Minnesota is one of the states that offers individuals the opportunity to expunge or seal an arrest and felony conviction record. While your legal record remains in the court’s database, it is not available to the public once a judge agrees to honor your request.

The benefit of expunging your offense history is that it provides you with a fresh start. Your booking photos, fingerprints and arrest record no longer appear during a personal background check. You may apply for work, housing and loans without concern over a rejection based on a prior felony record.

Meaningful work can reduce recidivism

Research shows that at least 27% of individuals released from incarceration experience unemployment, as reported by NPR. While many want to work, their chances have lessened because of society misinterpreting them as second-class citizens. By participating in the workforce, however, the chances of a repeat offense lessen and the public benefits from decreased recidivism.

After expunging your record, you no longer need to disclose a prior conviction on a job application. An employer conducting a background check will not have access to information about your case when deciding on a job offer. If your new job requires completing courses and passing a background check for a professional license, a prior conviction does not show up.

Housing and education opportunities become available

Some landlords require passing a background check when renting a home or an apartment. With a sealed record, your felony offense does not appear when a landlord considers renting to you. This can help you find housing in a location closer to your job or family. Your sealed history should also not interfere with any applications sent to colleges or universities.