keep all the paperwork related to your criminal case. I will often show the judge proof that you completed treatment, or other court ordered programming. When you are discharged from probation, sometimes the agent will send you a letter. I recommend keeping all of this and having an attorney review it. It is sometimes hard to get these documents years later, so save everything.
Finally, document all the things you have accomplished and done in your life to make yourself a better person. This can be going to school, starting a family, or just getting a good job. The more documents that you can get that show you are a good person and changed for the better, the easier a decision it will be for a judge.
I often see people in court trying to expunge their record on their own. While sometimes successful, they often don’t notify all the correct agencies or do the paperwork necessary. Expungement requires a lot of paperwork and documentation, so make sure you do it right the first time. At least talk to an experienced attorney before proceeding.