MN Expungement: Understanding the Basics
Expungement is a court-ordered process through which legal records can be officially sealed. Notably, both arrest records and conviction records can potentially be sealed in Minnesota. When an expungement is approved by a court, records are no longer produced for public consumption.
To be clear, this does not necessarily mean that the records will be destroyed. As explained by the Minnesota Judicial Branch, law enforcement agencies and other public officials can still sometimes access ‘expunged’ records for narrow purposes. If you are considering getting criminal records sealed in the Twin Cities, you should speak to an experienced expungement lawyer in MN.
What Types of Criminal Records are Eligible for Expungement in Minnesota
Mistakes happen — everyone deserves a second chance. Expungement of criminal records helps people start over, clean up their reputation, and get that second chance. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to escape the paper trail that comes with many criminal records.
Under Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. § 609A.02), only certain types of criminal records are eligible for expungement. The good news is that the number of records that can be expunged has grown significantly in recent years. In 2015, a new Minnesota state law went into effect that makes it easier to expunge criminal records. Specifically, you may be qualified to get an expungement in Minnesota if you were:
- Arrested, but the charges against you were eventually dismissed;
- Arrested, but were found not guilty;
- Convicted of a first-time, non-violent drug offense;
- Convicted of a criminal offense as a juvenile offender — even if the case was handled in an adult court; or
- Convicted of a misdemeanor offense.
Certain other offenses may qualify for expungement as well. Of course, to get an expungement, there are a number of different legal requirements that must be satisfied. If you have any specific questions regarding whether or not an arrest record, conviction record, or other criminal record can be expunged, you should contact an experienced Hennepin County expungement lawyer who can conduct a comprehensive review of your case. Your lawyer will be able to get you the answers that you need to move forward.
How Long Does the Expungement Process Take in Minnesota?
The process and timetable for getting criminal records expunged in Minnesota depends on a number of different factors. In general, assuming you are eligible to get your records sealed, it should take somewhere between four months and six months to go through the entire legal process. That being said, there are sometimes exceptions. It could potentially take longer if the jurisdiction that holds your records adamantly contests expungement.
As noted by the Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives, there is a strict waiting period for expungement. In fact, when you file your claim for expungement of criminal records, Minnesota law requires a 60-day waiting period before the court hearing to allow for any interested state agencies to respond to your request for an expungement. Once granted, Minnesota law imposes another 60-day waiting period for any expungement order to become effective. This is because the specific agency or local jurisdiction that controls your records will have 60 days to file an appeal of an expungement order, if they felt the judge made a wrong legal decision to seal records..
In the event that they do choose to appeal, which only happens in some cases, your records cannot be expunged until they get a chance to make their case. No matter your circumstances, our expungement lawyers MN will help you get any eligible arrest records and conviction records sealed in the most efficient manner.
How Our Minnesota Expungement Lawyers Can Help
If you are considering seeking expungement of your criminal records in Minnesota, you need experienced legal representation by your side. Navigating the expungement process can be challenging. At Arechigo & Stokka, we are here to offer actionable legal advice to clients. Among other things, our Twin Cities expungement attorneys are prepared to:
- Conduct a free, completely confidential evaluation of your expungement claim;
- Answer any questions you have about expungement; and
- Prepare a persuasive, effective claim to help you seal criminal records.
From the initial consultation, our Saint Paul, MN criminal defense lawyers will help you understand everything that you need to know about your rights and your ability to get your records expunged. We are always fully forthright with our clients — if you are not eligible for expungement, our Minnesota expungement attorney will let you know that upfront. We will never waste your time or your money. Of course, if you are able to get an expungement, we are prepared to put together a strong claim to get your criminal records sealed so that you can better move forward with your life.
Get Help From an Expungement Lawyer in Saint Paul, MN
At Arechigo & Stokka, our Minnesota criminal defense attorneys are compassionate and effective advocates for our clients. We will help you clean up your criminal record. To schedule a free, completely confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today. With a law office in Saint Paul, we handle the full range of expungement cases in the Twin Cities, including in Hennepin County and Ramsey County.