What can be erased is determined by the state’s jurisdiction. Expungement renders files inaccessible to the general public and law enforcement agencies. Under certain conditions, only certain government officials will have access to the records. Arrests in Minnesota that were later dismissed due to probable cause or where the prosecutor refuses to file charges and the jury does not return an indictment have the option of having their records expunged. These include fingerprints, case details, photographs, and establishing data, which can be returned to an individual upon request.
However, there are some restrictions. To be eligible for the expungement of certain files, a person must not have been charged with a felony or a gross misdemeanor within the previous ten years.
Individuals who do not meet the state’s requirements will have the option of court sealing instead. According to Minnesota Law 609A.01, record sealing restricts access to records and other information unless otherwise ordered by a court or the authority of a statute.
In Minnesota, as in most other states, juvenile records are treated differently than adult records. When a person reaches the age of seventeen or eighteen, his or her juvenile record is usually completely erased. If the case does not involve removal to a correctional facility, a juvenile delinquency adjudication in Minnesota can be considered for expungement. Those with minor petty offender adjudications can also have their records expunged. Juveniles who have been prosecuted as adults but have been released from probation terms or correctional facilities are eligible.
Adult first-time offenders with deferred sentences or those charged with certain drug possession offenses may also be eligible for record sealing. If there have been no felony or gross misdemeanor convictions in the last ten years, those who have had all of their court proceedings and actions resolved in their favor may petition for expungement. This also applies to anyone whose offense was dismissed prior to the determination of probable cause, or whose prosecutor refuses to file charges and a jury does not return an indictment.
The records cannot be expunged when proceedings are resolved in an individual’s favor without a not guilty charge due to mental illness. This is also true for convictions that require the individual to register as a sex offender. All records pertaining to the arrest, indictment, trial, and verdict are sealed when these records are granted expungement. However, DNA evidence related to a probable cause charge cannot be erased.
Expunging Minnesota Records
Petitions for expungement must be filed in the court where the case was heard. Name, date of birth, address, reason for requesting expungement, details of the offense (victim names, charges, orders, trial number, etc.) — The petition must include progress toward rehabilitation, personal history, criminal convictions, and any prior requests concerning the case.