Expungement: Sealing criminal records in Minnesota
A public record related to an arrest, criminal charges or a conviction could have lasting, detrimental effects on your life. From denial of employment and housing, to the embarrassment from friends, family and co-workers knowing about the incident, the existence of public records related to allegations or convictions of criminal wrongdoing can last for years after the incident. Fortunately, Minnesota expungement laws allow for the sealing of criminal records under certain circumstances. Minnesota expungement lawyer, Coley Grostyan has the extensive experience and success in sealing criminal records needed to guide you through the complex expungement process.
What criminal records can be sealed?
In Minnesota, expungements fall into three categories: (1) sealing of all records and the return of all identifying information obtained by law enforcement during your arrest (2) sealing of all records, both law enforcement and court records; and, (3) sealing of court records related to a conviction.
1. Sealing of records and returning identifying information.
- This is the most beneficial to you as it eliminates the record of your arrest and requires the return of thumbprints, photographs, records identifying physical marks or tattoos that are typically kept on file for anyone who has ever been arrested.
- You are eligible for this relief if you were never charged or the criminal charges were dismissed very early on in the case. In addition, you must not have any felony or gross misdemeanor convictions within the ten years preceding the decision is made to dismiss the charges or not charge you at all.
2. Sealing court records and records related to an arrest.
- If your criminal charge or conviction satisfies any of the following requirements, you may petition the court to all the records related to the case:
- The criminal was resolved in your favor. What this typically means is that you never admitted guilt and there was no guilty verdict by a judge or jury. For example, if there was a continuance for dismissal, dismissal of charges, or a not guilty verdict at trial.
- 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 or received a stayed sentence (including a “stay of imposition”) a listed low-level felony offense and have been law abiding for five (5) years following the completion of probation.
- The expungement request will be granted if the judge determines the benefit to you in sealing the records outweigh the interests of the public and public safety.
- A successful expungement request can result in a court order sealing police and law enforcement reports, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension records, and court records, all of which were easily found by employers, landlords, co-workers, and anyone else who may have wanted to look into your background before the expungement.
- This expungement provides all the beneficial and worthwhile relief to allow you to move forward with your life without the constant fear of your past being unfairly used against you.
3. Sealing Court Records – Judicial Authority.
- Even if you were convicted of a felony that is not included in list of felonies allowed to be sealed under the law, you may still be able to seal the court records reflecting that conviction.
- This expungement option is more difficult to achieve; you must show some hardship and how sealing the court records could minimize the the hardship.
- Any records available to the public through law enforcement will remain public and are not subject to the court’s expungement order.
If successful in asking the court to seal your criminal records, a court order prohibits disclosing the existence of the records to the public. The records are sealed and can only be viewed by enforcement agencies for legitimate investigations. Therefore, depending upon the extent of records expunged, sealing your record can prevent potential employers or landlords from using past misunderstandings or youthful mistakes against you in denying employment or housing.
Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense attorney that has extensive experience and knowledge of sealing records for individuals who continue to be burdened by their criminal records. Since each client’s situation and reasons for seeking their criminal records be sealed are unique, Mr. Grostyan’s measured caseload allows him to provide each expungement case with the individualized attention it deserves. If you wish to move forward with your life goals, without being burdened with past misunderstandings or mistakes, call (612) 747-2254 now to speak with Coley directly and to schedule a free case assessment.
Coley Grostyan represents individuals seeking to seal past criminal records in the Twin Cities Minneapolis/St. Paul Area, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Anoka County, Wright County, Dakota County, Washington County, Carver County, Scott County, Isanti County, Mille Lacs County, and throughout Minnesota.
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701 Building, Suite 300
701 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415