The law is set to go into effect on August 1st, making the state the 23rd in the nation to legalize marijuana for adults.
Minnesota’s legalization of recreational marijuana is eliciting many questions for those who have been prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for marijuana-related charges.
While some people may have their marijuana charges expunged, others may face additional hurdles. In light of the new law, many are wondering, Can I get my record expunged?
Expungement of Misdemeanor Marijuana Offenses
Automatic expungements will be available to those whose records contain non-violent cannabis possession misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors.
This only applies to those who have non-conviction records, such as dropped misdemeanor charges or arrests. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is responsible for identifying eligible individuals, granting the expungements, and notifying the appropriate judicial branch.
Expungement of Felony Marijuana Convictions
Unlike misdemeanor cannabis charges, felony marijuana convictions are not subject to automatic expungement.
In these cases, a newly-created Cannabis Expungement Board will review felony marijuana offenses for potential expungement. The Board will review and grant expungements on a case-by-case basis.
However, like misdemeanor marijuana cases, only non-violent felony marijuana possession cases are eligible for possible expungement. Moreover, while the meetings will be open to the public, the person’s identity will be confidential.
If the Board finds that a felony marijuana conviction record is eligible for resentencing or expungement, they will relay that information to the judicial branch.
The judicial branch will then issue an order to seal the records or proceed with resentencing. It is yet to be determined whether those under 21 at the time of their marijuana charge are eligible for expungement.
The Bill notes that the BCA shall make a reasonable and good faith effort to inform people if their record qualifies for expungement.
Minnesota Marijuana Convictions
It is important to note that the marijuana record expungement process is in its infancy. Since this is all new, many people, even those with misdemeanor records, will benefit from the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An attorney can ensure that your record is being evaluated in a timely manner and receiving the due process it deserves. In addition, the law is unclear about how the legalization of marijuana in Minnesota will impact those currently incarcerated on marijuana convictions.
Accordingly, those in county jail or prison should consider speaking to an attorney to determine their available remedies.
Can I Get My Record Expunged for a Minnesota Marijuana Offense?
If you have an old conviction for marijuana possession, you may be able to wipe your record clean by obtaining an expungement. However, depending on the type of conviction, the government may stand in the way.
At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, our Minnesota expungement attorneys have extensive knowledge of Minnesota’s expungement laws and have helped countless clients obtain a fresh start, even in contested expungement proceedings.
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.