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Expungement: Eligibility if Convicted of a Felony

We recently highlighted the process of  criminal expungement. As noted in that article, not all crimes are eligible for expungement.  A felony-level conviction is eligible only if it is listed in the expungement statute itself.  But most petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors qualify for expungement after a period of time.

So what happens if you are convicted of a felony-level crime that is not listed in the expungement statute but, because of a favorable sentence like a stay of imposition, the conviction is deemed a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor after successful completion of probation?  Are you eligible for expungement because the crime was deemed a misdemeanor, or are you ineligible for expungement because you were convicted of a felony-level crime not listed in the expungement statute?

According to a recent opinion from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, a person in this situation is NOT eligible for expungement.  The case can be accessed here: State v. S.A.M., No. A15-0950 (Minn. App. Mar. 21, 2016).  The practical implications of this case foreclose the possibility of expungement for certain offenders.  But it also provides further clarification and consideration when contemplating a guilty plea.  By pleading guilty to a felony-level crime that cannot be expunged, you cannot later seek expungement even if the crime is deemed a misdemeanor.

If you have questions about this case, expungement, or if you wish to seek expungement of your own criminal records, please call Joe Gangi or Paul Moosbrugger at 507-625-2525.

 

This webpage contains general information and not legal advice. It is based on Minnesota law in effect at the time of writing. An attorney at Farrish Johnson can advise you about how the law applies to your specific situation.