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Clearing Your Criminal Record Through Expungement

Curious how to seal your Minnesota criminal record? Contact MGM Law Office for a free initial consultation at 612-474-5568.

If you were charged criminally but were never found guilty, you still may have a criminal record that appears on a criminal background check. If so, seeking an expungement may be in your best interest. This process can be complicated. However, seeking the advice of a Maple Grove expungement attorney can be beneficial to assist you throughout the process.

What Is An Expungement?

An expungement is a process by which the court can seal a person’s criminal records. For example, you were charged criminally in a matter from Champlin, Minnesota, and the case was never adjudicated. In fact, the case was eventually dismissed by the state of Minnesota. However, you have been applying for a new job and the potential employer is questioning why you have a criminal charge stemming from Champlin, Minnesota, on your background check. In this case, you may seek a court order sealing your criminal records and prohibiting disclosure of their existence or their opening except under court order or statutory authority.

What Does This Mean For You When Seeking The Expungement Court Order?

If your request for expungement is granted by the court, then your criminal record will not be available to the general public. An expungement does not mean that your criminal records are destroyed or that a law enforcement agency, prosecution or correctional authority may not be able to access the record in the future.

How Do I Qualify For An Expungement In Minnesota?

Minnesota has established two primary methods for seeking a court order to seal criminal records.

  1. Minnesota Statute Chapter 609A provides that an individual may seek an expungement of criminal records if:
    • the charges were dismissed, you were found not guilty, or the case did not otherwise result in a conviction
    • you were charged with certain controlled substance offenses and the proceedings have been dismissed and discharged
    • you were a juvenile prosecuted as an adult
    • the Board of Pardons has granted you a pardon extraordinary
  2. The court may exercise its inherent authority and issue a court order sealing your criminal records.
    • The court typically is reluctant to exercise this authority and usually only does so for lower level crimes. In addition, the court must be persuaded that the individual seeking the expungement has undergone rehabilitation and that the benefit of the expungement outweighs the disadvantage to the public and the burden on the court.

Other Important Information To Consider Before Seeking An Expungement In Minnesota

  1. An order expunging (sealing) a conviction may provide only for expungement of the record held by state courts and may not expunge records held by state or local law enforcement and prosecution agencies.
  2. The process can take several months and will require the preparation of documents, filing a petition with the court, provide a copy of a document(s) to all relevant agencies, and personally attend a court hearing.
  3. You should also anticipate a filing fee in the county that you will be seeking the court order. Filing fees vary by each county and are generally several hundred dollars. Please note that you may qualify for a fee waiver. This is commonly referred to as an In Forma Pauperis request.
  4. Remember, even if you are successful, old information held by outside entities will not instantly vanish as a Minnesota court order may not persuade an out-of-state private organization to seal your information (e.g., the internet holds massive amounts of old information).

The expungement process is often complex and confusing. It’s essential to work with an experienced criminal defense and expungement attorney who can advise and work with you through the process. If you are considering an expungement (sealing) of your criminal record in Minnesota or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact MGM Law Office for a free initial consultation at 612-474-5568.