As of January 1, 2015, expungement applies to more cases, and it is a more complete remedy. Call Catherine Turner to talk about your expungement options today!
A criminal conviction can be a major obstacle to obtaining employment, furthering education, getting a professional license, qualifying for a loan, or renting property. Until recently, Courts were limited in their authority to grant expungements, and when a record was sealed, it was only sealed in the Judicial branch. Now that authority expands to the executive branch, meaning that if your case is expunged in the Courts, it has to be sealed by the BCA, prosecutors, police departments, and other agencies.
This does not mean that everyone who has ever been convicted of a crime is now eligible to have their records sealed. There are still other requirements to meet and limits to the process. To find out if you qualify for expungement, or if you want to learn more, call Catherine today for a consultation.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the act of sealing your criminal records. If you have a conviction or arrest on your record that you want removed, you can ask a judge to seal your records so they won’t be visible to the public and won’t show up on an official background check. Some cases can be expunged automatically by statute. For other cases, you must ask for the court to exercise its authority to grant the expungement, and it is up to a judge to determine if your need for the expungement outweighs the public’s right to know about your case.
What exactly is a criminal record?
Your complete Minnesota criminal record consists of all the files and records of any crime the State of Minnesota has filed against you, whether it is a traffic violation, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony.
So what kind of criminal record information is public?
Generally, your record includes the crime charged, the district court that convicted or dismissed the charge, the date that the case was settled, a description of the sentence imposed and other notes about the court’s procedure.
Can employers check my criminal record?
Yes. An employer can check to see if you’ve been convicted of a crime at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), or at the local county courthouse. Each county keeps only its own records of cases that are charged in that county. The BCA compiles a list of all the records in every Minnesota county and keeps a statewide computerized database.
Some employers use private companies to do background checks. Those companies use public information provided by the Minnesota Court Information System (MNCIS) to maintain their own databases. Sometimes the information in private databases isn’t always accurate so if you do get an expungement and you’re still denied employment because of a background check using a private data company with inaccurate information, you may have a civil claim against the company. Consumer law is not Catherine’s area of practice or expertise, but she wants you to know that you may have options if you find yourself in this situation.
You may be eligible for a statutory expungement if:
• Your case was resolved in your favor, or resulted in diversion;
• You have a juvenile delinquency record;
• Your case resulted in a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and you have been crime free for two years after your sentence was completed;
• You have a conviction for a gross misdemeanor and you have been crime free for four years after your sentence was completed;
• Your have a conviction for a qualifying low-level, non-violent felony and you have been crime free for five years after your sentence was completed.
For almost all other convictions or records of arrest, you must ask a judge to seal your records. Some convictions, such as those requiring registration as a sex offender, are prohibited from being expunged.
There are special procedures for asking for an expungement. If you are interested in petitioning for expungement, contact Catherine today. She will explain the statutory requirements and procedure for filing an Expungement Petition. She will evaluate your case, prepare the appropriate documents, and advocate for you in any required hearing. Catherine believes in second chances, and wants to help you help yourself.
Common Questions About Expungement
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