Sunday, December 3, 2017

Charges Dismissed --- Still on Background Check. Why?

We all know how the story goes --- you were charged with a crime. But then - your Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney got the case dismissed or helped you to earn a Not Guilty verdict at trial.  However, the arrest/charges are still  showing up on a background check.  Right?

What Should You Do?

Many Minnesotans are surprised to learn that potential employers can still see that they were charged with a crime --- even though they were never convicted.  Heck, you may have searched your name on the court’s public records site and found nothing. While this is a good place to start - that should not be the end of your efforts.  See, even if you were acquitted, or if your case was dismissed as a result of a Continuance for Dismissal or Stay of Adjudication, your case should not be visible via a simple name search. However, if someone knows the name of your attorney or the court file number, they may be able to find your entire Register of Actions.  This is where many people might consider looking into a Expungement --- and educating themselves about the way to do that.  

The reason you may need to go this extra step - save for what I've already explained - is the fact that  potential employers aren’t often satisfied with such a limited background check. Instead, they request a complete criminal record check through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. If the BCA has records of your arrest/charge, they will report it to anyone you authorize to receive this information. Although your criminal record will indicate that the case was dismissed, a potential employer might still take pause at the sight of a charge. 

For example, let’s say you were accused of taking something - from a store - when you were young.  A typical outcome for such cases --- a client is able ot keep it of their record by way of a Stay of Adjudication. That means you the accused did pled guilty to the offense, but the judge did not accept the plea.  And, the case was dismissed after one year of law-abiding behavior. Alas, that same person then fills out an application for a new job, and the employer runs a full background check. Because your case was dismissed, you are confident that there will be no issues. However, the potential employer sees that you were even charged ... and worries that you may be more trouble than you’re worth. After all, they don’t know you. They just want to protect themselves from anyone who may hurt their ability to run a successful business. Will they take a chance on you still? Maybe. But why leave it to chance?


Minnesota’s expungement laws afford most individuals the right to ask the court to completely seal their record and ensure that no one finds out about passed wrong doing.  If you had a case that was dismissed, the State generally bears the burden of proving that the government’s interest in maintaining your record outweighs any benefit you’d receive in having your record sealed. Because there is often little or no public interest in maintaining the record of a dismissed charge, they are seldom able to meet this burden. 

If you were charged with a crime and your case was dismissed, it just makes sense to look into Expungement. The Rolloff Law Office has helped 100s of people  seal their criminal records. Contact us today to learn more: (612) 234-1165

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