Everyone makes mistakes, but some of these mistakes leave more of a trace than others. If you have a criminal record, you know that it can make seeking housing, a job, or a loan even more difficult. In these cases, criminal expungement can help you get your life back to normal.
It’s important to remember that criminal record expungement does not destroy the record. These records are still accessible by officers of the law, the FBI, public officials, and immigration officers.
What criminal records can be expunged?
In Minnesota, some records are eligible for full expungement. This means that the court can order all documents related to the case to be sealed, as well as records held at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Most typically, cases that are eligible for full expungement are:
- Convictions for the first time someone was found to possess drugs
- Offenses committed by defendants who were juveniles, but were prosecuted in an adult court
- Court cases in which the defendant was found not guilty
In many cases, petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, or even gross misdemeanors are eligible for full expungement. Your case for full expungement will be stronger if it was your first offense, or your first conviction for any crime.
In most cases, felonies are not eligible for full expungement, but there are a few exceptions.
- If the defendant has completed the terms of a stay of adjudication or a diversion program, and has not been charged with a new crime for at least one year
- If the defendant received a stayed sentence for a qualifying felony and has not been charged with a new crime for at least five years.
In no case can the court allow expungement of records relating to a conviction of sexual assault or domestic abuse, violations of restraining orders or a criminal harassment conviction.