In Minnesota, some individuals charged with or convicted of certain sex crimes may be able to get their criminal records expunged. However, to have a sex crime expunged, individuals will need to meet certain criteria.
How Expungement Works
One common misconception regarding expungement is that it involves destroying criminal records. When records are expunged, they are not destroyed but are instead concealed from the public record, preventing employers and others from viewing these records when performing a criminal background check.
Some low-level felonies and petty crimes can be expunged, including some types of sex crimes, but only under certain conditions.
In cases involving sex crimes that can be expunged, individuals will need to prove that the advantages of expunging the crime outweigh the disadvantages to the public if criminal records are sealed.
What Crimes Can and Can’t Be Expunged?
Certain types of crimes may be expunged in some cases, including cases where charges are dismissed, the court decides the defendant isn’t guilty of the offense, the defendant was involved in the court’s diversion program and chose not to plead guilty, or the defendant entered a guilty plea while the court entered a stay of adjudication or imposition.
On the other hand, some crimes won’t be eligible to be expunged in Minnesota. These crimes may include domestic violence criminal convictions, murder convictions, aggravated assault convictions, and any sex crime conviction that requires the defendant to register on the Minnesota sex offender list. In these cases, convictions will remain on the individual’s permanent criminal record, except for cases in which the defendant files a motion to appeal the criminal conviction and wins the appeal.
Even if an individual initially qualifies for expungement for a crime, he or she may be ineligible if additional charges are incurred or the person is convicted of a new crime following adjudication, court diversion programs, or sentencing.
How to Get a Sex Crime Expunged in Minnesota
If a defendant wishes to have a sex crime or another eligible crime expunged, they will need to follow certain steps, including determining that their case and crime are eligible for expungement, and filling out a Proposed Order to Expunge Criminal Records form.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch details additional steps for having criminal records expunged.