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Criminal Expungements
Crime Victims:  The 2015 revised statutes also grants relief to individuals whose criminal matters were a result of victimization. If the court finds that the context and circumstances of the underlying crime indicate a nexus between the criminal record and the person’s status as a crime victim, the expungement shall restore the person to his or her status prior to the arrest. In doing so, the person shall not be guilty of perjury if he or she fails to acknowledge the record in response to any inquiry made for any purpose. 

Confirmation of Expungement:  The new bill allows for the Petitioner to request from each agency that receives the expungement order a letter confirming that the record has been expunged. See Minn. Stat. 609A.03 subd. 8

Remedy for Violating Order:  The new bill allows for an individual whose record has been expunged to bring an action under Minnesota’s Data Practices Act against a government entity that knowingly opens or exchanges the expunged record. See Minn. Stat. 609A.04. 

Employer and Landlord Protection:  The new bill extends further protection for employers and landlords who hire or rent to individuals with expunged criminal histories: information relating to a criminal history record of an employee, former employee, or tenant that has been expunged prior to the act giving rise to the civil action may not be introduced as evidence in a civil action against a private employer or landlord. See Minn. Stat. 609A.03 Subd. 5 (e).

Housing Eviction Expungements: The new bill allows the court to expunge records relating to a housing eviction at the time judgment in favor of the defendant is entered, or any time thereafter upon motion of the defendant. Minn. Stat. 504B.345, subd 1 (c)2.

Limitations of Criminal Record Expungement Order: While the new law allows for more records to be sealed, it also grants criminal justice agencies the authority to open, use, and exchange sealed records without a court order, for investigation, prosecution, sentencing, or probation, or other correctional purposes.  

Juvenile Record Expungement: For matters resolved in juvenile court, petitioners can file for an expungement under Minn. Stat. 260B.198 subd. 6. Not unlike 609A, the juvenile statutory remedy preexisted the new law; however, its vague language (allowing the courts to expunge an “adjudication of delinquency at any time it deems advisable”) was recently interpreted by the Minnesota Supreme Court to grant the lower court the ability to seal only the order adjudicating the juvenile delinquent, rather than the entire executive branch agency’s file (e.g., the arrest record or the charging document), rendering the remedy essentially meaningless.
However, as of January 1st, 2015, the court may expunge all records relating to a juvenile delinquency matter at any time if the expungement of the record would yield a benefit to the individual that outweighs the detriment to the public and public safety in sealing the record and the burden on the court and public agencies in issuing, enforcing, and monitoring the order. See Minn. Stat. 260B.198 subd. 6 paragraph (b) 1-8 for indicia the court will consider in making the determination.