What you need to know about expunging your record in Minnesota

It has never been easier to get an expungement in Minnesota, thanks to a series of laws passed last year. There are a variety of ways to get certain misdemeanors and even some felonies expunged from your record. The process usually ends with a court order, and the government sealing those records, but that may not be the end of the process.

The next step

Experts say it's generally not a safe assumption that your information is going to be up-to-date, because the state doesn't tell background check companies about your expungement, so unbeknownst to you, your records might remain in the files or servers of companies that have looked into you in the past.

Minnesota law now requires a company that does background checks and "knows that a criminal record has been expunged" to "promptly delete the record." The key word is "knows."

How to protect yourself

"I tell my clients if they in the past had background checks run and they know which companies provided their information, their best bet is to take that order and mail it to those companies," attorney Andrea Palumbo said.

Palumbo says background checks have become big business, and the law is trying to catch up.

"There are more and more companies out there and some of them are completely reputable and they handle huge amounts of data, so if incorrect data slips through, it's usually not malicious," she said. "There are some fly-by-night companies that pop up and they're operating on a shoestring so their information isn't as accurate."

Your right to see the information

You have a right to see the information an employer is using, and if it's wrong, you can tell the background check company to correct the information and let the employer know.

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