Getting your Minnesota criminal record expunged can be a complicated and slow process, but it doesn't have to be. That is why we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about record expungement. To see all of the record clearing options available in Minnesota, please visit our Minnesota record clearing page. If you would like to quickly and easily determine if your record is eligible to be expunged, please take our free eligibility test.
Simply click on a question to see its answer:
No, if your case is otherwise eligible for expungement, whether you pled guilty or no contest or were convicted after a trial does not matter.
We can help you obtain a copy of your records and review your history to determine if you are eligible for an expungement in Minnesota. We charge a fee for this research into your case(s), and we would apply that fee to the expungement if you are eligible to move forward with any of our services.
The court looks at each case individually to determine whether you are eligible to expunge that particular case. Having multiple convictions does not necessarily make you ineligible for an expungement; however, the judge can look at your entire criminal history to determine whether granting you an expungement is in the interest of justice.
You can only have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor in Minnesota if the sentence that was actually imposed for that felony conviction was a sentence for a gross misdemeanor (not more than $3000 fine) or misdemeanor (not more than 90 days jail or fine of $1000). Minnesota Statutes 609.13
Minnesota expungements can be denied if (1) there was an inaccuracy in the court file and/or the application, (2) the judge does not believe expungement is in the interest of society or (3) the case is otherwise not eligible for an expungement.
Yes; arrests and convictions are eligible for expungement in Minnesota, as long as the other requirements are met.
We do not handle federal cases. Only certain federal cases are eligible be expunged.
A person can petition to expunge a case in these circumstances:
1. If the person had the case dismissed under section 152.18(1) for a violation of section 152.024, 152.025, or 152.027 for the possession of a controlled substance. (609A.02(1))
2. If the case was resolved in the person's favor. This means that the case was dismissed against you or you completed a diversion program without first entering a plea of guilty or not guilty by reason of mental illness. (609A.02(3) and State v. Horner, 617 N.W.2d 452 (Minn.App. 2000)) 3. If you successfully completed a diversion program or stay of adjudication and have not been charged with a new crime for at least one year since completion of the diversion program or stay of adjudication.
4. If you were convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and have not been convicted of a new crime for at least two years since discharge from the sentence.
5. If you were convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a gross misdemeanor and have not been convicted of a new crime for at least four years since discharge from the sentence.
6. If you were convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a felony violation of a listed offense and have not been convicted of a new crime for at least five years since discharge from the sentence. (609A.02(3)) 7. In any other case, the court has the inherent authority to expunge the case if the court finds that the benefit to the person does not commensurate with the disadvantage to the public by not having the record public. (State v. Schultz, 676 N.W.2d 337)
No, typically you will not need to go to court for your expungement, because we will attend the hearing for you. If the judge requests you attend and you cannot be there, then we will ask the court to excuse your presence and allow us to represent you at the hearing.
The Minnesota expungement process can take six to nine months. The government is given an opportunity to respond to the petition once it is filed; and then if the government objects, the court will typically schedule a hearing. The length of an individual case can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the individual, as well as the case load of the court at the time.
We work to get cases filed as quickly as we can, but the courts work on cases in the order they are received. Therefore, the sooner the process is started, the sooner the process will be completed. If it would be helpful for you, we will write a letter to your employer or potential employer to let them know we are in the process of having your case expunged.
You can legally deny that your arrest and/or conviction ever existed. The records of your expunged case will be sealed and the general public will not be able to view your case.
However, the records of the arrest/charge are not completely destroyed. The records can still be opened and inspected under very limited circumstances in the future, such as whenever you apply for a job with a criminal justice agency, or for sentencing purposes if you ever commit any future offenses. 609A.03(7) & (7a)
NOTE: If your case was sealed under the inherent authority of the court or prior to January 2015, certain executive branch records, such as those maintained by the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, will not be sealed.
If the judge denies your expungement, we will determine why it was denied and evaluate the best way to proceed. This could include refiling immediately or waiting longer to refile the petition. For some services, we offer a money-back guarantee if your case is denied.
Yes, but only under very limited circumstances. The records can be reopened if there is a subsequent criminal investigation or prosecution, or to evaluate you as a prospective employee of a criminal justice agency.
Once an arrest or conviction has been expunged, you can deny the existence of your record. 609A.03(5)
An expungement of non-convictions seals the records of the arrest/charge from all agencies, including state agencies. However, criminal justice agencies have wide discretion to use sealed records for certain purposes. An expungement of a conviction will seal the court records and the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension records. Thus, most state licensing agencies will not ever find out about the case, and you can deny the existence of the case on any employment or licensing question. Note that the Board of Teaching or the licensing division of the Department of Education can still gain access to expunged records unless the court specifically directs the expungement to them. Furthermore, if you received the expungement pursuant to the court’s inherent authority or prior to January 2015, it will not seal the records maintained by the BCA or other criminal justice agencies. Remember, you will have proof of the expungement and may produce it, should the expungement or conviction come into question. This will certainly increase your chances of success. 609A.03(7a)
Yes. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension does not seal, return, or destroy any DNA samples or DNA records. 609A.03(7)
Furthermore, if the case is expunged under the inherent authority of the court or was granted prior to January 2015, the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is not required to expunge/seal your record and only the court records will be expunged.
Yes. For a dismissed case, your criminal history will still show the arrest and will indicate that the charge was dismissed. Until the case is expunged, the public can continue to know about the arrest/charge even if you were not convicted. 609A.03(5)
No. Offenses for which registration is required under section 243.166 may not be expunged. (MN Statute 609A.02)
The Canadian government has access to the same information the United States has on file. The best thing to do is expunge your case(s) if possible before submitting to the check to cross the border. While it is possible Canada will still be able to see records of your case, an expungement will greatly improve the odds of being granted entry to Canada.
In Minnesota, your voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of your sentence. Minnesota Statutes 609.165(1)
To find out if an expungement will affect your immigration case, contact a qualified immigration attorney. We have an in-house immigration attorney, who is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.
No. There is a separate procedure to get your gun rights restored. An expungement will not automatically restore your gun rights. Please view the information on restoring firearm rights.
In Minnesota, you may serve on a jury if you: 1) are a United States citizen, 2) a resident of the county from which you receive a summons, 3) are at least eighteen years of age, 4) are able to communicate in the English language, 5) are physically and mentally capable of serving, 6) have had your civil rights restored to you after being convicted of a felony, 7) have not served as a state or federal juror in the past four years.
If you receive an expungement , the court order will require the records of the case to be sealed from the public entirely; this includes records pertaining to the case kept by the court as well as by other state agencies (such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension). Even though your record will not show on a background check, the sealed record can still be accessed by certain agencies in limited circumstances. However, if you received an expungement of a conviction under the court’s inherent authority or prior to January 2015, then the order will generally only seal the court records of the case, and will not seal records kept by other agencies or the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. 609A.03(5) & (7a)
All agencies will receive a copy of the granted order for expungement, which requires them to act according to the order. However, if your expungement is granted under the court’s inherent authority or prior to January 2015, the executive agencies such as the BCA do not have to comply with the order and only the court records will be expunged. 609A.03(5)
This just depends on the particular agency. The court will update its records shortly after the judge issues the order. Agencies update their records once they receive a copy of the court order and that typically takes 30 days.
Expungement does not clear the offense(s) from your driving record. Cases automatically are removed from your driving records after a set number of years, unlike your criminal history which requires petitioning the court to have the records sealed or expunged.