Expungement is the process of going to court to ask a judge to seal a court record. Usually this is done when a person as been denied a job, housing, or a professional license because of their criminal background.

You may qualify for an expungement if:
  •  the charges against you were dismissed, you were found not guilty, or the case did not otherwise result in a guilty plea of finding, or a conviction
  • You successfully completed the terms of a diversion or stay of adjudication, or were convicted of a crime that qualifies for expungement under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3, and the required amount of time has passed.
  • You were charged with a controlled substance offense - the proceedings have been dismissed and discharged.
  • You were a juvenile prosecuted as an adult.
  • The Board of Pardons has granted you a pardon extraordinary. 

The first step to applying for an expungement is to get your complete criminal case history. You will need this in order to fill out the forms.

You will need a separate set of expungement forms for each Minnesota case that you want to expunge. The set of expungement forms include the (1) Notice of Hearing and Petition for Expungement, (2) Order Concerning Sealing of Records (3) Affidavit of Service. These forms are available from the Court Clerk at the courthouse where the case was handled. Then, make copies of the completed forms you will need for service on each agency and their attorneys (most people need to serve at least 6 agencies, such as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the local police department, etc.).

You are responsible to see that service is done properly. This must be done by having a disinterested third party who is 18 years or older mail a copy of all required documents and complete the Proof of Service.

Make copies of your completed petition and proposed order, address an envelope for each government agency checked on your proof of service form, add postage to send 1st class U.S. mail, as a friend or family member to be your "server," and then have them fill out the Proof of Service form.

After copies of the documents have been served on all required agencies and their attorneys, the Notice of Hearing and Petition for Expungement, the proposed order along with written proof (Proof of Service) that all agencies have been served must be filed with the court administrator's office.

Each agency that you serve with the petition and proposed order has an opportunity to provide information to the court for its consideration of your request. If an agency chooses to provide information to the court, it must send you a copy of what it submits.

You must appear at the hearing with copies of the documents for your own reference. The Judge will then review your petition and any attachments you have submitted. The Judge will also consider any information presented by the prosecutor, any of the various government agencies and any victim. A victim has the right to submit an oral or written statement to the court. You may be required to testify and be cross examined by attorneys for any agency or office that opposes your request.

The Judge may not make a decision at the time of the hearing, and may or may not grant the expungement. The Judge may sign the proposed order that you have provided, or may prepare his or her own order. The Judge may deny expungement if your request does not meet the necessary qualifications even if no one objects.

When the order is signed, the court administrator's office will send a copy of the order to all the agencies named in the order to receive notice. If your request was granted, these agencies have 60 days to appeal the order. If no appeal is filed, and you do not owe any financial obligation, the record will be sealed 60 days after the filing of the order. 


For even more information, visit http://www.mncourts.gov/Help-Topics/Criminal-Expungement.aspx.

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