Hundreds of thousands of people in Minnesota have been convicted of crimes and served their punishments. However, these individuals are facing massive difficulties in trying to secure employment due to their criminal records.
This is partly because Minnesota law does not protect ex-convicts from being discriminated against during the hiring process, and many employers maintain the policy of not hiring anyone with any kind of criminal record. Although the "Ban the Box" legislation of 2013 stopped employers from performing criminal searches before the initial interview, they can still discriminate against ex-criminal offenders.
Changes to expungement laws could help many ex-offenders
Some ex-offenders may be able to get their criminal records cleaned through the legal process called "expungement." Even more promising is the fact that, in January 2015, a new law went into effect that made it easier for people who have been convicted of lower-level felonies, juvenile crimes, misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors to get their records expunged.
If you gave up on getting your criminal records expunged in the past, the current legal climate may be much better for your expungement goals. The 2015 law indicates that certain classifications of ex-offenders are able to apply for expungement two to five years after the completion of their sentencings.
Unexpected challenges can arise during the expungement process
Although the 2015 has helped, it should be noted that individuals whom the court deems to be victims of the the ex-offender's crimes will have the right to give their opinion on the expungement process. This could negatively affect the success of the process. A host of other unexpected circumstances could also arise, which will need to be addressed both strategically and with care. For this reason, ex-offenders may want to obtain the help of an experienced criminal law attorney when filing for expungement.
How can a lawyer help with expungement?
The expungement process is a lot more complicated than simply filling out a form. In order to be successful, applicants need to meet very specific legal requirements. Also, a lot of facts and information will need to be compiled, organized and prepared in order to increase the applicant's chances of success. Fortunately, a criminal law attorney experienced with expungement will know exactly what the requirements for expungement are and the most appropriate way to present an individual's case before the court.