Minnesota Expungements Lawyer

In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature made some sweeping changes to Minnesota’s Expungement Law, and made it much easier to expunge or seal certain records.

What is expungement? An expungement is a court-ordered sealing of an individual’s criminal record which may be maintained by the Courts and/or by a government Agency such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or the local police department. This 2nd group of records are called Executive Branch Records.

Specifically, with the new Expungement Law, for many Petty Misdemeanor and Misdemeanor Level records can now be sealed two years after the person has successfully completed all the terms of his probation and has been discharged from probation. This includes the Court record and the Executive Branch records! A non-public record is still maintained by the police, but typically employers and rental companies cannot see that record. It is for law enforcement purposes only.

The time period for:

  • Gross Misdemeanors – is 4 years after the person has been discharged from probation, and
  • Felony Offenses – it’s 5 years for many lower level felony level offenses. For these offenses, the Court now has the power to expunge or seal all records, including police department and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension records. The new expungement law identifies 50-plus low level, nonviolent felonies that can be expunged, such as: 5th degree controlled substance crime, and criminal damage to property to name just a few.

Note that for convictions involving more serious Felony-level convictions not on the list, the person seeking expungement can still request that the Court seal the Court’s records only based on the inherent power of the Courts. If that request is granted, then the person may seek a Pardon from the Pardon Board to seal police department and other executive branch records. For these offenses, expungement is a much longer process and, of course, making the request does not guarantee success. However, if you don’t make the request, you will never know for sure if the records can be sealed or not.

Also note that DWI are an exception and cannot be expunged until a much longer period of time has passed because there is a statute that requires that the Department of Public Safety maintain a permanent record of all DWI convictions.

The Expungement Process:

The Prosecutor and all agencies with records relating to the case must be served with the
A ) – Petition for Expungement and B ) – a Proposed Order and the Court filing fee typically must be paid to the Court unless the case was decided in favor of the Defendant. The paperwork must be served on all agencies, police departments, etc. at least 60 days plus 3 days mailing in advance of the Court Hearing on the Expungement!! The defendant seeking to expunge records must attend the hearing either by himself or with his attorney if he has hired one to argue the expungement in Court.

Why request an expungement?

Often expunging or sealing records is important because having even low level offenses on a person’s criminal record can significantly impact a person’s ability to get a job, advance in a career or EVEN rent an apartment.

More detailed information on Expungement can be obtained by viewing the Court’s website at: www.mncourts.gov and going to Criminal Expungement. Expungements are complicated and there is a lot of paperwork involved. Attorney Ohlenberg recommends that you hire an experienced attorney to assist with your expungement as it is just too much work to do this twice!!! If you have a case for which you would like to seal the records, please call Ohlenberg Law Office at 952-447-1600 to discuss the with Attorney Ohlenberg.

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