When Minnesota officials arrest, charge and convict a citizen of a crime, records of that crime remain. These criminal records will pop up when applying for a job, an apartment or even a loan. Many times, hiring managers and loan officers will deny approval based on these records.

Thankfully, Minnesotans can petition the state to expunge their criminal record. If approved, courts seal the record of the crime from public view. How does this process work?

Step-by-step process toward expungement

The process of petitioning for expungement requires that every applicant complete several steps. These petitions inform Minnesota courts of all relevant context to make the most informed decision. Individuals that wish to petition a court to expunge their record must do the following:

  • Collect complete case history: Before a court can expunge a single crime, they must understand the extent of one’s criminal record. The court also needs out-of-state records.
  • Obtain expungement forms: Anyone can download and print the Minnesota expungement forms from the state’s website. Individuals must obtain a set of forms for each crime.
  • Personal information: A person must supply all personal information on the petition, including addresses and aliases.
  • Explain one’s need: Judges must weigh the potential disadvantages to one’s community by sealing the conviction against individual benefit. Petitioners should take extra care when explaining why they want the expungement.
  • Fill out forms for each case: Minnesotans can petition to expunge each record at the same time. Petitioners can save lots of time making sure they have all the information they need on their past crimes.
  • Identify expungement qualification: Not every crime is eligible for expungement in Minnesota. A court will expunge records of dismissed cases, dropped charges and not guilty rulings. Those that complete court-ordered rehabilitation may petition to have the relevant crime expunged.
  • Obtain a hearing: Petitioners can schedule a hearing with a court to review their application. The judge will award or deny expungement at this hearing.

A lawyer can help

Expungement is a complex legal process that involves several government organizations and paperwork. Those who secure the services of a local attorney familiar with Minnesota criminal law find more success with expungement petitions.