Expungement in Minnesota
The Council on Crime and Justice provides free informational seminars on the first Tuesday of every month. For more information, see our flier: Free Criminal Expungement Seminar - First Tuesdays of the Month (PDF)
CCJ partners with the U of M Law School to provide free monthly workshops for people seeking to obtain and understand their Minnesota criminal record. Attorneys and students will also help participants learn to explain their record to employers and landlords. Second Chance Saturdays - Third Saturday of each Month(PDF)
Both events provide an opportunity for you to sit down with an attorney for a review of your record. For that purpose it is best if you can obtain copies of both your court records and your BCA records ahead of time.
To receive a copy of your criminal record from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension(BCA), you may complete and submit to the BCA the following sample request form: BCA Record Request Form (PDF)
Please also bring a copy of your Minnesota Court Informational Systems (MNCIS) record. To obtain your MNCIS record, go to any state courthouse and request your records. Usually, you will have to pay for each record. If you cannot afford copies of your full record, at least get your Case Records Search Results Page, which will list all of your cases and case numbers. The court records you get from the courts’ website are incomplete, so we ask you to get your complete history directly from the courthouse.
For expungement filing information broken down by individual Minnesota county, please see this document compiled by attorneys at the Volunteer Lawyers Network: Expungement Filing Information by County (PDF)
What is an expungement?
Expungement is the Court-ordered sealing of the government-held criminal records of an individual. It is not the destruction of the records.
Records can still be opened for future investigation and prosecution, law enforcement positions, and Department of Human Services (DHS) background studies unless DHS is included in the Order.
There are two types of expungements in Minnesota
Statutory (Minn. Stat. 609A)
Certain controlled substance offenses.
Juveniles prosecuted as adults.
Certain criminal proceedings not resulting in a conviction or requiring an admission.
The statute allows the judge to order ALL government records sealed.
Inherent authority of the courts
All records that do not qualify under the statute (most conviction records and /stays that require admission of guilt).
Current case law may limit a judge’s ability to order records sealed at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and other executive branch agencies where employers and landlords can still access them.
Other important information
That you must prove: That expungement would yield a benefit to the you equal to the disadvantages to the public and public safety of: (1) sealing the record; and (2) burdening the court and public authorities to issue, enforce, and monitor an expungement order.
All expungement petitions, including for dismissed charges, must be filed in the county of record, require victim notification and allow victim statements, and require notice to all record holders.
Offenses with a predatory registration requirement are not eligible.
Expunged records may still appear in commercial databases available to employers and others.
Juvenile statutes provide for expungement of juvenile records, but the statute is so broad that it makes the procedure unclear.
The subject of the record needs a court order to get access to the sealed record.
Expungement assistance options*
You must file for expungement in the county (or state) where charged. Records in other states are subject to that state’s expungement laws. There is no expungement remedy for federal cases. Individuals still on probation or parole, with pending cases, or who owe fines or restitution are unlikely to be granted an expungement.
MN Courts website - Instructions and Forms on how to petition court for expungement. http://www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp/?page=276
Hennepin County Self-Help Center, skyway level of the Hennepin County Government Center, for Hennepin cases (612) 348-9399
Legal Aid (SMRLS) (651) 222-5863 Ramsey and southeast metro counties
Neighborhood Justice Center ( 651) 222-4703 Ramsey County
Council on Crime and Justice and Volunteer Lawyers Network Services provide monthly seminars located in Minneapolis (see above). The Expungement Seminar Information line is (612) 353-3024..
In other counties try contacting the Volunteer Lawyers Network, public defender’s office, legal assistance organizations where you reside, or a private attorney.
*Availability of services is subject to change and the qualification requirements of each agency.
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