Even though jail time and high fines are certainly problematic for people convicted of a serious criminal offense, the worst penalty of all is often the aftermath of the conviction that impacts their day-to-day lives. Many organizations, institutions, and individuals will steer clear of people with a criminal past. Employers, credit lenders, landlords, and essentially any other party that conducts background checks do not want to see a conviction in the paperwork. In some cases, a person can have their reputation and social life destroyed just by a criminal accusation, not even a conviction.
In Minnesota, there is a legal process known as expungement that can help correct and clean the mistakes or troubles of the past. Through expungement, certain convictions or charges can be sealed away. Only a party that obtains a court order will be able to see those marks on the criminal record. Since obtaining a court order is an arduous process and only gains approval when absolutely necessary, a successful expungement effectively renders the mark invisible to practically any outside party.
Who Is & Is Not Eligible for Expungement?
Not everyone can have their criminal records expunged in Minnesota. A set of prerequisites must be met in order for expungement to be an option, including completing all sentencing requirements and waiting a certain amount of time. Thankfully, the state is somewhat lenient, allowing nearly all misdemeanors and several felonies to be eligible for expungement. Most people can seek expungement after a year has passed since they were discharged from probation, but some may need to wait five years or more.
Certain offenses are entirely ineligible for expungement, however. Someone who must register as a predatory offender will not be able to use expungement. Expungement will also not be an option, even if the process has already begun, if charged with a new crime.
Lastly, a judge can disapprove any expungement petition, regardless of the circumstances, if they believe it is reasonable to do so.
If you want to expunge a mark from your criminal record and start tomorrow with a fresh, second chance, it is time to turn to Vogel Law Firm and our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers. Our attorneys – who can represent clients in both Minnesota and North Dakota- have roots in our communities and in the legal world that trace back to the 1800s. Steer your case in the right direction using our experience and knowledgeability. Contact us today by calling (701) 237-6983 to begin.