What is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement?

A dismissal is when the court stops prosecution of pending charges. When a case is dismissed the court record reflects a dismissal, but the police reports and records that supposedly justified the initial charge are typically still public.

An expungement is the court ordered sealing of records. An expungement can apply to a dismissal or a conviction. Minnesota law permits expungement of court records and police records that resulted in a dismissed case.  In addition, records relating to convictions for certain felony offenses and all misdemeanor offenses are eligible for expungement. Specific rules and waiting periods apply depending on the offense. Contact the Balmer Law Office to get personalized legal advice on whether your case is eligible for expungement.