Expungement in Minnesota

Minnesota has made it easier to expunge criminal records so that individuals can move forward with their lives. The courts may agree to expunge an individual’s record if certain conditions are met.

Qualifying for Expungement

  • A judgment was issued in the individual’s favor — for example, a not guilty verdict or a dismissal. All court cases where an individual has not admitted guilt also qualify for expungement.
  • Petty misdemeanors may be expunged following a two-year period without a conviction for another crime.
  • Gross misdemeanors may be expunged following a four-year period without a conviction for another crime.
  • Dismissal from court-ordered diversion programs for drug possession.
  • Stays of Adjudications or diversion if the individual has gone for 12 months or longer without a subsequent conviction or violating the terms of the stay or diversion.

In all cases, a request for expunging a criminal record can only be initiated after the requisite time periods.

Limitations of Expungement Orders

Minnesota has granted criminal justice agencies the authority to use, open, or transfer sealed records without court order. This allows these agencies to investigate, prosecute, or sentence individuals. In cases where the individual was acquitted or the case was dismissed, these agencies must acquire an ex parte court order prior to accessing the record.

Qualifying Felonies

Certain low-level, non-violent crimes qualify for expungement. More than fifty felonies are eligible, including the sale of simulated controlled substances, fifth-degree substance possession, theft of $5,000 or less, and receiving stolen goods. Other offenses eligible for expungement include forgery, willful evasion of fuel tax, gambling, failure to appear, possession or sale of stolen goods, and embezzlement of public funds less than $2,500.

Reasons to Seek Expungement

There are many reasons for seeking an expungement of a criminal record. These reasons include:

  • Obtaining housing
  • Securing employment
  • Acquiring credit
  • Pursuing professional licensure
  • Pursuing higher education
  • Purchasing a home

Because these common activities can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, it is worth discussing the possibility of expungement with a Minneapolis felony lawyer. The process involves paying filing fees of $325, petitioning the court for expungement, and waiting for the court to go through the two-month appeal period. The process can take 5 to 6 months to complete, so it is best to start the process as soon as possible. Doing so can make it easier to move forward.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.