An expungement allows you to seal a criminal record so that it cannot be used by employers, landlords, or other parties against you. Minnesota recently changed its expungement laws to make it easier for petitioners to get an exupngement. The new laws also allow a court to seal more records than may have been available under the old law, including law enforcement, prosecutor, police, and BCA records. Here are some common questions about expungements:
Typically, you start an expungement proceeding by collecting information about your history since the offense and any efforts you have made to rehabilitate yourself. Next, you prepare a petition and serve it with the appropriate agencies. Finally, a hearing will be held, and the court will hear arguments about the petition. At that point, the court will issue an order granting or denying your request for an expungement. In certain cases, however, a prosecutor can agree to the expungement request and avoid the court procedure.
When deciding whether to seal a record, the court typically weighs the public’s benefit of knowing about your history against the harm the record has caused you and any efforts you have made to rehabilitate yourself. If you can show the court that you are not the same person that committed the crime and are now being unfairly punished by it (due to impaired job prospects, etc.), the court may be more likely to grant a request for expungement.
The expungement process is relatively straightforward, so attorney’s fees may be less than for criminal charges. In addition, depending on the type of resolution in your criminal case, you may be able to get the court filing fee waived. Otherwise, the court filing fee is typically around $330.
Getting a criminal record sealed can often help you advance your career, get housing or loans, or get other benefits. However, the process can be difficult, and it is important to ensure that every step is handled correctly. If you are considering requesting an expungement, call St. Paul criminal defense lawyer Eric Rice at (651) 998-9660 for a free consultation to learn about your options.