Having a criminal record can affect every facet of your life including your relationships, housing options, and employment prospects. Expunging your criminal record can give you a blank slate on which to start over. Find out more about expunging your record below and if you’re considering requesting an expungement, then be sure to contact the best criminal defense attorney in Minnesota today. Brian Karalus has unparalleled expertise in criminal law and is fully dedicated to each and every one of his clients.

Is It Difficult for a Criminal Law Attorney to Expunge a Record?

With the right criminal defense attorney, the expungement process is relatively inexpensive and painless. The process involves answering some basic questions including addresses you have lived at in the years since the alleged crime and the name of the victim (if any). The victim might be contacted regarding your expungement request.

Do I need to Expunge If I’m Found Not Guilty?

Surprisingly, the court system does not automatically remove crimes a person was found not guilty of from their criminal record. Family, friends, or a potential employer can still see crimes you were charged with but not convicted of on your public criminal record.

However, if a person is found not guilty of a crime or successfully completes a diversion program, the expungement process is more streamlined. The court will normally grant the petition to seal the record unless the agency or jurisdiction whose records would be affected establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the public and public safety outweigh the disadvantages of not sealing the record. The vast majority of requests to expunge crimes a person is found not guilty of are granted.

What Kind of Records Are Eligible for Expungement?

You are eligible to petition for expungement:

  • If you were convicted of a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and it has been two or more years since the conviction.
  • If you were convicted of a gross misdemeanor, and it has been four or more years since the conviction.
  • If you were convicted of certain felonies and have not been convicted of another crime for at least five years.

If your case involved certain violent crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, violating a protective order, stalking, or criminal harassment, then you might not be eligible for an expungement.

What factors do the courts consider when deciding whether to grant an expungement?

Judges have significant discretion when deciding whether to grant an expungement. In making a determination for expungement, the courts consider:

(1) the nature and severity of the underlying crime, the record of which would be sealed;

(2) the risk, if any, the petitioner poses to individuals or society;

(3) the length of time since the crime occurred;

(4) the steps taken by the petitioner toward rehabilitation following the crime;

(5) aggravating or mitigating factors relating to the underlying crime, including the petitioner’s level of participation and context and circumstances of the underlying crime;

(6) the reasons for the expungement, including the petitioner’s attempts to obtain employment, housing, or other necessities;

(7) the petitioner’s criminal record;

(8) the petitioner’s record of employment and community involvement;

(9) the recommendations of interested law enforcement, prosecutorial, and corrections officials;

(10) the recommendations of victims or whether victims of the underlying crime were minors;

(11) the amount, if any, of restitution outstanding, past efforts made by the petitioner toward payment, and the measures in place to help ensure completion of restitution payment after expungement of the record if granted; and

(12) other factors deemed relevant by the court.

If you were formerly convicted of a crime and would like to have your record cleaned up, contact our law firm in Minnesota today to find out if you are eligible. Feel free to reach out for any other issues related to criminal law in Minnesota or Wisconsin.