In the age of the Internet and computerized background checks, being convicted of a crime can nearly ruin your life. In fact, being arrested alone could have tarnished your reputation, harmed your relationships and derailed your career.
Even if it has been years since you faced criminal charges, chances are your arrest record or conviction continues to follow you around like a dark cloud. Maybe you can’t find a good job because of one drug arrest, even though you’ve been clean for years. Maybe you can’t rent an apartment because of a one-time only domestic assault accusation. Whatever your story may be, don’t give up.
With a little help, you may be able to expunge or seal your criminal record.
A new law in Minnesota allows for the sealing of all records related to arrests, charges, and convictions in certain cases. If your case resulted in:
- Diversion or stay of adjudication, you may receive expungement if you remain crime-free for a year following completion of the program.
- Petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor, you may receive expungement if you remain law abiding for at least two years following the completion of your sentence.
- Gross misdemeanor, you may be eligible for expungement if you remain crime-free for at least four years following your sentence.
- Low-level felony, you may be eligible for expungement if you remain law abiding for five years after the completion of your sentence
Meeting the requirements does not guarantee your records will be sealed. Clearing records is still a challenging process, and convictions for violent crimes and sex crimes are not eligible under the new law.
Having handled hundreds of expungements, attorney John J. Leunig believes the best strategy is prevention. If you haven’t yet been convicted for the crime, get legal help as soon as possible. There might be options available to resolve the case while keeping your record clean.
If your criminal record is currently holding you back from living your life, talk to an experienced and reputable attorney who can help you understand your options. A successful expungement can open the doors to job and volunteer opportunities, housing, educational opportunities, loans, financial aid and voting and firearm rights.