Minnesota's Revised Criminal Expungement Law, Statute 609A:
Minnesota's revised expungement law, which took effect January 1, 2015, is intended to give individuals -- who have been rejected from employment, licensure, education, and countless other of life opportunities – an opportunity for a second chance.
The revised expungement law allows for the sealing of certain drug charges, juveniles who were prosecuted as adults, and criminal proceedings not resulting in convictions or guilty pleas (i.e., dismissals and acquittals). The new law will allow courts to seal records of those who have successfully completed diversion programs, as well as those who were convicted of petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and certain low-level non-violent felonies.
This expansion of the statutory remedy grants courts the authority to seal records held by executive branch agencies, such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (the primary source of criminal information for employment, professional licensure, and housing background checks), the Department of Human Services, and the police.
Under the new law, persons will be eligible for a “full expungement” (sealing of both judicial and executive branch records) in the following situations:
1) All pending actions or proceedings resolved in the Petitioner’s favor (i.e., by acquittal or dismissal);
2) Petitioner completed all terms of a diversion or stay of adjudication, and Petitioner has not been charged with a new crime for at least one year since successful completion of program or stay;
3) Conviction of a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor conviction and Petitioner has not been convicted of a new crime for at least two years since completion of sentence;
4) Conviction of a gross misdemeanor conviction and Petitioner has not been convicted of a new crime for at least four years since completion of sentence;
5) Conviction of specified low-level, non-violent felonies (listed in Minn. Stat. 609.02(b)1-50) and Petitioner has not been convicted of a new crime for at least five years since completion of the sentence.
However, if a prosecutor agrees to the sealing of a criminal record, the court must (“shall”) expunge the record in eligible cases without requiring a petition unless it determines the interests of the public and public safety outweigh the record bearer’s interests.