Friday, January 27, 2012

Minnesota Expungements (Explained)

In difficult economic times, having a clean criminal record is more important than ever. Someones criminal history may affect their efforts to find employment, rent an apartment, obtain a bank loan, obtain certain licenses, and/or receive government benefits.

Due to changes in technology, information about an individual's criminal history is easily available. These records are no longer necessarily private - stored in some basement filing cabinet.  Rather, they can often be accessed with just a few clicks of one's mouse over the Internet.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is a legal process that permits qualified individuals to have their criminal records sealed or destroyed.  If you have questions about this process - and what you can do to earn an Expungement - your first, best step should be to call an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense and Expungement Attorney

Statutory Criminal Record Expungement in Minnesota

Minnesota law allows individuals to expunge their criminal records in certain, limited circumstances. Essentially there are two types of Minnesota Criminal Expungements: Statutory and Inherent Authority.

Statutory Expungement  

Statutory Expungement is available in very limited circumstances, specifically: (1) When someone has had certain controlled substance offenses dismissed and discharged; (2) for certain juveniles prosecuted as adults; and (3) for certain criminal proceedings not resulting in conviction.  Often, these conditions do not "fit" most individuals circumstances; therefore, there is also the Inherent Authority option.

If you qualify for a Statutory Expungement and want to proceed with the process, you must formally petition the court. If your petition is successful, the court will issue an order sealing the records and prohibiting their disclosure to the public - except in certain limited circumstances. The Expungement order, however, does not destroy the criminal records, and the records are not returned.

Inherent Authority Expungement

As things currently stand, an "inherent authority of the court" Expungement is probably the least attractive option, but (as set forth above) it is often the only remedy available to most people who pled guilty or were convicted of a criminal offense.

The factors that the court uses to decide this type of Expungement includes, but is not limited to, the severity of the crime, how long ago it occurred, whether you have had any other problems with the law, if you have been rehabilitated, and the reasons for seeking the Expungement. Ultimately the court must weight the individuals need for the relief that an Expungement affords versus society's need to maintain accurate records of criminal convictions.

What Can You Do?

The best way to ensure that you are eligible for an Eexpungement is before you plead guilty to a crime. The cornerstone of my practice is the work I do to resolve cases so that my clients are eligible to clear your record in the future.

If you have been charged with a crime and want to obtain a result that will allow for the possibility of future Expungement, or have a previously resolved case and are interested in an Expungement, you need an experienced legal advocate to fight for your rights. To learn more, contact the Rolloff Law Office, today, at (612) 234-1165.

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