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Expungement of A Conviction

If you are convicted of a crime in Minnesota, that conviction will be on your record for the rest of your life. That means that whenever you apply for jobs or housing, you could be asked about it. In some cases it can be a barrier for new jobs, or take away the ability to rise in one’s field. This can have a huge impact on the course of your life.

There is a way to try and fix this problem. You can request that the court expunge that conviction from your record. In Minnesota, an expungement does not completely erase the record. However, it seals it from public view. This means that anyone doing a criminal records search in Minnesota would not be able to see the conviction. 

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for an expungement in Minnesota. Those elements differ, depending on the severity of the crime:

Petty Misdemeanor & Misdemeanor Expungement

Much like misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors can also be expunged in Minnesota. Because gross misdemeanor charges are more serious, it takes a little more time. Rather than two years, you must wait 4 years from the time you get off of probation to file for an expungement of a gross misdemeanor charge. Just like with misdemeanors, you cannot be convicted of a new crime during that 4 year period prior to filing for the expungement.

Gross Misdemeanor Expungement ​

You can request to have a misdemeanor conviction expunged in Minnesota once you have been off of probation for two years. During the two years prior to filing for the expungement, you cannot have been convicted of a new crime. So if you are off probation for 23 months and you are convicted of a new crime, the clock would reset and you would need to wait another two years in order to be able to apply for an expungement.

Felony Expungement

Certain felony offenses can be expunged from your record in Minnesota. However, unlike misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges, not all felonies can be expunged. Minnesota law outlines 50 specific felony offenses that are eligible for expungement. If you are convicted of a felony crime that is not listed, you cannot get it expunged. As is the case with misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges, there is also a period of time that needs to pass in order to be eligible. For felony convictions you must be off of probation for 5 years and you cannot have any new criminal convictions in the 5 year period prior to filing for the expungement.

Other Circumstances

There are two other circumstances where an individual can get a criminal record expunged in Minnesota. If the case was resolved in favor of the defendant. This would mean that the charges were dismissed due to a legal issue, a verdict of not guilty, or if the prosecutor simply ended up dismissing the charges. The other situation is when an individual has entered and successfully completed a diversion program or a stay of adjudication. In the latter situation, you must have completed diversion or the stay of adjudication at least one year prior to filing for the expungement, and cannot have any criminal convictions during the one year prior to filing for the expungement. 

The above information outlines when an individual is eligible to file for an expungement. However, just because you are eligible does not automatically mean that the expungement will be granted. For a judge to grant an expungement, they have to find that the benefit to the defendant is commensurate with the disadvantage to the public and public safety of sealing the record. So if the benefit to the defendant is equal to the disadvantage to the public, the expungement should be granted. 

When deciding whether to grant an expungement, there are twelve factors that the court needs to consider. You cannot just get an expungement because you simply do not want the conviction on your record anymore. 

An expungement petition is a very complicated legal document. Not only do you have to put the correct information in it, you also need to make sure that the petition is served to the correct state agencies. If it is not, the petition will either be dismissed, or that agency will not be required to seal your record. It is imperative that everything is done correctly. If you are in need of an expungement, you need an experienced expungement lawyer in your corner. Cody M. Wright has successfully filed and argued many expungements in his career. If you or a loved one needs an expungement, contact Cody Wright today for a free, confidential, consultation.

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