Expungement is a way to seal criminal records. When you are arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime, those records exist in all sorts of places – police reports, citations, court records. And all of those documents are easily searchable by a landlord, a potential employer, or Canadian border patrol officials. If you have been charged with a criminal offense you have likely already seen the impacts it can have on your life. Luckily you don’t need to accept this as your life. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you could have a chance of sealing or expunging your record.
Attorney Randall Kins will take the time to provide the skilled and personalized counsel necessary to achieve your objectives. Mr. Kins has the experience required to handle your expungement case.
Record Sealing vs. Expungement
Record sealing and record expungement are terms that are often used interchangeably but actually refer to two very different things. Record sealing means that the offense still exists in a legal sense, but doesn’t show up in employer or landlord searches. It is still visible for legal purposes but has less of an impact on day to day life.
Expungement, on the other hand, is the full deletion of the charge from your record. It is essentially making it so that you were never charged in the first place.
Sealing all records
Up until 2015, individuals could apply for an expungement and have all judicial records sealed. While helpful, it still left all executive branch records open and searchable, including arrest records and police reports.
In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature broadened the scope of expungement, allowing judges to order the executive branch to seal all records. The judge’s decision follows a hearing in which the offender must petition and prove the value of sealing or expunging their record.
While judges are now allowed to seal all records, not all charges and people are eligible for sealing or expungement. For instance, if the person charged has a prior record of sex offense(s) their record may not be expunged. As far as charges for which expungement is prohibited, all records for offenses that require registration under the Registration of Predatory Offenders Statute. These offenses include murder with forceful criminal sexual misconduct, kidnapping, criminal abuse, and sex trafficking. But if you weren’t charged with one of those offenses, chances are you can apply for an expungement.
In order for a record to be eligible for expungement, the person must meet certain requirements. These include not having any felony or gross misdemeanor convictions in the previous ten years, and the charges in question were dismissed before a determination could be made or the prosecutor didn’t file any charges to begin with. Convicted persons are also eligible for expungement in certain scenarios, with record sealing more accessible than full expungement.
For a record to be sealed or expunged, the charged person is required to prove not only that the charge has negatively impacted their life, but also that they have taken steps towards rehabilitation. It also requires notifying any victims of the offense or the request, giving them the opportunity to object or provide their opinion to the court.
While this process may seem difficult to navigate, a good attorney will be able to guide you through it and give you a good chance of succeeding.
Your best shot
To receive an expungement, you need to prove that the harm caused to you by not being able to get a job or home is greater than the harm that could be caused to the public if your records were sealed. Making a convincing argument is challenging, especially with more serious cases such as gross misdemeanor and felony charges. This is why it is important to have a skilled attorney on your side.
Attorney Randall Kins knows the ins-and-outs of the expungement legislation and can give you your best shot at sealing criminal records. Mr. Kins has years of experience defending people charged with a variety of offenses, with results ranging from penalty reductions to full record expungement and sealing.
Nothing to lose
If you were arrested and charged with or convicted of a crime, the damage has already been done and is likely still causing you harm in your day-to-day life. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by applying for an expungement. With the help of an experienced attorney, the process can go smoothly and you can begin your return to normalcy.
To learn more about your options and discuss your case, contact Sheridan & Dulas, P. A. today and schedule your free consultation.