What Felonies Can Be Expunged in Minnesota?
In the state of Minnesota, individuals with a criminal record often face numerous challenges when seeking employment, housing, or even obtaining a loan. Fortunately, the state offers a legal process known as expungement, which allows certain criminal records to be sealed or erased from public view. Expungement provides individuals with a fresh start, enabling them to move forward and rebuild their lives without the burden of a criminal record. However, not all felonies are eligible for expungement in Minnesota. This article will provide an overview of the felonies that can be expunged in Minnesota and answer some frequently asked questions about the expungement process.
Eligible Felonies for Expungement:
Under Minnesota law, only certain felony convictions can be expunged. The following are the types of felonies that may qualify for expungement:
1. Controlled Substance Offenses: Some drug-related offenses, such as possession, sale, or manufacture, may be eligible for expungement. However, this excludes certain serious drug offenses, such as first-degree drug sale or manufacturing.
2. Property Crimes: Certain property-related felonies, including theft, burglary, or embezzlement, may be eligible for expungement. However, the severity of the offense and any prior criminal history can impact the eligibility.
3. Forgery and Fraud: Felonies related to forgery, identity theft, or fraud can be expunged under certain circumstances. However, this may not apply to more serious fraud offenses, such as financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
4. Non-Violent Crimes: Generally, non-violent felony offenses, such as certain white-collar crimes or non-violent sex offenses, may be eligible for expungement. However, violent crimes, such as murder, rape, or assault, are typically not eligible.
5. Juvenile Offenses: Individuals who were convicted of a felony as a juvenile may be eligible for expungement once they meet specific criteria. However, certain serious offenses committed as a juvenile, such as murder or criminal sexual conduct, may not be eligible.
Frequently Asked Questions about Expungement in Minnesota:
Q: How long do I have to wait after completing my sentence to apply for expungement?
A: For most felony offenses, you must wait a certain period before applying for expungement. Typically, this waiting period is between five and ten years, depending on the severity of the offense. However, some non-violent drug offenses have a shorter waiting period of three years.
Q: Will expungement completely erase my criminal record?
A: While expungement seals or hides your criminal record from public view, it does not erase it entirely. Law enforcement agencies, certain employers, and licensing boards can still access your criminal record in specific circumstances. However, you can legally state that you have not been convicted of a crime on most job applications.
Q: Can I expunge multiple felony convictions at once?
A: Yes, it is possible to expunge multiple felony convictions in one expungement petition. However, each offense must meet the eligibility criteria for expungement, and the court will consider the severity and nature of each offense individually.
Q: Can I expunge a felony if I have a prior criminal record?
A: Having a prior criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from expungement. However, the court will consider your overall criminal history, the severity of the offenses, and the time that has passed since your last conviction when determining eligibility.
Q: Do I need an attorney to apply for expungement?
A: While legal representation is not required, it is highly recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney when applying for expungement. An attorney can help ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly, increasing your chances of a successful expungement.
Expungement offers individuals with certain felony convictions the opportunity to move forward and rebuild their lives without the burden of a criminal record. In Minnesota, eligible felonies for expungement include controlled substance offenses, property crimes, forgery and fraud, non-violent crimes, and certain juvenile offenses. However, the eligibility criteria can vary depending on the severity of the offense, the waiting period, and other factors. If you are considering expungement, it is crucial to consult with an attorney who specializes in criminal record expungement to guide you through the process and increase your chances of success.