Effective January 1, 2015 Minnesota law on criminal expungement will change making it easier to expunge criminal records and allowing the petitioning party to expunge a broader set of records than previously possible. There are three big changes. First, law enforcement agency records (police, sheriff, BCA…) can now be expunged in addition to the judicial records. This is a big deal primarily as it relates to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) records as the BCA is the primary law enforcement entity’s records that are checked by employer’s and landlords in background checks. Second, a broader set of defendants can make a petition if they satisfy the requirements in M.S.A. 609A.02. For example, if the defendant got a stay of adjudication and completes the sentence without having another charge for a year they are entitled to an expungement (as opposed to the old law which required that the case be completely resolved in the defendant’s favor – i.e. found not guilty or all charges dropped without conviction/plea). Finally, the new law makes it more likely a defendant will be granted an expungement because the new law shifts the burden onto the law enforcement entity to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the disadvantage to public safety outweighs the petitioner’s benefits or else the expungement must be granted by the judge.
Our office is experienced in preparing, filing and successfully arguing expungement petitions and we often will take on the case on a flat fee basis. If you have a conviction in your background, particularly if it is haunting you in your career or housing opportunities, please call us at 952-445-2817 to discuss how the changes in the law can help you.