Starting last year life got just a little easier if you have a criminal record in Minnesota that has been keeping you from getting housing or employment.
The state legislature amended key statutes, greatly extending the range of arrest and conviction records held by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions (BCA) and other agencies which a court may order expunged. The BCA is the source from which many landlords and employers obtain background checks.
Effective January 1, 2015 courts now have authority to seal not only their own records but also those of executive agencies — what is commonly called “full expungement” — with respect to:
- a juvenile delinquency proceeding;
- a prosecution that ended in acquittal or a dismissal of the charges;
- a case that resulted in diversion or a stay of judgment, where the defendant has completed the sentence without committing further crimes;
- a misdemeanor conviction, two years after completing the sentence;
- a gross misdemeanor conviction, four years after; and
- a low-level, nonviolent felony conviction, five years after.
The new statute also allows the court to close records of eviction proceedings where the tenant prevailed.
In any case involving a conviction, you must be able to show the court your need to have the record sealed outweighs any pubic safety concern in keeping the record open.
The statute temporarily delayed the availability of relief for convictions relating to domestic abuse or sexual assault, or violations of restraining orders or orders of protection, but this exception expired July 15, 2015.
Commercial screening services are required to delete records they know have been expunged, and landlords and employers are protected from potential liability arising from information that has been expunged.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.