Expungement of Criminal Charges & Non-Convictions in Minnesota

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Ryan Pacyga Criminal Law

333 South Seventh Street, Suite 2850

Minneapolis, MN 55402

(612) 339-5844

  1. Expungement of Certain Controlled Substance Offenses in Minnesota Under Chapter 609A.02, Subd. 1, and Minn. Stat. § 152.18 (Discharge & Dismissal);
  2. Expungement of Juveniles Prosecuted as Adults in Minnesota Under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, Subd. 2;
  3. Expungement of Certain Criminal Proceedings Not Resulting in Conviction in Minnesota Under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, Subd. 3;
  4. Expungement of Records Relating to Identification Data and Information held by Minnesota Law Enforcement Under Minn. Stat. § 299C.11;
  5. Expungement of Criminal Convictions Under Minnesota Law and Inherent Judicial Authority

In this section, we will discuss number three, Expungement of Certain Criminal Proceedings Under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, Subd. 3.

The new Second Chance Law now allows for an expungement of your criminal record, even when the record is of a criminal conviction. And now, this expungement extends to the criminal record held by multiple government agencies, including the Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions and Dept. of Human Services. Different burdens of proof and waiting periods apply to the different types of dispositions to the underlying criminal matter.

Resolved in Favor of the Petitioner – A resolution in favor of the petitioner is when the disposition did not require any finding or acknowledgement of guilt. Essentially, this means that the petitioner got an acquittal at trial, had the case dismissed, or reached a negotiated agreement that did not require any acknowledgement of facts on that record that would be sufficient to find him or her guilty (e.g. a continuance for dismissal or completing a diversion program without pleading guilty). In this instance, the petitioner does not have to pay a filing fee and the state bears the burden of proving why the interests of the public and public safety outweigh the disadvantage to the petitioner in not having the criminal record sealed. Minn. Stat. § 609A.03, subd. 5(b).

Stay of Adjudication or Competed a Diversion Program – If the petitioner received a stay of adjudication or successfully completed the terms of a diversion program, the petitioner may file the expungement petition after one year if they have not been charged with a new crime in the interim. Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(a)(2). In addition, the State bears the burden of proof. Minn. Stat. § 609A.03, subd. 5(b).

Petty Misdemeanor or Misdemeanor Convictions – There is a two-year waiting period for petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor convictions. This waiting period commences after the petitioner being discharged from the sentence. And the petitioner may not be convicted of a new crime during the two years preceding filing his or her petition. For all petitions when there was a conviction, the petitioner bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the benefit to them in having the criminal record sealed is commensurate with the disadvantages to the public and public safety in not having access to the criminal record. Minn. Stat. § 609A.03, subd. 5(a).

Gross Misdemeanor Convictions – There is a four-year waiting period after the petitioner is discharged from their sentence and the petitioner may not be convicted of another crime.

Felonies – If the petitioner was convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a felony violation of specifically enumerated felony crime and they have not been convicted for at least five years since discharge from the sentence, then the petitioner may seek an expungement. Minn. Stat. § 609A.03, subd. 3(b) lists out in excess of 50 specific felony offenses which may be expunged.

Of note, this new law does not yet permit expungements of criminal records for convictions of domestic abuse or sexual assault crimes. Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(c). This exclusion of domestic abuse and sexual assault crimes has a sunset provision of July 15, 2015 – meaning, if the legislature does not modify this provision, it will expire on July 15, 2015 and petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and gross misdemeanor convictions for these crimes may be expunged.

Courts will look at 12 factors in analyzing whether to grant an expungement:

  1. The nature and severity of the underlying crime;
  2. The risk you pose to the public;
  3. The length of time since the crime;
  4. What rehabilitation steps you have taken, if any since the crime;
  5. Whether there are any aggravating or mitigating factors of the underlying crime, such as your level of participation, the context, and surrounding circumstances;
  6. The reasons you need an expungement, including your attempts to obtain employment, housing or other necessities;
  7. Your entire criminal history;
  8. Your employment record and community involvement;
  9. Any recommendations from the State and its agencies;
  10. Any victim input;
  11. Whether there is any outstanding restitution and what efforts you have made to pay it in full; and
  12. Other relevant factors.

The most important factors for a petitioner to develop are numbers 4, 6, and 8. The petitioner needs to be able to show some detriment that the criminal record is having on their ability to obtain employment, housing, schooling, etc. And the petitioner should then explain how they’ve bettered themselves since the crime and why they deserve the expungement. An experienced Minneapolis expungement attorney can help the petitioner build and develop their case by recommending certain actions be taken by the petitioner in advance of filing their petition in order to better account for the 12-factors.

How Much Does It Cost?

An expungement is not cheap, but it offers you a second chance that you deserve. You can expect to pay $2,000 or more, without any guarantee of results.