When you obtain an expungement, all of the official details of your case – including your arrest, trial and conviction – will be removed by the court and will be hidden from the public. An expungement will help you restore the legal status that you maintained before your arrest and conviction.
Below, you will find answers to the most common questions regarding expungements in Minnesota.
What is an expungement?
An expungement is the sealing of criminal records so that the public will not be able to view public criminal information about you.
There are two types of expungement:
1) Statutory Expungement
2) Inherent Authority Expungement.
If a person is eligible for a statutory expungement the court will order that all records involved in the criminal case shall be sealed. If a person qualifies for an inherent authority expungement a court can order that it’s own records be sealed and may order records that others agencies have also be sealed.
What type of expungement do I qualify for?
If a criminal matter was resolved in the defendant’s favor, (you did not plead guilty, the charges were dropped, you were acquitted after a trial or successfully completed a diversion program), you would be able to petition for a statutory expungement. Generally, if you entered guilty plea, received a stay of adjudication or stayed sentence you would be eligible to petition for an inherent authority expungement.
What type of records are expunged?
In a case where all the proceedings were resolved in the defendant’s favor, a court would order that all records relating to the matter be sealed. These records could consist of police reports of an arrest and investigation, court records, prosecutor records, records held by another state agency like the Department of Human Services and even records held by other law enforcement agencies like the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
In cases involving an inherent authority expungement a court can order that their own judicial records be sealed. Under the new law, under certain circumstances, the courts if they choose, also have the power to order the police reports of an arrest and investigation, prosecutor records, records held by another state agency like the Department of Human Services and even records held by other law enforcement agencies like the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) be sealed.
What types of criminal cases can be expunged?
For any case that was resolved in the defendant’s favor an expungement of all records would be available.
If the matter was not resolved in the defendant’s favor there are certain crimes where expungement is not available. As each case is different, it is best to contact an expungment lawyer to discuss the specific facts of your case to determine if it would be possible to expunge your records.
What are the benefits of getting my records expunged?
Employers and landlords very often, if not always, conduct background checks on individuals applying for work or housing. Often times having a criminal record can keep a person from obtaining employment or even obtaining decent housing. If you are granted an expungement, the records which could prevent you from obtaining employment or housing will not be viewable to the person seeking information on you.
Another benefit of expunging criminal records is that when you are filling out an application for employment or housing and you get to the inevitable question, “have you ever been convicted of a crime?”, having had your records expunged allows you to anwer that question with a “NO”.