Minnesota Expungement - Now Is the Time

Posted On October 07, 2015

I sat in on an expungement calendar recently (a court session dedicated to hearing expungement petitions) to get a sense of how Minnesota's new law is playing out in the courts.

Three things I learned from that calendar:

DWIs are expungable. I saw the judge grant an expungement petition for a gross misdemeanor DWI. That expunged DWI will not appear on a criminal record or a criminal background check. The State will still have the ability to use expunged DWIs for enhancement purposes in the event that an individual commits another DWI offense. The expungement liberates the individual from discrimination and collateral consequences based solely on the existence of a criminal record, without diminishing the power of the State under DWI law.

For convictions and stayed sentences, the length of time that must pass before you are eligible to apply for a statutory expungement starts upon discharge of the sentence for the crime (i.e., the date of discharge from probation - not the date of offense, conviction, or release from confinement).

Level of offense


Minimum time required to be eligible for statutory expungement

When time period starts

Criteria during that time

Minn. Stat. §


Petty misdemeanor/ Misdemeanor

Conviction or stayed sentence

(See here for other dispositions)

2 years

Discharge of sentence (discharge from probation)

No new criminal convictions

Subd. 3(a)(3)

Gross misdemeanor

4 years

Subd. 3(a)(4)

Felony (eligible offenses listed in Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(b))

5 years

Subd. 3(a)(5)

Your official discharge of sentence will not occur until your fees and fines have been paid. Even if you completed probation years ago, you will not receive formal discharge (the expungement eligibility clock will not start running) until you've paid in full, or the financial obligation has been resolved through the collections process, which usually takes years.

Check your record to make sure you have been formally discharged from probation.

These three tips, while helpful, are no substitute for legal counsel. If you meet the above criteria, and you're ready to proceed with expungement, contact an attorney.