Juvenile Record Expungements

An extension to the state’s diversion program that offers a second chance to underage offenders.

Minnesota, like most states, recognizes the need for diversion and rehabilitation over raw persecution. This is especially apparent in the state’s juvenile expungement program, which allows young offenders to wipe their records clean after completing a diversion program, essentially offering a second chance.

Expungement is not available for all crimes and is a lengthy and legally complicated process. We cover general expungements in another article, and while there is overlap between adult and juvenile expungements, we’ll highlight the differences here.

Juvenile Expungement Lawyers in Apple Valley, Minnesota

As a parent, you never imagine your child will be arrested and accused of committing a criminal act. You likely will be confused about the next step in the process and how to handle the charges. Contact Apple Valley juvenile crime defense lawyer James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law.

James is a former prosecutor who has worked with juvenile offenders on both sides of the law. His extensive experience allows him to serve as an advocate for young people facing a variety of charges. No matter the situation, James works hard to help his clients get a favorable outcome in their cases.

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

Juvenile Expungement Process

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Juvenile Criminal Process

In short, juveniles are offered a structured justice program. Juveniles are often not automatically arrested, and parents and attorneys are allowed to be present at almost all hearings.

County courts, including the Dakota County Juvenile Court, have jurisdiction over children 18 and under. Delinquency matters include felonies and all types of misdemeanor offenses, with the exception of serious crimes. If the child is required to attend court, and is found guilty, then that juvenile will be adjudicated delinquent.

In many cases, juveniles will be offered diversion programs. These programs include doing things like establishing certain performance goals, chemical dependency tests, counseling services and community resources.

A prosecutor likely will refer an offender to a diversion program on condition the delinquency petition against the offender will be dismissed or the petition will not be filed after a specified period of time if the offender successfully completes the program.

According to the law, a child is considered an offender and could potentially be eligible for a pretrial diversion program in Minnesota if he or she:

  • Is petitioned for or probable cause exists to petition or take the child into custody for a felony, gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor offense, but has not yet entered a plea in the proceedings;
  • Has not previously been adjudicated in any state for an offense against a person; and
  • Has not previously been petitioned for an offense and had it dismissed.

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Unlike some states, Minnesota does not automatically seal juvenile records once they turn 18. In addition, expungements are non-destructive in Minnesota. This means that records are not destroyed or returned to the offender. Instead, they are sealed, meaning that the only ones able to access those records are other members of the justice department.

Minnesota’s expungement law, 260B.198(6)(a) reads as follows:

The court may expunge all records relating to delinquency at any time if the court determines that expungement of the record would yield a benefit to the subject of the record that outweighs the detriment to the public and public safety in sealing the record and the burden on the court and public agencies or jurisdictions in issuing, enforcing, and monitoring the order.

Expungements must be formally requested and meet the following criteria:

  • The charges must have been dismissed
  • You were found not guilty OR
  • You did not enter a plea of guilty or pled guilty but completed a deferred adjudication program
  • The juvenile must be at least 18 years of age at the time of expungement.

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Types of Expungable Cases

The following types of cases are generally eligible for expungement:

  • Petty offenses – minor infractions like loitering or petty theft may be expunged
  • Misdemeanors – non-violent misdemeanors like shoplifting or vandalism may be expunged
  • Felonies – most felonies are not expungable. However, some non-violent cases may be expunged after a lengthy diversion process.
  • Dismissed cases – if your child’s case was acquitted or dismissed, then you are likely eligible for expungement.

In general, non-violent offenses often qualify for expungement. Whether or not it will be granted is often up to the state or county prosecutor, the judge, and how good your attorney is.

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Juvenile Expungement Process

Receiving an expungement as a juvenile takes time, and many steps. In addition, it is highly recommended to hire a lawyer to help you fill out the required forms as the state and county offices cannot help you do so.

  1. Determining Eligibility – first, your attorney will help you understand if your child should be eligible for an expungement. This includes looking at the type of crime he or she is accused of.
  2. Gathering Information – Your attorney will help you to collect as much information as possible, including case numbers, dates and court locations. You and your child will need to prepare your personal information, including your name, date of birth and any aliases used.
  3. Preparing the petition – Your attorney will help you fill out the actual petition for expungement. This includes the application and supporting documents like affidavits and letters of support. There will be a filing fee, depending on location. Your attorney will handle serving the petition to the necessary offices.
  4. Attend a Hearing – You will be provided a hearing date. Attendance is almost always required; failing to show typically results in a dismissal of the petition. At the trial, you will be required to provide an oral argument. In many cases, your lawyer may represent you.
  5. Receive a verdict – Whether or not your child receives an expungement will be decided at the hearing. The judge will receive arguments from the served parties (police, attorney’s office, the offended party) and make a decision. If you receive an expungement, you will receive a copy of the order.
  6. Wait – Agencies have 60 days to appeal orders after provision. They may provide additional arguments against the order, which may result in an overturning, meaning that your records remain public.

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Additional Resources

Expungements Paperwork – Read through Minnesota’s packed for expunging juvenile delinquency records to develop a more detailed understanding of the expungement process.

Expungement Law – Read through the state of Minnesota’s laws to understand juvenile delinquency and exactly what is eligible for expungement.

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Hire a Juvenile Expungement Lawyer in Apple Valley, Minnesota

If your child is facing criminal charges, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands what you and your family are facing.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to get a favorable outcome in your child’s case.

We also accept clients in nearby communities including Rice County, Steele CountyScott CountySibley County, Dodge County, Olmsted County, and Carver County. 

Call (952) 431-7758 today to schedule a free consultation in Dakota County.

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