Inherent Authority Criminal Record Expungement in Minnesota

Minnesota law allows individuals to expunge their criminal records in certain limited circumstances. There are two types of criminal record expungement in Minnesota: “statutory expungment” and “inherent authority expungement.”  Statutory expungement is governed, as the name indicates, by statute.  Inherent authority expungement, on the other hand, is governed by the inherent authority of the court. This post will focus on inherent authority expungement.


Inherent authority criminal record expungement in Minnesota is available to certain individuals that do not qualify for statutory criminal record expungement—individuals that were convicted of a crime through a guilty verdict (as the result of a jury or bench trial) or guilty plea. This includes individuals who were convicted of a crime and received a stay of imposition of sentence or a stay of adjudication of sentence.

Inherent Authority Criminal Record Expungement Process

An individual that qualifies for inherent authority criminal record expungement and wants to proceed with the expungement process must formally petition the court. The petition includes such information as: the crime sought to be expunged; the petitioner’s entire criminal record; and the reasons the petitioner is seeking expungement (e.g. for employment or housing purposes).

A hearing will take place after the expungement petition is filed with the court.  At the hearing the court will hear arguments from the petitioner; the State; and will also hear a statement from victim(s) of the crime sought to be expunged (if applicable).

After the expungement hearing the court will consider the petitioner’s argument; the state’s argument; and the victim’s statement (if one was provided).  The court analyzes several different factors when considering whether or not to grant an expungement—including, but not limited to: the severity level of the crime sought to be expunged; the hardship to criminal record has had on the petitioner; and steps the petitioner has taken to rehabilitate themselves since the conviction.

The court will either grant or deny the expungement after taking into consideration the above-stated parties’ arguments.  If the court grants the expungement the court will issue an order sealing the criminal records and prohibiting their disclosure to the public except under certain limited circumstances.  The expungement order, however, does not destroy the criminal records, and the records are not returned to the petitioner.

Legal Disclaimer

The following is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Although the following information is deemed accurate and current, statutory and case law change frequently and the following information should not be relied upon as authoritative.

About the Author

Thomas A. Wilson | Attorney at LawThomas A. Wilson is a practicing Minnesota criminal law attorney. Mr. Wilson is owner of Wilson Law Firm P.L.L.C., located in St. Paul, Minnesota.View all posts by Thomas A. Wilson | Attorney at Law →