What is the Process to have my Case Expunged?

A Minnesota Expungement Lawyer should know the expungement process backwards and forwards and should be able to guide you from the collection of facts and information to appearing in court.

The first step is to gather as much of the facts and court records as possible and determine if there was a conviction. Some convictions cannot be expunged, but with the passage of time may be sealed. Some convictions can be expunged. Comparing the statute with the level of conviction will determine in most cases if a matter can be expunged.

Cases that did not result in a conviction are almost always expunge-able. What is a conviction? A conviction occurs when the person pleads guilty and the plea is accepted by the court. For example, persons who obtain a Stay of Adjudication are not convicted under Minnesota law. Continuances for dismissal are the same. As such, these cases can be expunged. Stays of imposition are unfortunately convictions and for the purpose of expungement stays of imposition for serious crimes do not reduce the seriousness of the charge. State v. S.A.M.  If you received a stay of imposition of sentence you may want to speak with Martin Azarian about exploring your options.

The second step: Fact Gathering. What was the original charge? Was it serious? What did the person plead guilty to, if at all? When did the plea/conviction take place? Comparing this information with the statute will answer many questions as to when and how to proceed with the motion.

The third step: Interview the client. Get the facts. What has changed with respect to the client since the time of the offense? Did the client successfully complete probation and if so, when? Completion of probation starts the clock with respect to when the expungement petition can be filed. Is the client married now, does he or she have children, complete college or professional school? Judges want to hear how the person has turned his or her life around. Belonging to social, religious or political organizations may help, too. On the other had, did the person commit any new offenses? If so, when and how were they resolved?

The fourth step, and perhaps the most critical, writing the Petition for Expungement. An experienced Expungement Lawyer armed with the facts of the case, his client’s history and law should have no problem writing an expungement motion. But make no mistake, an experienced expungement lawyer should not be using pre-printed court formes. Using court forms often times not enough. In fact, Martin Azarian does not use court forms, they’re too limiting and generic. A well written expungement motion should be hand crafted, tailored to the facts of the case, with many drafts so that the client and attorney can review it together to create the best possible motion in the hope of obtaining the best possible outcome.  Attaching the correct exhibits and possibly an affidavit is critical, too. Jugdes want proof of completion of classes, letters from doctors, medical professionals or therapists. An experienced expungement lawyer can provide these to the judge. Leave these out and the petition may be denied. An Experienced Expungement Lawyer can determine the legal language to be used, arguments to be used, and the exhibits to be attached for the judge to review. All of this is necessary to draft the best possible motion.

The fifth step, which agencies or entities must be served with a copy of the Petition. It is not enough to file it with the court. There are perhaps as many as fifteen agencies or jurisdictions that should be served. Forget one, and the Petition may fail, or what is worse, the person believes the petition is granted and the records sealed only to discover some agency that was never notified of the hearing or petition has your record!

The expungement process is complicated. And obtaining an expungement, with few exceptions, is not a right. An Expungement Lawyer will tell you that granting an expungement motion is at the discretion of the judge. Convince the judge and you may win, fail to do so and you may lose.

An experienced expungement lawyer, Martin Azarian, leaves nothing to chance. Attention to detail and hard work win expungement motions.  Of course, past results are no guarantee of future results.

If you are looking for an experienced Expungement Lawyer with over twenty years of court room experience and a proven track record of winning expungement motions call Martin Azarian at 612-343-9000 or 952-975-0663.