The ways you might have gained a criminal record over the years are countless. Traffic violations and youthful indiscretions haunt plenty of us. The problem is, these past mistakes can and will follow you for the rest of your life – or will they?
If you’re looking for ways to improve your life in the new year, learning the qualifications for sealing your Minnesota criminal record should be top of your checklist. Let’s take a look at five of the best reasons why…
Reason #1: You Can Improve Your Job Opportunities in MN
Felons and those with misdemeanors on their record are not considered a protected class. This means that it is perfectly legal to discriminate based on someone’s criminal past. Many Minnesota employers won’t even consider someone with a felony on record.
Sealing (or expunging) your record gives you a second chance. It prevents discrimination based on mistakes you might have made years ago.
Having a stable job that pays you what you’re worth is a cornerstone for building a successful career and life. Having your criminal record sealed is the first step in that direction.
Reason #2: Greater Minnesota Housing Opportunities May Knock
Just as employers can, any Minnesota landlord can legally deny housing based on someone’s criminal background. Many require background checks before offering a lease. If something comes through that they don’t like, they can deny you the apartment without any appeal.
For those pursuing a government-assisted living opportunity like Section 8 housing, having a criminal record could result in denial.
Because so many people apply for MN Section 8 housing, a criminal record could drop you from the running altogether. Violent crimes and drug crimes are especially frowned upon.
Reason #3: Your Minnesota State License Could Increase Earnings
If you have a criminal record, you lose eligibility for many types of state licenses. For instance, healthcare licenses, realtor licenses, and others require background checks in Minnesota.
If you have worked or want to work in one of these fields, having a criminal record can prevent you from even applying to these types of jobs.
The lack of a professional license can lock you out of a career in which you’ve invested time and money to train. Luckily, one of the primary reasons judges are willing to grant an expungement is for professional license eligibility.
Crimes that are unrelated to your chosen field are most likely to be expunged. Sealing your record can help you complete your New Year’s resolution to earn more money.
Reason #4: Gain Greater Access to Loans and Grants (in Minnesota and Beyond)
From student loans to mortgages to travel grants, a criminal record can automatically eliminate your eligibility for many sources of funds.
One of the most important reasons for seeking record expunction is to gain greater access to loans and grants. Two examples: getting an education and securing virtually any type of loan.
Student Housing and Other Aid
If you want to go to school, a criminal record keeps you from student housing, aid, and even admission. This is especially true for state schools and government aid, which are typically the most affordable.
Personal Banking and Mortgages
Banks also do background checks. If you’re looking for a personal loan or a mortgage, many crimes will prevent you from leveraging your credit. Regardless of your current financial status and civil-mindedness, a criminal record will cut your access to loans.
Sealing your record means your eligibility won’t be automatically denied due to your past mistakes. Expunging crimes from your record keeps basic background checks from ever seeing anything. According to your record, it never happened.
What do all of these things provide? Peace of mind.
Reason #5: Seal Your Record, Secure Peace of Mind
Finally, and most importantly, sealing your record can grant you peace of mind. If you’re in a new stage of your life, having a criminal record hanging over your head can cause you shame and distress. There’s no reason to let that linger.
When a Minnesota court grants you record expungement, it shows that the state acknowledges that your crime no longer dictates who you are. Consider it a state-assisted fresh start.
Getting your record expunged is no simple feat, but it’s worth it. It’s also worth it to consult an experienced MN criminal defense attorney to ensure the process goes smoothly. Criminal record sealing helps every aspect of your life, from professional to personal, and everything in between.
Don’t let 2020 be the same as 2019 and every year before. Get your criminal record expungement and you’ll really build the new you that the new year needs.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).