How a Juvenile Record Expungement Works in Minnesota
9 months ago by Brian
If an adult receives a stay of adjudication, takes part in a diversion program, or is convicted of a charge, they have to wait for a specific period before they’re considered eligible for expungement.
In Minnesota, the expungement process for minors differs from that for adults.
Depending on the severity of the crime and the verdict, a waiting period for an adult expungement may last anywhere from one to five years.
This is because juvenile cases are not usually made part of the public record.
Any minor (a person up to 18 years old) is considered a juvenile offender who has committed an unlawful activity.
This may involve a range of laws – from staying out past curfew to drug possession to the charge of murder.
Cases may cover misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or felonies.
Therefore, most court delinquency cases are not available to the public except for cases involving serious crimes or offenses committed by children over 16 years old.
Likewise, most court cases involving juveniles are closed to the public unless the minor committed a felony and is over 16 years old.
This is also applicable to juvenile certifications for minors over 16 years of age, with some exceptions.
Unlike adult expungements then, Minnesota does not impose a waiting period for minors who wish to expunge a criminal record.
Even though many juvenile records remain confidential, a person may still want to seek help with an expungement.
For example, a petition’s statement of probable cause or the hearing in a felony case are both made part of the public record.
What Exactly Is Expungement?
Expungement involves destroying or sealing a listed conviction from a state or federal criminal record.
Therefore, a defendant attempts to remove the crime from their criminal history and the public record.
Expungement vs Forgiveness
Don’t confuse expungement with forgiveness or a legal pardon. A legal pardon does not entail removing a conviction from a criminal record. State governors, public officials, or the U.S. President may issue legal pardons from time to time.
A court or judge orders an expungement.
In the U.S., most expungement proceedings happen inside a state court. Therefore, expungement orders issued by federal courts are exceptionally rare.
Each state, however, has its own set of rules regarding expunging offenses and the process for application.
Juvenile expungements are quite common because they’re easier to get.
Because there are no waiting periods and the court considers the offender’s age at the time of the crime, filing expungements go through more quickly.
The steps for requesting a juvenile expungement in Minnesota are almost the same as what you follow in an adult case.
In juvenile cases, you need to check the agencies holding the records.
Therefore, a disposition may be transferred to the county where a juvenile lives.
For instance, if a crime, like a burglary, happened in Hennepin County but the juvenile offender lives in Ramsey County, then the trial for the case usually will take place in Hennepin County – until the time of disposition.
After that time, you can have the criminal history moved to the county of residence.
A disposition on a criminal file indicates the current status or final result of an arrest and charge.
For example, a disposition, such as “Convicted,” means the accused person was found guilty or pleaded guilty to a crime.
A disposition of “Acquitted” means the offender was found “not guilty” in a criminal trial.
Therefore, you’ll need to make sure all the agencies involved with the sentencing are served with the expungement.
Unlike an adult expungement, the courts assess juvenile expungements in relation to the offender’s emotional and mental development at the time of the offense.
This is not a factor the court considers for adult expungements.
Like an adult expungement, a juvenile expungement can benefit the offender by giving them more chances to pursue educational and work opportunities.
A Second Chance Law
Minnesota has made some revisions to its expungement law, which is now widely touted as a “second chance law.”
As noted, the legislation is designed to give more opportunities to people seeking housing or jobs – giving them a “second chance” with a clean background.
Therefore, the juvenile court makes it possible for former offenders to pursue education, employment, and housing with the idea of securing a brighter future.
A Preponderance of the Evidence
Unlike adult expungements, juvenile expungements do not need to factor in a clear standard for the burden of proof normally considered in adult cases.
In an adult case, the person seeking expungement must demonstrate why they are entitled to expungement.
Instead, in a juvenile expungement, the court goes by a preponderance of the evidence – less stringent than the adult standard that represents a clear and convincing measure of proof.
Learn More About Your Rights as a Defendant – Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you need a top criminal defense lawyer, contact JS Defense, PA, near Woodbury-St. Paul Minnesota.
Whether you’re seeking legal support in a court case or you wish to expunge a crime from your record, get in touch with a knowledgeable defense lawyer to get the help you need. Call: 651-362-9426.