EXPUNGING CONVICITONS IN MINNESOTA
You Don't Always Need to Be Looked At As Guilty
Having a criminal record in Minnesota makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting the job you want, obtaining housing, getting professional licenses, legally owning a firearm, qualifying for government programs, receiving student loans, and many other opportunities which would otherwise be available to you.
When you’re with a crime in Minnesota, no matter the level of offense, the complete criminal record history for the offender is kept by courts, law enforcement, prosecutors, and certain state agencies such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Information relating to the arrest and many court proceedings are generally publicly available.
Minnesota’s BCA maintains criminal records for the state in an online record of cases including both public and private records. Public records can be accessed by potential employers or landlords, having a different influence on the opportunities afforded to past offenders.
Fortunately, Minnesota State law permits the full expungement of convictions, including almost all misdemeanors and certain felony convictions. If granted, the court can issue an expungement order to seal all court records – records at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, arresting agencies, and other criminal justice agencies.
Our law firm has helped thousands of clients deal with criminal records of every kind, and we hear success stories from them often. If a conviction in Minnesota is holding you back in life, keep reading to see what you can do about it.
This Information Is For You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Can You Expunge Your Conviction?
You may qualify to expunge a conviction from your Minnesota criminal record under Minn. Stat.609A.01 when the following general requirements are met:
You must not have any current pending criminal matters or be on probation;
The conviction you’re seeking to expunge cannot have required you to register as a Sex Offender;
You must wait the applicable waiting period, which depends on the level of offense and is discussed in more detail below; and
If you’re seeking to expunge a felony, the offense must be a qualifying felony listed below.
- Ineligible Offenses, that Cannot Be Expungedexpand_more
Criminal records for cases requiring registration as a sex offender may not be expunged, even if you no longer required to so.
It should also be noted that, in March of 2017, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that, under the same statute (609A.02), deferred sentencing reductions to misdemeanors do not apply for the purposes of expungement eligibility, and the offense will be considered at its original level, State v. S.A.M. (Minn. 2017).
- How Long Do You Need To Wait to Expunge Your Record?expand_more
Minnesota law requires that you wait a number of years since you were discharged from the sentence of the crime you’re seeking to expunge. The amount of time you will need to wait depends on the level of offense you want to expunge. To figure out how long you’ll need to wait to expunge you conviction, please refer to this list:
If you were convicted of a petty misdemeanor, you cannot have been convicted of a new crime for at least two (2) years since discharge of the sentence;
If you were convicted of a gross misdemeanor, you cannot have been convicted of a new crime for at least four (4) years since discharge of the sentence; or
If were convicted of a felony, you cannot have not been convicted of a new crime for at least five (5) years since discharge of the sentence.
It’s important to consider your relevant conviction-free waiting periods. Following the Minnesota Court of Appeals holding in State v. C.W.N., the two- and four-year waiting periods for petty and gross misdemeanors, respectively, apply retroactively. Simply put, on the day your petition for expungement is filed, you must be conviction free within the previous two or four years from that exact date.
- Elligible Offenses that Can Be Expungedexpand_more
Under Minnesota law, certain felonies are eligible for the expungement of their records. These felonies are outlined in Minnesota Statute § 609A.02. If the petitioner was convicted of one of the following felonies and has remained conviction-free for the previous five years, then he or she will be eligible for an expungement.Felony Drug Crimes
Controlled substance in the fifth degree (Minn. Stat.152.025)
Sale of simulated controlled substance (Minn. Stat. 152.097)
Criminal damage to property (Minn. Stat. 609.595, subdivision 1, clauses (3) to (5), and subdivision 1a, paragraph (a))
- Contempt, Coercion, or Failure to Appear
Accident resulting in great bodily harm (Minn. Stat. 169.09, subdivision 14, paragraph (a), clause (2)
Contempt (Minn. Stat. 588.20)
Failure to appear in court (Minn. Stat. 609.49)
Coercion (Minn. Stat. 609.27, subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (5))
Discharge of firearm; silencer (Minn. Stat. 609.66, subdivision 1a, paragraph (a))
Furnishing firearm to minor (Minn. Stat. 609.66, subdivision 1b)
Transfer pistol to minor (Minn. Stat. 624.7132, subdivision 15, paragraph (b))
Pistol without permit; subsequent violation (Minn. Stat. 624.714, subdivision 1a)
Transfer of pistol to ineligible person (Minn. Stat. 624.7141, subdivision 2)
Rifle or shotgun in public by minor (Minn. Stat. 624.7181)
Theft of $1,000 or less with risk of bodily harm (Minn. Stat. 609.52, subdivision 3a, clause (1))
Theft of $5,000 or less, or other theft offense sentenced under this provision (Minn. Stat. 609.52, subdivision 3, clause (3)(a))
Aggravated forgery (Minn. Stat. 609.625)
Forgery (Minn. Stat. 609.63)
Fraudulent statements (Minn. Stat. 609.645)
Receiving stolen goods (Minn. Stat. 609.53)
Financial transaction card fraud (Minn. Stat. 609.821, subdivision 2)
Check forgery $2,500 or less (Minn. Stat. 609.631, subdivision 4, clause (3)(a))
Dishonored check over $500 (Minn. Stat. 609.535, subdivision 2a, paragraph (a), clause (1))
Bringing stolen goods into state (Minn. Stat. 609.525)
Embezzlement of public funds $2,500 or less (Minn. Stat. 609.54, clause (1))
False declaration in assistance application (Minn. Stat. 256.984)
Certificate of title false information (Minn. Stat. 168A.30, subdivision 1)
Residential mortgage fraud (Minn. Stat. 609.822)
Obtaining signature by false pretense (Minn. Stat. 609.635)
Recording, filing forged instrument (Minn. Stat. 609.64)
Computer damage (Minn. Stat. 609.88)
Computer theft (Minn. Stat. 609.89)
Telecommunications and information services fraud (Minn. Stat. 609.893, subdivision 2)
Counterfeited intellectual property (Minn. Stat. 609.895, subdivision 3, paragraph (a) or (b))
Movie pirating (Minn. Stat. 609.896)
False certification by notary (Minn. Stat. 609.65, clause (1))
Lottery fraud (Minn. Stat. 609.651, subdivision 4, paragraph (a))
Fraudulent driver's license and identification card (Minn. Stat. 609.652)
Leaving state to evade establishment of paternity (Minn. Stat. 609.31)
Willful evasion of fuel tax (Minn. Stat. 296A.23, subdivision 2)
Failure to affix stamp on scheduled substances (Minn. Stat. 297D.09, subdivision 1)
Liquor taxation (Minn. Stat. 297G.19)
Interference with privacy; subsequent violation or minor victim (Minn. Stat. 609.746, subdivision 1, paragraph (e))
Duty to render aid (Minn. Stat. 609.662, subdivision 2, paragraph (b))
Unlawful acts involving liquor (Minn. Stat. 340A.701)
Wildfire arson (Minn. Stat. 609.5641, subdivision 1a, paragraph (a))
Negligent fires (Minn. Stat. 609.576, subdivision 1, clause (3), item (iii))
Insurance regulations (Minn. Stat. 62A.41)
Certification for title on watercraft (Minn. Stat. 86B.865, subdivision 1)
Altering livestock certificate (Minn. Stat. 35.824)
Interference with cable communications system (Minn. Stat. 609.80, subdivision 2)
Escape from civil commitment for mental illness (Minn. Stat. 609.485, subdivision 4, paragraph (a), clause (2) or (4))
Failure to control regulated animal (Minn. Stat. 346.155, subdivision 10)
Tampering with fire alarm (Minn. Stat. 609.686, subdivision 2)
Precious metal dealers (Minn. Stat. 325F.743)
Bribery of participant or official in contest (Minn. Stat. 609.825, subdivision 2)
Prize notices and solicitations (Minn. Stat. 325F.755, subdivision 7)
Metal dealer receiving stolen goods (Minn. Stat. 609.526, subdivision 2, clause (2));
Interference with transit operator (Minn. Stat. 609.855, subdivision 2, paragraph (c), clause (1))
Assaulting or harming police horse (Minn. Stat. 609.597, subdivision 3, clause (3))
Rustling and livestock theft (Minn. Stat. 609.551)
- Expungements are Decided on a Case by Case Basisexpand_more
Qualifying for expungement by meeting the requirements does not automatically mean that your petition will be granted. In fact, the process is heavily discretionary. In addition to meeting the above requirements, you need to convince a judge that granting your petition is in better public interest than letting the public access them.In making this determination, a judge will typically weigh factors such as:
The length of time since the crime was committed;
Your complete criminal record;
The nature of the crime and its seriousness;
Your reasons for seeking expungement (e.g., employment, housing, etc.);
Any risk you may pose to society or specific persons;
Your employment record and community involvement;
Recommendations from law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims;
Aggravating or mitigating factors relating to the underlying crime;
If there is any outstanding restitution, past efforts paying restitution, and any measures existing to ensure complete payment if the expungement is granted;
Steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself since the crime; and
Any other factors the court feels are relevant.
Legal Effect Of Expunging Your Minnesota Criminal Record
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each.
- Will Expunging Your Conviction Help You Get A Job?expand_more
Expungement is the best way to deal with a Minnesota criminal record if you need to pass a background check for a job. An expunged record is not destroyed by the court, but it is sealed by the court, making it unavailable to prospective employers, landlords, and the general public. Law enforcement may still access expunged records for investigating and prosecuting crimes, and they may also access expunged records for hiring purposes. The Board of Teaching may also access certain expunged records for employment purposes.
As is the case in other states, certain aspects of Minnesota’s expungement laws are discretionary. Even if you meet the requirements to have your conviction expunged, there is no guarantee that the judge will grant the order. Petitioners for expungement need to convince the judge that granting the expungement will be in the public interest, and that the public is not in need of access to your criminal records. Judges will consider several factors in making this determination, based on factors including, but not limited to the ones listed above.
The process of obtaining an expungement takes at least six months, so don’t wait until it’s too late and you need the expungement immediately. Starting the process as soon as possible is vital to ensuring that you do not miss out on job opportunities.
- Will Expunging Your Conviction Restore Your Gun Rights?expand_more
The expungement of a felony crime of violence does not restore your firearm rights in Minnesota. Under Minnesota law, an order expunging the record of a conviction for a crime of violence must provide that the person is not entitled to possess or receive a firearm. To restore your firearm rights, Minnesota law requires that you separately petition to restore your firearm rights under Minn. Stat. § 609.165. Further, Minnesota only permits your firearm rights to be restored if your firearm rights were taken away for a “crime of violence.” Note that a “crime of violence” includes drug-related convictions under chapter 152 of the Minnesota Statutes.
If you have a conviction for something other than a crime of violence, then your rights should be restored after an expungement in Minnesota. It is important to know just what’s on your record to determine whether your firearm rights have been list, or how they may be restored. For a list of crimes of violence in Minnesota, see Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subdivision 5.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Minnesota on our Minnesota Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.Some of the Potential Benefits of Setting Aside Your Arrest Record in Minnesota Include:
Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job
Restoring your Second Amendment Rights to own a firearm
Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
We Are Here to Help
Each of Minnesota's methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Minnesota criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Minnesota criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Minnesota criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Minnesota state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!