What Does Expungement Mean, and How Can It Help You?

If you have a criminal record in Minnesota, you may feel like your past mistakes will haunt you forever. Many doors close when potential employers or landlords see a criminal history. It can prevent you from getting the job, housing, or loans you need to move forward.

But in Minnesota, expungement offers a path to a clean slate. With an expungement, your criminal record is essentially erased under the law. Your charges or convictions will no longer appear in background checks. It’s as if your arrest or criminal case never happened.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is the process of sealing your criminal record from public view. It’s like hitting the reset button on your past mistakes.

When your record is expunged in Minnesota, it’s removed from the court system and law enforcement databases. Your charges are essentially erased – it’s as if they never happened.

Expungement is different from a pardon, which forgives your crime. And it’s more complete than sealing your records, which limits public access.

With expungement, it’s actually destroyed and gone for good. Poof!

Why Expunge Your Criminal Record?

Getting your record expunged can lift a huge weight off your shoulders. 

Here are some of the biggest benefits:

  • Better Job Opportunities — A criminal record can slam a lot of career doors in your face. But once your record is expunged in Minnesota, you don’t have to disclose it on job applications. You’ll have the chance to get your foot in the door and prove yourself.
  • Access to Housing — From apartments to mortgages, background checks are part of every housing application these days. Expunging your criminal record helps you pass those checks and secure the home you want.
  • Return to School — College admissions and financial aid often ask about criminal history. With an expungement, you can truthfully say you have a clean record and pursue new educational opportunities.
  • Easier Travel — Some countries bar entry to people with criminal records. Expungement allows you to travel freely and check that box about no convictions.
  • Gun Ownership Rights — In Minnesota, certain criminal convictions prohibit gun possession. If you get those convictions expunged, you may restore your right to own a firearm.
  • Peace of Mind — More than anything, expungement removes the stress of living with a criminal record. You get to live your life forward, not defined by your past.

Eligibility for Expungement in Minnesota

Every state has different laws regarding when and how criminal records can be expunged. So, the first step is to check your specific eligibility in Minnesota.

In general, the following types of crimes may be eligible for expungement in Minnesota:

  • Misdemeanors
  • Gross misdemeanors
  • Non-violent felonies
  • Juvenile records

However, there are certain convictions that are ineligible, such as violent felonies, sex offenses, and DUIs.

The waiting period to apply for expungement also varies based on the crime. For misdemeanors, it’s 2 years. For gross misdemeanors, it’s 4 years. And for felonies, it’s 5 years.

The date that matters is when you completed all terms of your sentence, including any probation or incarceration time.

With all the intricacies around expungement eligibility in Minnesota, having an experienced expungement attorney in your corner is invaluable.

The attorneys at Martine Law routinely handle expungements for clients. They’ll review your specific criminal history and advise if you’re eligible to petition the courts for an expungement. If you are eligible, they can walk you through every step of the expungement process.

How the Expungement Process Works in Minnesota

If you’re eligible for expungement, the process involves several steps:

Filing a Petition

First, we’ll prepare a petition to be filed with the court explaining why your record should be expunged under Minnesota law.

The petition must provide details on your criminal history and record since the conviction, including any treatment programs, volunteer work, or other rehabilitation efforts. This shows the court you deserve expungement.

The Hearing

The court will schedule a hearing where you’ll appear before a judge to explain why your record should be expunged.

As your Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys, we’ll represent you at the hearing and make the case for expungement on your behalf.

Court Order of Expungement

If the judge approves the expungement, they’ll issue a court order. This legally requires agencies like the BCA and police departments to seal or destroy your arrest, charges, or conviction records.

It’s a lengthy process, but we’ll provide skilled guidance each step of the way to give you the greatest chance of success.

What Happens After You Get the Expungement Order?

Once the court has issued an expungement order, you can legally answer “no” if asked about prior arrests or convictions. Your record will show up clean on background checks.

However, an expungement doesn’t completely erase what happened. Certain agencies can still access your original record in limited circumstances. And if you’re ever charged with another crime, the old conviction could be unsealed.

That’s why it’s so important to maintain your rehabilitation after an expungement. Avoid further run-ins with the law and continue making positive life choices.

With an expungement, the door to your future is wide open. Now, it’s up to you to walk through it and make the most of your clean slate.

Still, Have Questions? Contact an Expungement Lawyer Now

If you’re ready to explore whether expungement is possible for your criminal record in Minnesota, reach out to the knowledgeable attorneys at Martine Law.

Contact their team online to schedule a free case evaluation. Their team has years of experience guiding clients through the expungement process.

We’ll review your specific situation, answer all your questions, and advise on your eligibility. Don’t let your past hold you back any longer. Contact Martine Law today and start building the bright future you deserve.