You served your time and are ready to get on with your life, but your criminal record may be standing in your way. Criminal histories can be an obstacle to furthering your education, securing meaningful employment, obtaining loans, and achieving professional licenses.
By guiding you through the application process, an Edina expungement lawyer could help you get the second chance that you deserve. Reach out to a dedicated criminal attorney today to discuss your eligibility for sealing your record.
The record of any contact with the criminal justice system (e.g., investigations, arrests, indictments, convictions, any interaction that generates paperwork) stays in a person’s file permanently unless they take action. Many people mistakenly believe that they can wipe these records clean and make it seem as if the incident never occurred, but the law does not give courts or anyone else this power.
Under Minnesota Statutes § 609A.01-.04, expungement allows certain offenders and others with past contact with the criminal justice system to seal their records so the information will not show up in background checks. Records are not destroyed nor removed from a person’s file. Even if the court grants an expungement, law enforcement can still access this information for various purposes, such as subsequent criminal investigations and sentencings.
Whether a person may obtain an expungement depends on whether the resolution of their case was favorable or not. Edina attorneys familiar with state statutes could explain the expungement process and help individuals understand their likelihood of success.
The state distinguishes between entries suitable for expungement and those that must remain in a person’s file. The more serious the infraction, the less likely it is that a person may have that record sealed.
If a situation was resolved in favor of the suspect, the court will readily grant the petition to have the record sealed. Cases that resolve in the accused’s favor are acquittals, dismissal of charges, and exonerations post-conviction. Also included are investigation records that failed to lead to an arrest, indictment, or sentencing.
The application process is more complicated and the outcome more uncertain when an individual served a sentence. All misdemeanors, regardless of the level – petty through gross – are eligible for expungement if the individual meets specific criteria.
After completing their sentences, misdemeanor offenders must avoid any new charges for a specific number of years before applying for record expungement. State law assigns waiting periods of two years for petty misdemeanors and four years for gross misdemeanors. Individuals who complete diversionary programs only need to wait one year.
Those convicted of one of the felony crimes listed in Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(b) may petition the court if they maintain a clean record for five years after completing their sentences. Despite the broad scope of the felonies listed, the most severe crimes, such as murder and sexual offenses, are not included. State statutes explicitly prohibit those listed on the state’s sex offender registry from having such crimes sealed.
Individuals seeking expungement may find the application process overwhelming, and any misstep could cost them their second chance. By working with an attorney who regularly handles record sealing cases in Edina, former offenders could increase their chances of success.
If you have accepted responsibility for your mistake and are ready to move your life in a positive direction. Sealing your record is a step that could greatly impact your quality of life, opening opportunities for housing, employment, and more. Schedule a consultation with an Edina expungement lawyer to determine if you may be eligible to seal your record. Call us today to discuss your case with our knowledgeable legal team.