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What Does It Mean To Have A Criminal Record Expunged?


There are two types of expungements in Minnesota. There is an executive branch expungement and a judicial branch expungement. A judicial branch expungement only seals records held by the court. An executive branch expungement seals records held by other agencies, such as police departments, prosecuting offices, and the bureau of criminal apprehension. Getting a full expungement encompasses both the judicial branch as well as the executive branch organizations.

What Is The Difference Between Having A Record Expunged And Having A Record Sealed?

There is no difference between having a record expunged and having a record sealed. If your record has been expunged, it has simply been sealed.

Who Is Eligible To Have A Record Expunged?

Eligibility for expungement varies greatly in Minnesota. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, after a certain period of time you are eligible for an expungement. However, not all felonies are eligible. You should consult with an experienced attorney to determine if your case is eligible.

Are There Any Types Of Charges Or Convictions That Automatically Fall Off Or Expunged?

Juvenile records, if the person was 15 or younger, are not available to the public in general. If they were 16 or older, the records will be available to the public under certain circumstances. In adult criminal court, records remain public for 15 years after probation has expired.

What Are The Requirements To Get A Criminal Record Expunged?

In order to have a record expunged, you must submit a petition to the court, because ultimately it is the judge who makes that decision. A copy of the petition must be sent to the prosecuting office, police departments, the bureau of criminal apprehension, probation departments, and various other agencies. The petition needs to include information about what happened during the time of the offense, how long you have been on probation, if you have had any other criminal offenses, whether you have ever applied for any prior expungements, what you have done to rehabilitate yourself, and why the judge should not have to worry about you reoffending.

From that point, the judge will set a hearing and if there are objections from any of the agencies, they have to state their objections as to why they think the expungement should not be granted. The defendant then gets to speak about why the expungement should be granted. The judge makes the decision.

How Long Does The Expungement Process Typically Take?

The expungement process can take quite some time. From the time the petition is filed, the court will not schedule a hearing within 60 days, because that is the time all of the agencies have to respond. Once you have your hearing, the judge has an additional 30 days to make a decision. Once the judge issues a decision, there are 60 days before it becomes final. So, at a minimum, it takes six months to get an expungement completed in Minnesota.

Is There A Certain Waiting Period After A Charge Or Conviction To Apply To Get It Expunged?

Waiting periods vary between petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and felonies. For some offenses, you do not have to wait any amount of time once you are off probation to apply for expungement. For other offenses, you may have to wait several years after probation has expired to apply. For most felonies, it is five years after probation has expired when you can apply.

Why Would Someone’s Expungement Petition Be Denied?

One of the considerations the judge has to weigh is whether it benefits the public to be able to have access to this information. If the person has continued to commit offenses in the meantime, they may not be granted an expungement, because it is going to be very difficult to show that they have rehabilitated themselves.

If You Are Denied, Can You Appeal The Decision?

Any decision by a district court judge is appealable to the Court of Appeals.

What Are The Clear Benefits To Using An Experienced Attorney To Handle An Expungement?

It is beneficial to have an attorney to handle an expungement because you can make sure that you are covering all of the bases required by the law. It is then clear for the judge what the law is and why your case fits squarely into the parameters that have been established.

For more information on Getting A Criminal Case Expunged, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (800) 684-9740 today.

Jennifer Congdon, Esq.

Call For A Free Consultation (800) 684-9740