Minnesota Expungement Analysis
Before getting into the factors the court will analyze when making its decision, it is critical to understand who carries the burden of proof and what the standard is.
Burden of Proof
There are two burdens of proof, depending on who bears the burden. If a petitioner moves for an expungement on grounds that it was resolved in their favor or they completed a diversion program or stay of adjudication, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the burden to the public in not having the records outweighs the disadvantage to the petitioner in not having the records sealed. When trying to seal a conviction, the petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the benefit to them is commensurate with the public’s burden. Note the subtle difference between the two (highlighted in italics).
Factors and Analysis
The law lists out 12 factors the courts will now consider when balancing your benefit against the need of the public to have complete and accurate records:
- The nature and severity of the underlying crime;
- The risk, if any, you pose to the public;
- The length of time since the crime occurred;
- The steps you’ve taken toward rehabilitation following the crime;
- Aggravating or mitigating factors relating to the underlying crime – including your level of participation in the crime, and the context and circumstances of the crime;
- The reasons for the expungement, including your attempts to obtain employment, housing, or other necessities;
- Your criminal record;
- Your record of employment and community involvement;
- Any recommendations of interested law enforcement, prosecution, and corrections officials;
- Recommendations of any victims;
- The amount of any outstanding restitution and, if there is any outstanding restitution, your efforts to make payments or set up a payment plan; and
- Other factors deemed relevant by the court.
Not one of these factors is supposed to be more important than the others. With that being said, old habits will die hard and courts typically like to see that the petitioner both needs and deserves the expungement.
It is best if the petitioner can demonstrate that they have, in fact, been burdened by the criminal record. This is typically shown by being denied housing, not getting a job or even having a job offer rescinded once a background check is performed, being denied a professional license, and/or being denied the education they need to further their career.
A petitioner is deserving of the expungement when they can prove to the court that their troubled past is behind them. This can be demonstrated through his or her completion of appropriate treatment or counseling, getting further education, volunteering in the community, becoming active in their church, helping at their children’s school or extra-curricular events, etc.
An experienced and knowledgeable Minnesota expungement attorney knows how to take a mediocre case and make it a very solid case. And the key is to help build the case in order to positively address as many of the twelve factors as possible. Contact North Star Criminal Defense now to get us started on improving your case.