Sunday, July 1, 2012

Minnesota Expungements - Clean Your Record (Explained)

If you have been arrested, charged,  or convicted of a crime, then you understand the negative impact a criminal record can have on your life.  In Minnesota, all of this criminal history data, including arrests without a conviction, are public information.  Many employers, landlords, financial institutes and schools perform criminal background checks on all applicants which means your past will continue to haunt you in the future. You may have trouble finding decent employment, finding a place to live, obtaining a loan or even getting into a school. Expungement can put an end to these constant problems.

If you want help, contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney - today.  If you think you want to go it alone - here are some helpful suggestions:

Learn What is On Your Record

The first thing to do is find out what information exists.  In Minnesota, the Court and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) each maintain a public criminal history database.  Searching these websites is free and easy.  This is a big part of the problem, but it is helpful when trying to find out what information is available to interested parties.

Minnesota’s district court’s database is located here.

BCA’s criminal history database can be found here.

Expungement Rules and Regulations

The rules of expungement are not set in stone because of some inconsistent findings between the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  However, every expungement case is assessed on an individual basis but, in general, the following factors will determine your ability to have your conviction erased.

Amount of time since the offense.  As a general rule of thumb, wait at least two years to petition to expunge a misdemeanor conviction and longer for a felony.

Rehabilitation measures taken. In general, if you have displayed good public behavior since the arrest, avoiding any additional arrests, participating in counseling, anger management and/or rehabilitation as requested by the judge, then you will have a better chance of having your conviction taken off the record.

Case resolved in your favor.  If you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed by the judge or the prosecutor or you entered into a pre-trial diversion program (without entering a plea of guilt) you will have a much easier time expunging the record.  If the case was not resolved in your favor, the expungement request must be requested under the court’s inherent authority, which is a tougher process.

Drug offenses.  Certain drug offenses may be expunged pursuant to statute which makes the process easier.

Seriousness of the crime. Certain convictions can never be sealed, such as sexual assault and other offenses requiring post conviction registration.

The Rolloff Law Office can help you or someone you love with an expungement of a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony conviction.  Contact me today at (612) 234-1165 to set up a FREE consultation.  

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