Can a Felony be Expunged in Minnesota?

If you have been charged with and convicted of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, then you now have a mark on your criminal record. Your criminal record is defined as a list of every previous criminal conviction against you. Many states, however, also include some arrests as part of a person’s official criminal record. Minnesota is one of those states. There are ways to get certain crimes and arrests removed from your permanent criminal record. This is done through a process called expungement.

Expungement can be incredibly beneficial, particularly when a criminal record can keep a person from gaining employment, obtaining student loans, interfere with child custody rights, and limit housing availability.

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Minnesota?

All of the crimes that can be expunged in Minnesota are found in Minn. Stat. § 609A.02(3). Crimes eligible for expungement in Minnesota include but are not limited to:

  • Altering a certificate for livestock
  • Violating certain insurance regulations
  • Title fraud
  • Fifth-degree felony possession/sale of a controlled substance
  • Sale of a simulated (fake) drug
  • False certificate of title
  • A motor vehicle accident resulting in great bodily harm
  • Violation of voting laws
  • Promulgating a false bill of lading
  • Filing a false application for public assistance
  • Willful evasion of the state fuel tax
  • Failure to affix stamp on scheduled substances
  • Unlawful acts involving liquor or the liquor tax
  • Violation of laws applying to precious metal dealers
  • Violation of laws applying to prize solicitations
  • Violation of laws applying to regulated animal control
  • Violation of gambling regulations
  • Contempt of court
  • Coercion
  • Leaving Minnesota to avoid establishment of paternity
  • Escape from civil commitment for mental illness
  • Failure to appear in court
  • Theft of $5,000 or less
  • Theft of $1,000 or less with risk of bodily harm

The crimes listed here are mostly word-for-word from state law; see Minn. Stat. § 609A.02(3) for the full list.

Minnesota Expungement Laws

A Minnesota law that went into effect in January 2015 makes it easier for those convicted of misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and low-level felonies to have their records expunged. It is important to point out that there is no guarantee their record will be sealed, but the opportunity for expungement exists and has been made easier for Minnesota residents. The most important aspect of the expungement process involves a person convicted of a crime not being charged with or convicted of another crime within a certain period of time following their original offense.

How Long is the Expungement Process in Minnesota?

The expungement process can take some time to occur. Generally, the following time periods apply to the Minnesota expungement petition process:

  • One year if the petitioner completed terms of a diversion program or a stay of adjudication and has not been charged with new crimes.
  • Two years if the petitioner was convicted or received a stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor and has not been convicted of a new crime in that time period.
  • For years if the petitioner was convicted or received a stayed sentence for gross misdemeanor and has not been convicted of a new crime.
  • Five years if the petitioner was convicted of a felony violation, was convicted or received a stayed sentence, and has not been convicted of a new charge.

You also need to be aware of the time frames involved if you were charged with a crime and the case was resolved in your favor. If the case was dismissed by a prosecutor, if the charge was dismissed by the court, or if you were acquitted at trial, there is no waiting period involved for the expungement process.

Contact a Mankato Expungement Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has any questions about the expungement process in Minnesota, contact the team at Knutson+Casey today. Our Mankato expungement attorneys will provide you with a review of your particular case and determine whether or not you are eligible for expungement.