Have you been arrested? Gotten a citation? Do you have a criminal record that is holding you back from living your best life? If so, you may have considered trying to get your record expunged.

Expungement can feel like a fresh start – a clean slate. But it comes with limitations. An expunged record doesn’t just disappear. So, who can still see your expunged criminal record, and what are the restrictions around it? Let’s go through the details.

What Exactly is an Expunged Record?

First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what expungement means. When a record is expunged, the arrest or conviction is essentially hidden from public view. It’s not erased – court documents and records still exist in archives and databases. But expungement seals them from being accessed without a court order.

An expunged record is different from a sealed record. Sealing limits access, while expungement changes the record to show no conviction. This is preferred, but eligibility for expungement depends on state laws.

Why Get a Record Expunged in the First Place?

People typically want their records expunged to get a fresh start and increased opportunities. With an expunged record, you may be able to:

  • Pass background checks for jobs, housing, loans, etc.
  • Qualify for professional licenses
  • Pursue educational programs
  • Volunteer where background checks are required
  • Adopt a child
  • Regain custody rights
  • Restore gun ownership eligibility

Expungement aims to remove the past from holding you back in the future. But it’s not a cure-all solution.

Who Can Still Access Expunged Records?

While expunged records are meant to be confidential, certain agencies and officials can still access them in Minnesota.

Law Enforcement Agencies

Police, prosecutors, and other law enforcement can access expunged criminal records. This allows them to see your full history if you face new charges or investigations.

Records sealed at the state level may still be available through federal agencies like the FBI. Their databases are separate from state records.

Licensing Boards and Regulatory Agencies

The licensing board or regulatory agency often conducts thorough background checks for jobs or careers requiring professional licenses. This ensures applicants meet all ethical and legal standards.

So, while an expunged record may not show up on an employer background check, it could still appear for licensing purposes.

Schools and Government Employers

Public schools, government agencies, and other public employers can request access to sealed records for hiring purposes – especially when working with children or vulnerable people.

Limitations to Understand

While expungement can open new doors, it has distinct limitations in Minnesota that you should understand.

Expunged ≠ Erased

Records still exist in archives and databases – they are just hidden from public view. There is still a chance private background check companies could find records not properly sealed.

Varies by State

Each state has its own unique laws regarding record expungement eligibility, process, and treatment. What flies in Minnesota may be different across state lines.

Still Must Disclose if Asked

While expunged records are intended to be confidential, you may still have to disclose them if asked directly on an application or by an employer or official.

Is Expungement Right for You?

As you can see, expungement comes with advantages and disadvantages. The process can be complex, with eligibility varying case by case.

That’s why consulting an experienced expungement attorney is so valuable. They can review your specific situation, advise if you qualify for expungement, and walk you through the process to seal records properly.

This helps avoid future hassles with background checks, employment, housing applications, and more. An attorney ensures you can truly clear your record and start fresh.

Get a Fresh Start With a Criminal Record Expungement

Expungements make your criminal record inaccessible to the general public, allowing you to legally say you have not been convicted of a crime in most settings. This unleashes a new world of opportunities when it comes to seeking employment, housing, higher education, and more. 

The Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys at Martine Law have the experience to take the confusion out of expungement. They know Minnesota law and will fight to clear your record so you can move forward. Don’t wait – contact their team today to schedule your case review!