Archive for the ‘Expungements’ Category

New MN Criminal Record Expungement Law for 2015

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Governor Mark Dayton signed the Second Chance Expungement Bill into law yesterday. The new law will give much needed relief to individuals whose employment goals and housing options have been hindered by past criminal convictions. Unlike the current law where a finding or admission of guilt prevents someone from ever sealing arrest and booking records held by law enforcement, the new law will allow for the sealing of all records related to the arrest, booking, charges, and conviction under certain circumstances. This is a significant step in helping people who may have made youthful mistakes, but are being denied employment opportunities and housing years after the conviction. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

You may benefit from the new Minnesota expungement law if you meet any of the following requirements:

  • Successfully completed the terms of a diversion program or stay of adjudication more than one year ago;
  • Were convicted of a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and have remained law abiding for two (2) years following the completion of probation;
  • Were convicted of a  gross misdemeanor and have remained law abiding four (4) years following the completion of probation; or
  • Were convicted of a listed low-level felony offense and have been law abiding for five (5) years following the completion of probation

Read the entire bill here.

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Coley Grostyan is an experienced Minnesota expungement attorney who has a successful track record of sealing arrest and conviction records for his clients.

MN Bill to prohibit websites from charging a fee to remove mugshots

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A bill that would prohibit the practice of private mugshot websites charging a fee to remove booking photos is making its way through the Minnesota legislature. HF1940 would modify the language of Minnesota Statute § 13.82 to prohibit the publishing of a booking photograph if that website requires payment of a fee to remove the mugshot.

Currently websites such as mugshots.com and bustedmugshots.com collect publicly available mugshots and post them online for anyone to see. The problem is that even if the person was never charged with a crime or had the charges dismissed, the mugshot remains on the website unless you pay the website’s removal fee. Even those who have had their criminal record expunged by a judge’s order still need to pay the mugshot removal fee. A quick check of mugshots.com reveals a fee of $399 to remove one mugshot. The cost rises substantially if you want to remove multiple booking photos.

The proposed bill would prohibit publishing a booking photograph if the website requires a fee to remove the photo. Additionally, in cases where no charges were ever filed or there was no conviction, the law would require the websites to delete the mugshots immediately. Fines for violating the proposed law begins at $500 per posted photograph and can climb to $1,500 if the website continues to ignore the law.

Read the entire bill here.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense and expungement attorney who regularly helps clients attempting to seal arrest and conviction records.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Employment applications prohibited from asking about convictions under new MN law

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Today, a new 2014 law went into effect that prohibits private employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application. The intention of the “Ban the Box” law is allow applicants to land an interview based in their training and experience, and give the applicant an opportunity to explain any criminal history to the potential employer rather than being eliminated from consideration from the onset of the hiring process.

Although public employers have been prohibited from asking about criminal convictions on applications for a few years, Minnesota is only the third state to make private employers subject to the same standards. The new law does not apply to the Department of Corrections or other public employers who conduct criminal background checks pursuant to state law. Employers will still be able to to ask about an applicant’s criminal history, but not until either the applicant is interviewed, or a conditional offer of employment has been extended. You can read the new law in its entirety here.

Employers who violate the law within the first year will receive a written warning after a first offense, with cash penalties for subsequent violations.

Although many corporate employers have an across-the-board policy against hiring convicted felons, this law is a step in the right direction and may give some individuals with a criminal history some relief in trying to secure employment. We will have to see how the new law plays out for those who have been considering trying to seal their criminal records through the expungement process.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense and expungement lawyer who regularly helps clients attempting to seal criminal records for employment purposes. 

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

New MN Law Gives Some Relief to Ex-Offenders Seeking Employment

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Last week Governor Mark Dayton signed the “ban-the-box” bill enacting a law that that employers in Minnesota cannot ask an applicant about their criminal record prior to an interview. Several years ago, Governor Pawlenty signed into law a similar bill that prohibited public employers from asking about criminal records. This new law extends to private employers in the state.

The purpose behind the bill is to allow an individual an opportunity to get an interview based upon their qualifications, giving a job candidate with a criminal history an opportunity to explain their past to a potential employer in person. This seems to be a step in the right direction as I often hear from clients seeking to expunge criminal records that they have difficulty getting interviews due to a conviction from long ago, despite being highly qualified and rehabilitated.

You can read the bill in its entirety here.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense and expungement lawyer who represents individuals in criminal proceedings and regularly helps clients attempting to expunge criminal records in the Twin Cities and throughout the State of Minnesota.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

MN Supreme Court: Courts Cannot Seal Executive Branch Records

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

***The decision discussed below is not longer applicable in the State of Minnesota. The MN Legislature changed expungement laws as of January 1, 2015 allowing convictions to be expunged. Read about the current Minnesota expungement laws here.***

Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued their opinion in State v. MDT. The main question before the Supreme Court was whether a district court judge has the authority to order the executive branch to seal judicially created records of a conviction retained by law enforcement. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals by holding that the district court in this case exceeded the scope of its inherent authority to expunge records.

Based on a separation of powers analysis, the court stated, “the authority the judiciary has to control its own records does not give the judiciary inherent authority to reach into the executive branch to control what the executive branch does with records held in that branch, even when those records were created in the judiciary.” The court added that sealing executive branch records in this case is not necessary to perform a unique judicial function.

This decision reaffirms the fact that, outside of exceptional circumstances, when you admit guilt or are convicted of a crime in Minnesota, records retained by law enforcement reflecting the conviction will be accessible by the public even if the court records have been sealed.

You can read the entire Supreme Court opinion here.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis based expungement lawyer who regularly represents individuals attempting to expunge criminal records in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, and throughout the State of Minnesota.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415