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Can a Sex Crime Be Expunged in Minneapolis and Minnesota?

In the state of Minnesota, individuals who have been charged (and sometimes even convicted) of certain low-level felony offenses and petty crimes may have the option of having their criminal records expunged. However, criminal records expungement is often misunderstood. Can a sex crime be expunged? When a criminal record is expunged, it is not somehow destroyed. Instead, when a court expunges a person’s criminal record, the record is sealed and no longer able to be viewed by members of the public. Consequently, a sealed criminal record will not appear when an employer or some other individual performs a criminal background check on you.

In order for criminal charges, including sex offenses, to be expunged from a person’s record, certain requirements need to be satisfied. The experienced Minnesota criminal expungement lawyers at Gerald Miller, P.A. will be able to determine if your criminal record is eligible for expungement and can assist you throughout the process. Please give us a call today to find out more about how we may be able to assist you with the expungement of your criminal record.

Burden of Proof for Having a Charge Expunged from a Criminal Record in MN

If a person’s criminal charge or record is eligible to be expunged, they must meet the required burden of proof. Specifically, the person wishing to have the record expunged must demonstrate the benefits associated with sealing the criminal record are greater than any disadvantage the public might suffer if the record was sealed. A judge has the final say as to whether or not an expungement will take place.

Criminal Charges Which May Be Expunged in MN

In the state of Minnesota, certain categories of criminal offenses are eligible to be expunged. Those categories include the following:

  • Cases where a criminal defendant is adjudicated not guilty for the underlying criminal offense
    ● Cases where a criminal defendant’s charges are dismissed
    ● Cases where a criminal defendant did not plead guilty at any time and took part in the court’s diversion program
    ● Cases where a criminal defendant did enter a guilty plea, but the court entered either a stay of imposition or a stay of adjudication

Depending upon the circumstances surrounding a particular criminal case, people who have incurred new criminal charges – or who have been convicted of a new criminal offense after finishing a court diversion program, adjudication, or sentence – may not be eligible for a records expungement.

Crimes That Are Not Eligible for Expungement in MN

Presently, there are certain criminal offenses that are not eligible to be expunged from a person’s record in the state of Minnesota. Examples of these charges include: aggravated assault convictions; domestic violence criminal convictions; murder convictions; and sex offender crime convictions that result in the addition of the defendant’s name to the state sex offender list. These criminal convictions are not eligible to be expunged and must remain on a person’s criminal record, except in cases where the defendant appeals the outcome of the case and the court rules in favor of the appeal.

Steps You Must Take to Expunge a Criminal Record in MN

In order to pursue a criminal record expungement, there are certain steps that you must follow. Those steps include the following:

  • Making sure that the circumstances of your case and charge qualify you for a records expungement
    ● Filing a Notice of Hearing and Petition for Expungement with the district court
    ● Completing a Proposed Order to Expunge Criminal Records form
    ● Serving a copy of both the petition and the proposed order you filed, via mail, on every government agency in possession of the criminal record or records that you wish to have expunged
    ● Completing a Proof of Service form and filing it with the court
    ● Filing both the Petition and the Proposed Order, along with the Proof of Service, via mail to the district court

Once a hearing is set in court, your lawyer and you must attend the hearing, as there is no such thing as an automatic criminal records expungement.

Benefits of Expungement in Minneapolis and Minnesota

Can a sex crime be expunged in Minneapolis and Minnesota? There are many reasons why pursuing expungement following a criminal conviction could be in your best interest. While your reasons are your own, there are certain situations that commonly call for expungement. Here are some of the major benefits that come with expunging your criminal record.

Obtaining Employment

One of the major drawbacks of a criminal record is that it can be difficult to find a job. Employers are under no obligation to hire someone convicted of a criminal offense and are fully in their rights to discriminate based on criminal backgrounds.

Most employers rely on background checks when considering new applicants. When those checks reveal a criminal conviction, that can be the end of that applicant’s chances. Expungement allows you to answer truthfully that you don’t have a criminal record and prevents potential employers from seeing your court records.

Peace of Mind

For some people, simply knowing that there are no public records related to your conviction is critical for their peace of mind. Knowing that you have a clear record and do not have the conviction hanging over your head can feel liberating.

Securing Housing

Much like employers, prospective landlords also use background checks to screen applicants. These landlords also have the right to discriminate based on your criminal record. If a landlord learns about your prior conviction, they have the right to reject your application. Securing expungement allows you to truthfully respond on your rental application that you have not been convicted of a crime.

Furthering Your Education

When it comes to pursuing an education, a criminal conviction can be problematic. This is true for both college and graduate school. Colleges and universities have an application process, and a criminal conviction could harm your chances of getting into the school of your choice.

Full vs. Partial Expungement of a Sex Crime in MN

There are two different types of expungement under Minnesota law. While each of these options is similar, it is important to understand the differences. While partial expungement will result in the sealing of certain records related to you a criminal offense, full expungement goes further.

Partial Expungement

There are strict requirements for a person to qualify for full expungement under Minnesota law. So can a sex crime be expunged partially? When they do not meet the qualifications for full expungement, a judge could still have the authority to grant them partial expungement.

With a partial expungement, your court records will be sealed from the public. Your other records help by different government entities will not be sealed, however. This could include records of your conviction held by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the police, or the prosecutor.

Because these other records could still be accessed by the public, a partial expungement might not provide you with the benefits you are looking for. For example, a prospective employer might still learn of a criminal conviction based on public records other than court records.

Full Expungement

A full expungement—as the name suggests—goes well beyond partial expungement. With a full expungement, the government will seal all of the records related to your conviction. This goes beyond court records and includes the records from other government entities including the police or prosecutors. When it comes to preventing prospective employers from learning of your conviction, a full expungement is your best option.

Talk to a Minnesota Expungement Attorney About Your Legal Matter Today

Can a sex crime be expunged? Expungement is rarely an option when it comes to a sex crimes conviction. While expungement might be a realistic tool available for other offenses, the reality of a sex crime conviction is that it can follow you for the rest of your life. Given what is at stake, it is vital that you aggressively pursue an acquittal from any sex offenses charges when you have the chance to do so.

If you have a sex crime charge or other criminal offense on your record, the experienced legal team at Gerald Miller, P.A. can determine if you are eligible to have the charge expunged. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a knowledgeable Minnesota expungement attorney, please give us a call at 612-440-4610 or contact us online to learn more about how we may be able to assist you with pursuing the expungement of your criminal record.

Originally published August 13, 2020 and updated September 21, 2021.

About the author

Brodie Hacken

Brodie is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota with 15 years of experience. He is passionate about protecting the rights of his clients and ensuring they receive the best possible representation. When he's not in the courtroom, Brodie enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.

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