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Criminal Expungement

Expungement is the process of going to court to ask a judge to seal a court record. Expungement does not destroy a record. Instead, an expunged record is removed from public view (sealed).

NOTE: Changes were recently made to the MN criminal expungement laws. Some of these changes will go into effect July 1, 2023 and some August 1, 2023. If you are not sure how these changes may affect your case, you should talk to a lawyer.

Below is a brief overview of the criminal expungement process, including the juvenile delinquency process, in MN District Court. Read through the Definitions tab for commonly used words. Read through the Criminal Expungement and Juvenile Delinquency Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) tabs for detailed information about the criminal expungement process.

You can ask for expungement of different court records, including juvenile delinquency records, criminal records, housing eviction records, and civil commitment records. This Help Topic only covers juvenile delinquency and criminal expungement. 

It is important to know that expunging a juvenile delinquency or criminal record does NOT destroy the record. The police, law enforcement agencies, FBI, immigration, and other public officials may still see documents from an expunged juvenile delinquency or criminal court case for certain purposes. Usually, people ask for expungement when they have been denied a job, housing, or a professional license because of a background check.

To be found not guilty of a crime by a jury or judicial officer.
 

When the juvenile court finds that a child committed a juvenile offense.
When a person is restrained or taken into custody so they may be held to answer for a public offense. An arrest can, but does not always, result in a person being charged and/or prosecuted.

When a child is tried as an adult for an offense they have been charged with. When this happens, the juvenile court’s jurisdiction over the case ends, and the case is transferred to adult criminal court.

An agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant to not move forward with prosecution of a case for a set amount of time. If the defendant follows the terms of the agreement and does not get any new charges within the agreed-upon time, then the case will be dismissed.

To be found guilty of a crime through a guilty plea or by a jury or judicial officer after trial.

An act not allowed by law that may be punished by imprisonment and/or a fine.
 

A person charged with a crime.
 

The ending of a criminal or juvenile delinquency case prior to trial or verdict that stops the proceedings against the defendant or juvenile offender.

A program that refers certain defendants or juvenile offenders (for example, those with no prior criminal or adjudication history, no prior diversion, no prior felonies, not a violent criminal offense, etc.) before trial to community programs such as job training or education which, if successfully completed, may lead to dismissal of the case.

A serious crime which can be punished by incarceration for a period of more than one year.

A crime that can be punished by incarceration of up to 364 days and/or a fine up to $3,000.

An agency at the state, county, or city level that enforces laws, makes arrests, and investigates crimes.
 

A crime that can be punished by incarceration of less than 90 days and/or a fine up to $1,000.

A response by an agency (for example, the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, County Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, etc.) to a person’s expungement petition/proposed order. Objections may be done by sending a letter to the court (with a copy sent to the person seeking expungement) or they can be raised at the court hearing.

When the Board of Pardons unanimously agrees to forgive a person convicted of a crime, so that any remaining penalties or punishments are removed and the convicted person is treated as innocent. The MN Board of Pardons is made up of the MN Governor, Attorney General, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

An act that can be punished by a fine not more than $300 that is not considered to be a crime.

A penalty as part of a criminal or juvenile delinquency sentence where the defendant/offender is ordered to follow set conditions to prevent future criminal behavior. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised.

An attorney working on behalf of the government to prove that a person committed a crime.

Occurs following a guilty plea when the court withholds entering a conviction or adjudication if the defendant follows certain conditions (for example, probation, community service, fines, treatment, restitution, etc.). If the defendant successfully completes these conditions, the case is dismissed.

Occurs following a guilty plea to a particular level of offense. If the defendant agrees to follow certain conditions (for example, probation, community service, fines, treatment, restitution, etc.) and successfully completes the conditions, the conviction is dropped to a lower level (for example, Gross Misdemeanor to Misdemeanor). If the defendant does not successfully complete the conditions, the court can vacate the stay of imposition.

General Criminal Expungement Questions

New laws were recently passed in MN that make certain criminal cases eligible for automatic expungement. The court has already started the process of automatically expunging certain cases. If you are not able to find records related to your criminal case, it may have already been expunged by the court automatically. See the “Automatic Expungement” section below for more information.

If your case has not already been automatically expunged, is not eligible for automatic expungement, or you need expungement relief beyond what is provided with automatic expungement (for example, you want the Department of Human Services to be included in the expungement order), you may need to file a petition with the court to ask for your records to be expunged. See the “Petitioning for Expungement” section below for more information.

A crime is an act not allowed by law.  A person convicted of a crime may be punished by imprisonment and/or a fine. Minn. Stat. § 609.02 defines a crime as follows:

  • Felony - punished by imprisonment for a period of more than one year;
  • Gross Misdemeanor - punished by imprisonment for a period of up to 364 days and/or a fine up to $3,000; and
  • Misdemeanor - punished by imprisonment of less than 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

NOTE: A petty misdemeanor is not considered a crime under MN law. Imprisonment cannot be ordered for a petty misdemeanor, only a fine of not more than $300.

 

Your complete MN criminal record is a combination of all of the files and records of any felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or petty misdemeanor ever charged against you in MN. Your record will also include the sentences served for those charges, if any. Every city, county, and state law enforcement agency, prosecutor's office, and court keeps its own records.

Many government offices keep criminal records, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Courts have records of all cases where criminal charges were brought;
  • Police keep records of arrests and investigations;
  • Prosecutors (city attorney, county attorney, attorney general) have records of criminal cases;
  • State agencies like the MN Department of Human Services (MN DHS) may keep records; and
  • Law enforcement agencies (police, State Patrol, etc.) send records to the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

In MN, the most common places to get a copy of your criminal record are the District Court and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Under MN law, a crime includes a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. A petty misdemeanor is not a crime according to Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 4(a), but such cases will still show on your criminal case history.
 

Court Records

To ask for criminal expungement, you will need specific details for all court cases where you were charged with a crime, including cases where you were not convicted. This includes State and Federal criminal court cases, as well as cases in other countries. For MN District Court cases, details are listed in the "Register of Actions" for the case, which you can get from court administration, a public records terminal at the courthouse, or the MN Court Records Online (MRO) (online court records) system.
 

Criminal Records at Other Agencies

Law enforcement agencies are required to report certain details about crimes to the BCA, so you should also get the details of your criminal record on file at the BCA. The BCA criminal record may be different from your criminal court record. Visit the BCA Criminal History Records website to find out how you can search and get copies of BCA records. You can also contact the BCA at:

MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
1430 Maryland Avenue
CJIS Section
St. Paul, MN 55106
(651) 793-2400

If you had a criminal case in another state, contact that court directly to get your criminal record information. You may also want to contact the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) if you are not sure what cases you have in other states. The FBI mailing address is:

FBI-CJIS Division - Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, VA 26306
(304) 625-5590

The MN Judicial Branch’s case record system groups criminal, traffic, and petty misdemeanor cases together. This means your criminal case history from the District Court (court record) will include all traffic cases regardless of the level of offense.

However, driving records are different than court records and are held by the MN Department of Public Safety: Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS). If you have traffic cases that are making it hard for you to get a commercial driver’s license for a job or that are raising your car insurance premiums, it is likely your driving record that is causing these problems. Contact DVS directly to ask whether something can be removed from your driving record.

You can ask the court to seal any criminal court record if you meet the standards under the law. However, because the MN Department of Public Safety: Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) is in charge of maintaining your driving record, the court may not be able to order your driving record to be expunged. If you want to ask the court to expunge your driving record, it is strongly encouraged that you get legal advice from an attorney. You can also contact DVS directly to ask whether something can be removed or sealed from your driving record through DVS.

The type of crime charged, your name, the name of the court that convicted or dismissed the charges, the date of conviction or dismissal, a description of the sentence served, if any, and other details of the crime and court process.

Yes. In MN, any person can search District Court records.
 

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) also maintains criminal records, and law enforcement agencies throughout the state report information to the BCA. The BCA has a "statewide" computerized record of criminal cases, made up of public and private records. Employers or landlords can access the public records, and with written permission from you before doing the search, they may also see your private criminal record. The BCA private records include juvenile criminal history, and may also include details about when you were arrested. Contact the BCA directly to learn more about their policies and procedures on records.

Yes. You have a public criminal record that says you were charged with a crime and that your charge was later dismissed.

In MN, most juvenile delinquency cases are not viewable by the public. If the offense would be a felony if committed by an adult, and if the juvenile was at least 16 years old when the offense occurred, that record may be viewed by the public.

It is possible for juvenile delinquency records to be expunged, but the forms and procedures for expunging a juvenile case are different than the general criminal expungement forms and procedures discussed here. The MN Judicial Branch does not publish forms for petitioning for juvenile delinquency records to be expunged. If you would like to ask for your juvenile records to be expunged, you may be able to get forms from an attorney or a legal publisher, or you could check with your local court administrator to find out if they have juvenile expungement forms at your county courthouse. Your local law library may also have sample juvenile expungement forms.

All MN District Court records are viewable by the public and remain on your record unless sealed by law or court order or destroyed per MN Judicial Branch retention schedules.

What is Expungement?

If your case meets the requirements under the law, the court has the authority to seal court records as well as records held by many government agencies. This is commonly referred to as a "full expungement," and the records held not only by the court, but also by the police, prosecutor’s office, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and/or other government agencies can be ordered to be sealed.

A judge only has the authority to order other government agencies to seal their records when a case meets the requirements of Minn. Stat. § 609A.02 (see "Does my case qualify for a full expungement?" below for more information). If a case does not meet these requirements (for example, not enough time has passed since you were discharged from probation), the judge still has the discretion to order the court records alone to be sealed.

If you are granted a partial expungement and your court records are sealed, records held by other government agencies will still be public information. Depending on what records a particular background check looks at, a partial expungement of your court records may or may not help you with getting employment, housing, etc. If you are not sure whether a partial expungement will be helpful in your situation, it is a good idea to get some legal advice.

Minn. Stat. ch. § 609A is that law that talks about the criminal expungement process. Even if your case meets the requirements under the law, the judge makes the final decision on whether or not to seal your case(s) and whether to order a full or partial expungement. If you want to know what might happen in your case or whether your case(s) qualifies for a full or partial expungement, you are strongly encouraged to get legal advice from an attorney.

NOTE: Expungement is never allowed in cases where registration as a predatory offender is required (Minn. Stat. 609A.02, subd. 4).

Minn. Stat. § 609A.02 lists the specific situations when a court has the authority to seal all government-held records (full expungement). The list includes:

  • some first-time drug possession offenses resolved under certain laws;
  • offenses committed by juveniles who were prosecuted in adult criminal court;
  • cases that were resolved in your favor (for example, you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed); and
  • some offenses with convictions (for example, you pleaded guilty or were found guilty).

Non-Felonies:

Convictions for petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors may be eligible for full expungement depending on:

  • what crime you were convicted of;
  • how much time has passed since your sentence was discharged; and
  • other cases that are on your criminal history.

Felonies: Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3 lists the specific types of felony crimes that may qualify for full expungement. NOTE: This statute was recently changed.

If you have a conviction on your record, please read Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3 carefully and talk to a lawyer if you are not sure whether your case will qualify for a full expungement.

 

There is no guarantee that the judge will grant an expungement, even if your case technically qualifies for a "full expungement." You need to prove to the judge that the benefit to you in sealing your case is at least equal to the disadvantage to the public in not being able to see your criminal record. In making this decision the court uses the following factors:

  • The nature and severity of the underlying crime;
  • The risk, if any, you may pose to individuals or society;
  • The length of time since the crime happened;
  • The steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself following the crime;
  • Aggravating or mitigating factors (what was happening at the time) related to the crime, including your level of participation and context and circumstances of the crime;
  • The reasons you are asking for expungement, including your attempts to obtain employment, housing, or other necessities;
  • Your entire criminal record;
  • Your record of employment and community involvement;
  • The recommendations of interested law enforcement, prosecutorial, and corrections officials;
  • The recommendations of victims or whether victims of the underlying crime were minors;
  • The efforts you are making now or have made in the past to pay any outstanding restitution; and
  • Other factors deemed relevant by the court.

Expungement involves completing court forms, serving them on agencies who have records of your case, filing paperwork with the court, and typically, having a court hearing. The process takes at least 4-6 months. If you do not understand the forms or procedures for expungement, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer.

Petitioning for Expungement

If your case has not already been automatically expunged, is not eligible for automatic expungement, or you need expungement relief beyond what is provided with automatic expungement (for example, you want the Department of Human Services to be included in the expungement order), you may need to file a petition with the court to ask for your records to be expunged.

The MN Judicial Branch has created a helpful video on How to File for a Criminal Expungement to explain the process, including how to fill out the forms and complete service and filing.

You can also visit the Forms tab to learn more about the steps you need to complete to ask for expungement.

A filing fee is not required for cases that were resolved in your favor. This includes cases where you were not convicted, not found guilty, and did not plead guilty, or you were exonerated under Minn. Stat. § 590.11. 

A filing fee is required for cases where you were found guilty by the court or entered a guilty plea, even if you were not convicted or that conviction was later vacated. See Minn. Stat. § 609A.03If you have a low income, receive public assistance, or otherwise cannot afford the filing fees, you may qualify for a fee waiver. Visit the Fee Waiver Help Topic for more information.

You can ask for an expungement on your own, but it is a complex process. You may want to consider looking for an attorney to help you. If you have a lower income, you may be eligible for help from legal aid offices or volunteer attorneys. You also have the right to talk to or hire a private attorney. If free legal help is not available to you and you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you may choose to represent yourself.

 

You must go to a hearing in court to ask for expungement, unless you get a notice from the court that tells you that you do not have to attend a hearing. At your hearing, you have the opportunity to tell the judge why you need the expungement.

The government agencies you served and their attorneys have the right to object to your expungement at any time before or at the hearing. If they object before the hearing, they often send a letter to the judge with a copy to you. An objection does not mean that your expungement will be denied; only the judge can make the final decision. You should be prepared to respond to concerns raised by any objecting party at the hearing. If you receive one or more objection letters, it is a good idea to get legal advice.

Check with your District Court to see where your hearing will be located.

Appearing in court is a very important part of a case, and all parties are expected to arrive early, dress properly, and act respectfully. Read "Tips for Your Day in Court" on how to prepare for your court hearing.

The criminal expungement process takes at least 4-6 months. By law, the court hearing to consider your request has to be held at least 63 days after your forms are served to the government agencies. The judge then has up to 90 days from the date of the hearing to make a decision on your case. If the judge grants the expungement, another 60 days will pass before the court can seal your record.

Starting August 1, 2023, certain criminal cases will become eligible for automatic expungement. The timelines for automatic expungement will be different. More information about this process will be added when available.

After the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to expunge your record, and the court will send you a written decision called an order. The judge has up to 90 days from the date of the hearing to issue an order, and if the judge grants the expungement the record will not be officially sealed until 60 days after the order.

If your request for expungement is denied, you should get legal advice about your options.

 

Automatic Expungement

New laws were recently passed in MN that make certain criminal cases eligible for automatic expungements. These include:
 
  • Offenses covered by the Cannabis Act (effective August 1, 2023):
    • Minn. Stat. § 609A.055 creates new provisions for the automatic expungement of certain offenses covered by the Cannabis Act where there was a dismissal or other resolution in the defendant’s favor, or a conviction for nonfelony offenses covered by the Cannabis Act.
      • The law requires the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to identify records that qualify for automatic expungement.
      • Please also note: Automatic expungement under this law does not include expungement of records held at the Department of Human Services or other state agencies. If you want to request an expungement order under Minn. Stat. § 609A.03 that can be directed to additional local and state agencies, including the Department of Human Services, you must petition using the Expungement (Sealing) of a Criminal Record packet instead.
      • If you have questions about whether your case qualifies for an automatic expungement, you should talk to a lawyer.
    • Minn. Stat. § 609A.06 discusses the expungement and resentencing of gross misdemeanor and felony cannabis cases where there was a stay of adjudication or a gross misdemeanor or felony conviction.
      • These offenses are not eligible for automatic expungement but would be considered by a new Cannabis Expungement Board. The board will review records to decide whether the crime a person was convicted of or received a stay of adjudication for would either be a lesser offense or no longer be a crime under the new laws. They will also decide whether the conviction should be vacated, charges dismissed, and records expunged, or whether the defendant should be resentenced to a lesser offense. The law requires the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to identify records of that should be reviewed by the board.
  • Mistaken identity (effective August 1, 2023):
    • Minn. Stat. § 609A.017 makes cases eligible for automatic expungement if, before a conviction, the prosecutor decides that a defendant was issued a citation, charged, indicted, or otherwise prosecuted due to mistaken identity. After the prosecutor specifically asks the court to dismiss the case because of mistaken identity, the statute directs that a court issue an order of expungement.
If you have questions about whether your case qualifies for an automatic expungement, you should talk to a lawyer.
Under Minn. Stat. § 609A.25, the prosecuting authority may agree to the sealing of a criminal record. If they agree, the court shall seal a person’s criminal record without the filing of a petition unless the court determines “that the interests of the public and public safety in keeping the record public outweigh the disadvantages” to the person requesting expungement. 
 
You can find out if you are eligible for assistance with the expungement process from the prosecutor's office by completing an online application. For more information, including links to the online applications, review the resources below.
 
For Hennepin County
For Ramsey County
For Washington County
For all other MN counties

After an Expungement

Sealed cases can be reopened in certain types of employment checks, including checks done by criminal justice agencies, human services, and Department of Education jobs. Sealed cases can also be reopened for criminal investigations and for sentencing or probations services, or for other reasons by a court order. If you need to gain access to documents in your sealed criminal case, you make that request by filling out the  Petition for Access to Confidential or Sealed File and the Order for Access to Confidential or Sealed File.

 

By law, the state is required to do background checks on people who want to work in "direct care" jobs, such as jobs in healthcare, child care, foster care, or nursing homes. Certain offenses on a criminal record can disqualify someone from being able to work in this kind of job for a period of time, or sometimes even permanently. See Minn. Stat. § 245C.15.

If the MN Department of Human Services or the MN Department of Health find one or more of these criminal offenses when they run a background check on you, they will send you a disqualification letter with a deadline for appealing their decision. If you receive this kind of a letter, it is a good idea to talk with a lawyer before the deadline passes.

For more information on this issue, read the published by the MN Legal Services Coalition.

Maybe. See "Does my case qualify for a full expungement?" above. If you would like to ask that records at the MN Department of Human Services be expunged, it is strongly encouraged that you talk with a lawyer.

Alternatives to MN Expungement

The process and steps for criminal expungement vary from state to state, and some states do not allow criminal records to be sealed. If you have a criminal record outside of MN that you want sealed, you will need to look into that state’s laws and consider getting legal advice from an attorney that practices in that state.

 

A court record will not exist from an arrest where you were not charged with a crime. Law enforcement agencies and the BCA, however, may have records of the arrest. There is a non-court process for sealing arrest records. See Expunge Arrest Records for more details.

 

In MN, a pardon is the use of the executive power of the Governor to forgive a person convicted of a crime, so that any remaining penalties or punishments are removed and the convicted person is treated as innocent. The MN Board of Pardons is governed by the law at Minn. Stat. § ch. 638, and its members include the: The board has the power to grant pardons in certain criminal cases under set conditions. If you have questions about the pardon application process, you may contact the Board of Pardons office at (651) 361-7171. This is not a court process, so if you need help asking for a pardon, you should talk with a lawyer.

 

A pardon is different from an expungement. If you are granted a pardon, your case will still be public.

 

Delinquency cases include any felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or petty misdemeanor offenses allegedly committed by a person less than eighteen (18) years old. Traffic offenses committed by a minor are typically not included.

Juvenile records are created as minors interact with the justice system through arrests, charges, etc. These records may be created and kept by the court, law enforcement agencies, the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), prosecutor’s offices, and correctional/probation offices. Juvenile records may also be shared between government agencies as allowed by law—for example, between the court and the MN Department of Human Services as part of a background study for employment or licensing.

When you are charged with an offense, a court case is created in the county where the offense happened. In juvenile delinquency cases, if the county where the offense happened is different than the county where you live, the case is often transferred to your home county. This creates a new court case, which results in two separate court records.

The general rule is that delinquency records are private. This means that the subject of the record (you) can access this data, but the public cannot. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, juvenile delinquency records may be shared between government agencies as allowed by law. Also, if the offense would be considered a felony if committed by an adult, and if you were 16 or older when the offense happened, that record may be viewed by the public.

If you have been disqualified from a job by the MN Department of Human Services (DHS) or the MN Department of Health (MDH) due to your juvenile delinquency record, you may have the option of seeking expungement to remove the disqualification. For other options, review the LawHelpMN Job Disqualifications fact sheet.

There is no guarantee that the judicial officer will grant an expungement. You need to prove to the judicial officer that the benefit to you in sealing your case is greater than the disadvantage (harm) to the public in not being able to see your juvenile record. The factors the court uses to decide whether to grant an expungement include:
 
  • Your age, education, experience, background, and mental and emotional development at the time of the offense;
  • The circumstances, nature, and severity of the offense, including any aggravating or mitigating factors (what was happening at the time that either lowers or raises your blame in the crime);
  • The impact the offense had on the community and the victim, including the age and vulnerability of the victim;
  • How much you participated in the offense, including planning and carrying out the offense, and how much your family or peers influenced you;
  • Your entire juvenile delinquency and adult criminal record;
  • Whether you participated in any child welfare, school, or community-based programs and/or probation interventions, and your willingness to meaningfully participate in them;
  • Any other factors that affect your level of guilt or potential for rehabilitation;
  • How much an expungement would improve your chances of education, employment, housing, or anything else.

A “partial expungement” happens when the judicial officer orders that only the court records should be sealed. If this happens, other government agencies, such as the police, the prosecutor’s office, the MN Department of Human Services, and the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will still be able to see, use, and share the record as allowed by law.

A “full expungement” happens when the judicial officer orders that court records and also records held by other government agencies should be sealed. Please keep in mind that the judicial officer may still exclude some government agencies even when they grant a full expungement.

You can file for juvenile delinquency expungement at any time. However, a judicial officer will review your entire juvenile delinquency and criminal history and may deny a request for expungement if you have any open cases (for example, if you are still on probation, or if you have outstanding fees).

Expungement petitions are filed into the case you are trying to expunge. If your juvenile case started in one county but was transferred to a different county, you typically need to file a petition for expungement into each case. Expungement of a case in one county does not seal the related case in the other county.

To ask for expungement of a juvenile delinquency case, you will need copies of your entire juvenile delinquency record and your entire adult criminal record, including information about cases you are not looking to expunge. This includes all court cases where you were charged with a criminal offense, even if it was dismissed. It also includes cases from any other state, federal cases, or cases from other countries.

  • Juvenile Court Records
You can get copies of your MN juvenile delinquency court records by contacting court administration in the county where the case was filed. If you have juvenile delinquency records in more than one county, you will need to contact each county.

 

  • Adult Criminal Court Records

You can get copies of your MN adult criminal court records by contacting court administration in the county where the case is filed or from a public records terminal at any courthouse. You may also be able to access certain documents from your case through MN Court Records Online (MCRO). Do not rely on the information listed in MN Public Access (MPA) Remote (online court records), as that information is not as detailed.
 

  • Records at Other Agencies

Law enforcement agencies are required to report certain details about criminal offenses to the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), so you should also get the details of your record on file at the BCA. Your BCA record may be different from your court record. Visit the BCA Criminal History Records website to find out how you can search and get copies of BCA records. You can also contact the BCA at:

MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
1430 Maryland Avenue
CJIS Section
St. Paul, MN 55106
(651) 793-2400
 

  • Records from Other States

If you had a juvenile delinquency or criminal case in another state, contact that court directly to get your record information. You may also want to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) if you are not sure what cases you have in other states: 

FBI-CJIS Division - Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, VA 26306
(304) 625-5590

Generally, there is no filing fee to file for expungement of a juvenile delinquency record. However, if you were certified as an adult and a criminal record was created, there may be a fee to file for expungement of the adult criminal record. Review the Criminal Expungement FAQ “Will I have to pay a filing fee for my expungement request?” for more information.

The expungement process typically takes at least 4-6 months. This is because the hearing to consider your request must take place at least 63 days after you serve your forms on the government agencies. The judicial officer then has up to 90 days from the date of the hearing to make a decision. If the judicial officer grants the expungement, another 60 days must pass to allow time for appeals before the court can expunge your record. If any appeals are filed, the expungement process will likely take longer.

The government agencies you served and their attorneys have the right to object to your expungement request at any time before or at the hearing. An objection does not mean that your expungement will definitely be denied, but it is a factor that the judicial officer will consider when making the final decision about your expungement. You should still plan to attend your hearing and be prepared to respond to objections raised by any party or agency. If you aren't sure how to respond, you should talk to a lawyer.

At the hearing, which may be virtual or in-person, you have the chance to tell the judicial officer why you need the expungement. You will also be able to respond to any objections raised by the government agencies that you served. Remember, the attorneys representing the government agencies may appear at the hearing to object to your expungement request. Review the Going to Help Court Help Topic for more information about preparing for your court hearing.

After the hearing, the judicial officer will decide whether to expunge your record, and the court will send you a written decision called an order. Make sure the court has your current mailing address.

The judicial officer has up to 90 days from the date of the hearing to issue an order. If the judicial officer grants the expungement, the record will be kept open for another 60 days to allow time for any appeals. If an appeal is not filed within 60 days, the court will seal your record. It is very important that you keep a copy of the order granting expungement for your records, as you will not be able to easily request a copy once the case has been sealed.

If the judicial officer denies the expungement, you may want to talk to a lawyer about your options.

Sealed cases can be reopened in certain types of employment checks, including checks done by criminal justice agencies, human services, and Department of Education jobs. Sealed cases can also be reopened for criminal investigations and for sentencing or probations services, or for other reasons by a court order. If you need to gain access to documents in your sealed criminal case, you make that request by filling out the Petition for Access to Confidential or Sealed File and the Order for Access to Confidential or Sealed File.

No, expunging a record will not restore your ability to possess a firearm. If you lost your firearm rights due to a delinquency or criminal record, you may petition the court to restore that right. For more information see the Firearms Help Topic.

Videos

How to File for a Criminal Expungement*

NOTE: The forms covered in these videos have recently changed. The videos are still a helpful guide, but keep in mind that the forms no longer match exactly. Updated videos will be released when available.
 

The MN Judicial Branch has created a video to explain the criminal expungement process, including how to fill out the forms, service, and filing. The video has 16 separate chapters, so you can view individual chapters or the entire video. 
 
*This video is on YouTube. The MN Judicial Branch and the Statewide Self-Help Center are not responsible for any content found on YouTube other than the Criminal Expungement video listed above. Videos are provided for general education purposes by the Statewide Self-Help Center.
 

Forms

You can download Criminal Expungement Forms or you can access the forms along with your criminal case history at your local courthouse.

The MN Judicial Branch does not publish statewide forms for expunging a juvenile delinquency case. You can ask a law library if they have forms, contact a legal forms publisher, or talk to a lawyer.
 
Juvenile delinquency expungement forms (4th District) – approved for Hennepin County District Court use only.
 
If your case is not filed in Hennepin County District Court and you want to use these forms, you MUST edit the forms for use in your county and judicial district. Check with your local court administration about the specific procedures for that district.
 

Get Help with Criminal Expungement

Visit Legal Advice Clinics & Self-Help Centers available in your area. If you have a low income, you be qualify for help from a legal aid office or volunteer attorney.
 
Laws & Rules on Juvenile Delinquency and Criminal Expungement
The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that deal with juvenile delinquency and criminal expungement in MN. See also Laws, Rules & Legal Research. If you were arrested but not charged with a crime, there will not be a court record for that event. Law enforcement agencies and the BCA, however, may have records of the arrest. There is a non-court process for sealing arrest records. See Expunge Arrest Records for more details.

You can get more help with your legal research at your local law library. Talk with a lawyer if you want to know how the laws and rules may affect your case.
 
Resources on Criminal Expungement