On January 1, 2015, it will become much easier to expunge or “seal” criminal arrest or conviction records. Previously, judges in most cases could only seal the court records pertaining to a crime as they had no inherent authority to expunge the records held by the various police departments or the Minnesota BCA. Since the BCA is the primary source for employer and housing background checks, a person could prove to the court they were entitled to a second chance but the expungement of court records was of little value as the BCA would provide the full criminal history of the rehabilitated individual to anyone making a background request.
The new law eliminates the problem as it now allows the district courts to order the full expungement of all records held by both the courts and the executive branch. If the case resulted in a conviction, the person seeking the expungement must prove to the district court that their need to have their record sealed outweighs any legitimate concern for the public safety. Under the new law, the following records may be expunged:
1. If the individual pled guilty, but the sentence resulted in a stay of adjudication or in a diversion, expungement may be granted 1 year after the completion of the sentence;
2. If the individual received a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor sentence, expungement may be granted 2 years after the completion of the sentence;
3. If the individual received a gross misdemeanor conviction, expungement may be granted 4 years after the completion of the sentence;
4. If the individual received a non-violent, low-level felony conviction, expungement may be granted 5 years after the completion of the sentence.
Domestic violence convictions are not eligible for expungement until July 15, 2015. But DWI’s are eligible for expungement starting the 1st of the year!!! It is required for all of the above categories that the individual applying for expungement has remained crime-free since the completion of their sentence.
In addition, all records of juvenile delinquency may now be expunged and any case that was resolved in the individual’s favor, by either dismissal or acquittal, is statutorily presumed to be eligible for expungement. For further expungement information, See 2015 Changes, Part Two.
If you or a loved one seek to have your criminal records expunged, please call Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 today!