Minnesota Expungement Law

Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Minnesota

1.  What is an expungement?

The process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.

2. Do the records just “disappear”?

No. In the case of an arrest for a criminal offense that is dismissed without a finding of probable cause or the prosecutor declines to file charges and an indictment isn’t returned by a grand jury, the person arrested may have records, fingerprints, photos and other identifying data returned to them upon request if there are no felony or gross misdemeanor charges within the subsequent ten years. § 299C.11 Otherwise, expungement is limited to a court order sealing the records and prohibiting the disclosure of their existence or their opening except under court order or statutory authority § 609A.01.

3.  What records may be expunged?

An adjudication of juvenile delinquency in a case not involving a transfer to a correctional facility. § 260B.198. An adjudication of a minor as a petty offender. § 260B.235. When a petition for expungement is granted, the court will issue an order to seal all records relating to an arrest, indictment or  information, trial, or verdict. § 609A.02. DNA records related to a charge where probable cause was found may not be expunged. § 609A.03.

4.  Who is eligible for an order of expungement?

1. A juvenile adjudicated to be a delinquent but not transferred to a correctional facility. § 260B.198.
2. A juvenile adjudicated to be a petty offender § 260B.235.
3. 1st time adult drug offenders with deferred sentences, or certain drug possession charges.§ 609A.02.
4.  Juveniles prosecuted as adults who are discharged from corrections facility or fulfill terms of probation. § 609A.02.
5. Persons who had determination of all pending criminal actions or proceedings in their favor and had no felony or gross misdemeanor convictions in the 10 years prior to that determination. § 299C.11
6. Persons whose offense was dismissed prior to a determination of probable cause; or the prosecuting authority declined to file any charges and a grand jury did not return an indictment  and if no felony or gross misdemeanor convictions for 10 years before such final determination of charges. § 299C.11.
7. Persons who had proceedings resolved in their favor. Not quilty by reason of mental illness does not qualify as an outcome in favor of the accused. Convictions for offenses which require registering as a sex offender are ineligible for expungement. § 609A.02.

5.  How do I get records expunged?

Juvenile adjudications of delinquency or petty offender may be expunged at any time when the court deems it advisable. . § 260B.198, § 260B.235.

Eligible adults or juveniles prosecuted as adults may file a sworn petition for expungement. The petition needs to state:

(1) the petitioner’s full name and all other legal names or aliases by which the petitioner has been known at any time;
(2)  the petitioner’s date of birth;
(3)  all of the petitioner’s addresses from the date of the offense or alleged offense in connection with which an expungement order is sought, to the date of the petition;
(4) why expungement is sought, if it is for employment or licensure purposes, the statutory or other legal authority under which it is sought, and why it should be granted;
(5) the details of the offense or arrest for which expungement is sought, including the date and jurisdiction of the occurrence, either the names of any victims or that there were no identifiable victims, whether there is a current order for protection, restraining order, or other no contact order prohibiting the petitioner from contacting the victims or whether there has ever been a prior order for protection or restraining order prohibiting the petitioner from contacting the victims, the court file number, and the date of conviction or of dismissal;
(6)  in the case of a conviction, what steps the petitioner has taken since the time of the offense toward personal rehabilitation, including treatment, work, or other personal history that demonstrates rehabilitation;
(7) petitioner’s criminal conviction record indicating all convictions for misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or felonies in this state, and for all comparable convictions in any other state, federal court, or foreign country, whether the convictions occurred before or after the arrest or conviction for which expungement is sought;
(8)  petitioner’s criminal charges record indicating all prior and pending criminal charges against the petitioner in this state or another jurisdiction, including all criminal charges that have been continued for dismissal or stayed for adjudication, or have been the subject of pretrial diversion; and
(9) all prior requests by the petitioner, whether for the present offense or for any other offenses, in this state or any other state or federal court, for pardon, return of arrest records, or expungement or sealing of a criminal record, whether granted or not, and all stays of adjudication or imposition of sentence involving the petitioner.

If there is a current order for protection, restraining order, or other no contact order prohibiting the petitioner from contacting the victims or there has ever been a prior order for protection or restraining order prohibiting the petitioner from contacting the victims, the petitioner must attach a copy of the order to the petition.

The petitioner must serve by mail the petition for expungement and a proposed expungement order on the prosecutor’s office that had jurisdiction over the offense for which expungement is sought and all other state and local government agencies and jurisdictions whose records would be affected by the proposed order. The petitioner must also serve by mail the attorney for each agency and jurisdiction.

The prosecutor’s office that had jurisdiction over the offense for which expungement is sought shall serve by mail the petition for expungement and a proposed expungement order on any victims of the offense for which expungement is sought informing the victims of the victims’ right to be present and to submit an oral or written statement at the expungement hearing.

A hearing on the petition shall be held no sooner than 60 days after service of the petition. A victim of the offense for which expungement is sought has a right to submit an oral or written statement to the court at the time of the hearing describing the harm suffered by the victim as a result of the crime and the victim’s recommendation on whether expungement should be granted or denied.

Except as otherwise provided the court shall 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 to the petitioner of not sealing the record. § 602A.03.


Inside Minnesota Expungement Law