A criminal record can have severe and potentially lasting consequences that detrimentally affect your personal and professional life. Fortunately, there is a way to clear your record by going through a process called expungement.
If you are seeking to expunge a criminal charge or conviction from your record, you may be able to do so successfully with the assistance of a licensed attorney. An experienced Hennepin County expungement lawyer could advise you of your legal options and work to protect your future.
Expungement requires an individual to submit a formal request to a judge to have the records in a criminal court case sealed. These records would then be unavailable to the general public. Typically, an individual requests expungement when their criminal history has an adverse impact on their life. For example, someone may be denied housing, a job, or a professional license due to their criminal record.
A person’s eligibility for expungement depends on the type of criminal offense on their record or the amount of time that has passed since they were first charged or convicted. Anyone seeking to clear a charge from their criminal record should first consult a local lawyer to determine whether an expungement may be viable.
The expungement process in Hennepin County is governed by two of the state’s laws, §§ 299C.11 and 609A of the Minnesota Code. The remedy each law provides varies greatly, so a defendant must seek the expungement of a criminal record in accordance with the appropriate statute.
Under Minn. Code § 299C.11, a person may get arrest records expunged if they are not convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor within ten years preceding their arrest and if the prosecution dropped or declined to pursue the charges.
In these cases, a petitioner may submit a request to have their arrest records destroyed to the law enforcement agency directly or ask a court to destroy the records by way of an expungement proceeding. For those who are convicted of certain crimes, however, a request for expungement of a record must be made under Minn. Code § 609A, which only seals the record from public disclosure, but does not allow for the destruction of records. Law enforcement or other government agencies may still have access to sealed records in certain situations.
Expungement of a person’s criminal record can provide significant benefits in a convicted person’s life. It may open professional or housing opportunities that were previously unavailable. However, the process to expunge a criminal charge or conviction can be an arduous task to undertake, and in some cases, it may not be a feasible possibility.
If you want to have a charge or conviction removed from your record by way of expungement, you should engage the services of a licensed attorney before submitting a request. To determine whether a criminal charge or conviction may be expunged from your record, call a Hennepin County expungement lawyer today.