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Yes. Many criminal offenses are more serious or enhanced if you have prior offenses of the same type. For example, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is an offense where the penalties become more serious if you have prior DWI offenses. When the law permits, a sealed criminal record can be used to enhance the penalties for new offenses.
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Under Minnesota law, expungement means the sealing of a criminal record so it is not publicly available. Only a District Court Judge can order a criminal record sealed. An expungement order issued by a Judge seals the criminal record and prohibits the Court and state agencies that hold criminal records from disclosing, acknowledging, or opening the criminal record except under court order or as permitted by law.
No. Expungement will only seal your criminal record. Your criminal record will still exist under seal. An expunged criminal record will not be accessible to the public.
Your expunged and sealed criminal record can still be accessed by the Court, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies including police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), immigration, and other agencies in a criminal investigation, prosecution, or for sentencing and probation purposes. Your sealed criminal record can also be accessed by criminal justice agencies and other state agencies if you apply for certain jobs or job-related licenses.
If you apply through the Winona County Attorney's Office, you do not have to pay the $300 filing fee to the Court. If you apply by preparing and filing a Petition for Expungement directly with the Court, you will have to pay a $300 filing fee for each case or ask the Court to waive this fee based on your income.
If you apply through the Winona County Attorney's Office and you qualify for expungement, you do not have to file any paperwork with the Court. If you seek expungement on your own, you must file a Petition for Expungement with the Court and pay a filing fee.
No. If your criminal record is eligible, the Winona County Attorney's Office will request an expungement from the Court. You will not have to appear in court to seal your record.
Fill out the online application. Once you apply, we will review your case. If it appears you are eligible, we will request additional information to help determine whether your record could be sealed. If not, we will contact you to explain why.
When the Court issues an expungement order, a copy will be sent to the mailing address in your application. This is proof that your records have been expunged and are now sealed.
Yes. Your application can be denied by the Winona County Attorney's Office or by the Court.
We will carefully consider the factors outlined in the Minnesota expungement law to determine if sealing your record is appropriate. These factors include the nature and seriousness of the offense, the length of time since the offense occurred, the steps taken towards rehabilitation following the offense, any aggravating or mitigating factors, your participation in the offense, your criminal history, the effect that the criminal record has on your ability to obtain employment, housing, and other necessities of life.
If we deny your application for any reason, we will explain why.
We encourage you to seek community-based legal assistance if your application is denied or if you have other questions about the law or legal process.