Expungement and criminal record sealing give former offenders a second chance at a clean record. Getting your record expunged allows you to apply for jobs or housing without the fear of being rejected for your criminal past. After all, if you have done your time and you are a reformed citizen, minor offenses in the past should really be forgiven and forgotten.
Many people believe that once a crime is expunged, all records of it is gone forever. This, however, is not true. While the general public will not be able to see your past crimes if they are expunged, there are still ways for certain individuals and organizations to access your criminal record.
Who Can See My Criminal Record after It Is Expunged?
Who are these people and organizations?
Only public officials or individuals working in criminal justice will be able to access your un-expunged criminal record, and only on occasions where this information is relevant or necessary. What does that mean specifically, though?
Below are some of the people or organizations that can look at (or bring up) your criminal record, even after it has been sealed:
Prosecutors and Judges – Multiple charges can add up over time, and greatly increase the sentences against you upon conviction. Just because your record is expunged does not mean you get a “reset.” Prosecutors and judges will have access to your full, un-expunged criminal record, and you can be sure that they will use this information against you in court.
Something very important to understand is that lawyers can bring up your criminal past even if you are not the defendant. For example, if you are a witness giving testimony in a criminal or civil trial, the lawyer on either side may use your criminal past against you as a way to impugn your character and call into question the validity of your testimony.
Public Employers – It’s hard to get a job anywhere with a criminal record. That’s why most people apply for expungement in the first place. Unfortunately, Minnesota still allows some employers to see your criminal record if they hold a public position.
The following employers will have access to your criminal record if they are considering you for a position:
- Criminal justice agencies (court administrative jobs, positions with juvenile court or state prisons, police officer jobs)
- Human service agencies (social work positions, probation officer positions, counselors)
- Department of Education (working in a public school)
Professional Agencies – If you are applying for a license to practice a certain profession, your expunged record may limit you there as well. Your chances at getting a pharmaceutical license, for example, will be pretty slim if you have some drug-related offenses hidden behind your sealed record.
Do Not Be Discouraged
Even though your criminal record is not completely destroyed, expungement will be able to help you move forward after an arrest or conviction.
Minnesota wants to help out offenders who have served their time and have a desire to be a productive member of society. The process may take a few months, but will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Want your record sealed or expunged? Contact a Minnesota defense lawyer today to talk about your first steps in the expungement process.
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 (2014–2016), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2016), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2016).