On May 14, 2014, Governor Dayton signed into law important changes to laws governing the sealing and/or expungement of criminal records in the State of Minnesota
Prior to the new law, in most cases, the Court was not allowed to expunge executive branch records. The new law fixes this problem and allows Courts to order executive branch agencies to seal their records. Executive branch agencies include:
- The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (“BCA”);
- The Minnesota Department of Human Services (“DHS”);
- The Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH”);
- Police departments;
- City and county attorneys’ offices;
- The Attorney General’s Office;
- The Board of Teaching; and
- County Sheriff’s offices.
The Benefits of an Expungement
The new law provides meaningful relief to individuals because the Court is able to seal both judicial and executive branch records. This means individuals now have a chance to seal all records held by any agency.
As some of you might already be well-aware --- employers and landlords frequently investigate an applicant’s criminal background as part of the hiring/leasing process. And ... sadly ... individuals with criminal histories may be rejected from employment or housing because of the existence of these records, even if a charge was dismissed or the individual is rehabilitated.
When a Court orders that criminal records are to be sealed/expunged, it means that all of the records are sealed from public access.
If a Court Orders expungement of records held by the judicial branch, it means that the individual’s criminal record cannot be viewed or accessed through the state court website or at the Courthouse. If a Court Orders expungement of records held by the executive branch, it means that the individual’s criminal record generally cannot be viewed or accessed at any of the above-listed agencies, so long as the expungement Order is directed to that particular agency.
Gain this result and an individual with a criminal background will likely face fewer obstacles toobtaining employment and/or housing if both executive branch and judicial branch records are expunged.
Contact The Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165 to discuss petitioning for the expungement/sealing of your court record.