Twin Cities Area Record Expunction Lawyer

When a person who has been convicted or a criminal offense tries to move forward with his or her life, often times they are reminded of their past because of a criminal record. A conviction could impact a person’s ability to secure employment or pursue educational opportunities. Some states, including Minnesota, allow some offenders to have their records expunged.

Expungement, sometimes called “expunction,” is the process of going to court to ask a judge to seal a court record. When a record it expunged, it is not completed destroyed.  Certain governmental entities, such as the FBI and law enforcement agencies, still can access the information for certain purposes. However, this information no longer is considered public knowledge.

Apple Valley Expungement Attorney

James Blumberg is a skilled Apple Valley expungement lawyer who can help you determine if your criminal record is eligible to be sealed. The process of sealing a criminal record can be complex and often quite lengthy. Having a former prosecutor who is experienced on both sides of the law can be beneficial to your expungement.

Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation. James Blumberg Law works with people on expungements throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, such as Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.

Information About Expungement in Minnesota

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Types of Cases that Could Be Expunged

The laws on criminal expungement in Minnesota changed at the beginning of 2015, allowing the state to seal more criminal records and convictions. This law also allows the judge to order other governmental agencies to expunge the records. However, not all cases can be expunged.

Under Minnesota’s new Second Chance law, statutory grounds for an expungement dramatically changed to encompass convictions of all criminal levels, including felonies. According to Minnesota Statute 609A.02, a person could seek record expungement if:

  • All pending actions or proceedings were resolved in favor of the petitioner
  • The petitioner has successfully completed the terms of a diversion program and has not been charged with a new crime for at least one year since completion of the diversion program
  • The petitioner was convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and has not been convicted of a new crime for at least two years
  • The petitioner was convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a gross misdemeanor and has not been convicted of a new crime for at least four years
  • The petitioner was convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a certain felony violation and has not been convicted of a new crime for at least five years

According to the statute, some of the felony violations could include a controlled substance in the fifth degree, sale of a simulated controlled substance, unlawful acts involving liquor, contempt, failure to appear in court and receiving stolen goods.

If a person has been charged with a certain controlled substance offense and the proceedings have been dismissed, he or she could petition to have all records relating to the arrest, indictment, trial and dismissal sealed.

If a juvenile has been prosecuted as an adult in Minnesota, he or she could petition to have the criminal record sealed if he or she is finally discharged by the commissioner of corrections or if he or she has been placed on probation by the court and discharged from probation after completed the requirements.

Under state law, a person charged with a domestic violence offense, such as felony assault by strangulation, would not be allowed to have the record sealed. Additionally, crimes that require registration also would not be able to be expunged. This includes murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct, according to Minnesota Statute 243.166.

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Expungement Process

A person seeking to have his or her criminal record expunged in Minnesota shall file a petition and include the following information:

  • Petitioner’s full name and any aliases
  • Petitioner’s date of birth
  • All of the petitioner’s addresses from the date of the alleged offense to the date of the petition
  • Why expungement is sought and why it should be granted
  •  The details of the offense, including the date, jurisdiction and if there were any victims
  • Steps the petitioner has taken since the conviction toward personal rehabilitation, including treatment, work and any other personal advancements
  • Petitioner’s criminal conviction record
  • Petitioner’s criminal charges record, even if they were not convicted of the offense
  • All previous requests for expungement, no matter the state or jurisdiction
  • If he or she has a current order or protection or restraining order against them

The petitioner must mail the petition for expungement and a proposed expungement order to the prosecutorial office that had jurisdiction over the offense and any agency that could be affected by the expungement. The prosecutor’s offense then can inform the victim of the petition for expungement, if there was a victim.

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Hearing for Expungement

A hearing on the petition likely would be held no sooner than 60 days after the service of the petition. If there is a victim of the offense, he or she has the right to submit an oral or written statement to the court describing the harm endured as a result of the crime and the victim’s recommendation on whether expungement should be granted or denied.

When the court makes its decision about whether or not a person should have his or her criminal record sealed, some of the factors considered, according to Minnesota Statute 609A.03, include:

  • The nature and severity of the crime
  • The risk the petitioner poses to individuals or society, if any at all
  • The length of time since the crime occurred
  • Steps the petitioner has taken toward rehabilitation
  • Aggravating or mitigating factors relating to the crime
  • Reasons for the expungement
  • Petitioner’s criminal record
  • Petitioner’s record of employment and community involvement
  • Recommendations of victims and whether they were minors during the time of the offense
  • The amount of restitution, if any, that has been paid

If the person has his or her criminal record sealed, according to Minnesota Statute 609A.04, he or she could bring civil action against a governmental agency or entity that knowingly opens or exchanges the information in a manner not authorized by law.

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Prosecutor Agreement in Expungement Cases

If the prosecutor agrees to the sealing of a criminal record for a person who qualifies to have his or her record sealed, the court could do so without the person having to file a petition, according to Minnesota Statute 609A.025.

The court could have the person’s record sealed if it determines it is in the best interest of the public and public safety. It would have to conclude the disadvantages of keeping the record public would outweigh not sealing the record. This could occur before or after the criminal charges are dismissed.

However, before agreeing to the sealing of a record, the prosecutor likely would make a good faith effort to notify any identifiable victims of the offense of the intended agreement and the opportunity to object to the agreement.

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Additional Resources

Minnesota Statutes Chapter Concerning Expungement — Read more information about the Minnesota laws regarding how a criminal record could be sealed, what types of cases can be sealed and what a person must do to file a petition.

Record Expungement Self Help Center — The Minnesota Judicial Branch has a self-help center where those seeking to have a criminal record expunged can learn more about the process and forms needed.

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James Blumberg Law – An Expungement Lawyer in Dakota County

Contact James Blumberg Law for a free consultation and more information about how to have your Minnesota criminal record expunged.  Dakota County expungement attorney James Blumberg can work one-on-one with you to ensure the process is correct and help you obtain all of the data necessary to have your record sealed. Call James Blumberg Law today.

James Blumberg Law works in Dakota County, and accepts clients throughout the greater Rice County, Scott County, Carver County, Dodge County, Sibley County, Olmsted County, and Steele County.