BCA Interpretation of Expungement Wait Time Overruled

On January 2, 2018, in State of Minnesota vs. C. W. N., the Minnesota appellate court interpreted the state expungement law’s wait times. Minnesota Statute 609A.02 provides that petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor criminal records may be expunged or sealed as long as the person “has not been convicted of a new crime for at least two years since discharge of the sentence for the crime.” The same goes for gross misdemeanors, but with a three year wait. (2023)

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) had been interpreting the law in a way that denied expungement of BCA criminal records of individuals who had a subsequent conviction within two or four years of the record they were attempting to expunge.

The Court of Appeals cleared up the confusion by holding “to be eligible for expungement of executive-branch records of a petty-misdemeanor or misdemeanor conviction under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(a)(3) (2016), a petitioner must not have been convicted of a new crime for at least two years immediately preceding the filing of an expungement petition.” The same holds for a gross misdemeanor, except the wait period is three years immediately preceding the filing.

The published opinion can be viewed here.

* Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. If you have been criminally charged or have a legal question, contact an attorney.