To get your criminal records expunged in Minnesota, you have to qualify for statutory expungement, although there is a workaround, thanks to the inherent authority expungement. The grounds upon which your BCA records may be sealed, as outlined in Minnesota Statute § 609A.02, are as follows.
Statutory Grounds For Expungement
- If the judgment was in your favor: for instance, if a not guilty verdict or a dismissal was issued at the end of the proceedings, you will qualify for statutory expungement. Court cases in which you never admitted your guilt will also qualify you for an expungement.
- You can secure an expungement if you had been accused of a petty misdemeanor and you were able to stay for two years without a conviction for a fresh crime.
- In the case of a gross misdemeanor, you need to have stayed for at least four years without a conviction for a new crime to get your previous record expunged.
- Minnesota lists 50 felonies that can qualify for an expungement if you have managed to avoid conviction for a new crime for at least five years.
- Another way to qualify for an expungement is if you were convicted as a juvenile and are currently facing prosecution after reaching adulthood.
- The dismissal from diversion programs for particular drug possession crimes can qualify you for an expungement under Minnesota law.
- For Stays of Adjudications and Diversion, you can get your record expunged if you have gone for a year without committing a crime after completing your terms of stay or diversion as required.
Please note that the given timelines are the minimum time periods to be met before filing for expungement.
Other Ways To Secure an Expungement
In case you fail to qualify for any of the above grounds for expungement, you can always seek an inherent authority expungement. However, this form of expungement, even when successful, only seals district court records, while records such as those maintained by the BCA are not expunged.
Still, this form of expungement is worth a shot, as it shows that you needed, and otherwise deserved an expungement, even though the law barred you from enjoying the privilege. Additionally, by requesting other government agencies to make a note of your expungement from the district court, the potential harm of your criminal record can be reduced during background checks.
Some Controversies Regarding The Expungement Law
Determining the Minimum Period. Various jurisdictions within the state differ as to whether the expungement time should begin at the date a person is discharged from a sentence or from the date the expungement has been filed. So, those filing for expungement can expect that some state lawyers will argue in favor of one method over another if it is in their interest to do so.
Interpretation Of Crimes As Misdemeanors Or Felonies. There is also ambiguity in the way the courts interpret crimes. For example, what may be considered a misdemeanor in one courtroom might be considered a felony in another. As the grounds for expungement above indicate, there can be a world of difference between the two. For one, some felonies will not qualify for expungement.
The felonies that do qualify require a five-year wait, while misdemeanors, all of which qualify for expungement, can sometimes require just two years to qualify, and at most, four years of waiting. The real problem arises when what was initially ruled to be a felony could also be considered a misdemeanor when certain conditions are met after the ruling. In that case, your attorney would need to prepare an argument that would favor your success in the expungement case.