CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether the felony theft of a motor vehicle conviction was not eligible for statutory expungement?

Petitioner had been convicted of felony theft of a motor vehicle and later sought expungement of same.  The trial court held that her offense was not eligible for expungement under Minn. Stat. §609.02, subd. 3(b)(20).  Petitioner appealed.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that petitioner’s conviction was not eligible for statutory expungement, noting that the phrase “other theft offense” did not included Minn. Stat. §609.52, subd. (3)(d)(v), the provision under which petitioner was sentenced for theft of a motor vehicle.  Affirmed.

The expungements statutes are very important to people.  In 2015, the Minnesota legislature significantly modified the expungement statutes, and it was entitled the Second Chance Law.  The new statutory provisions allow for expungements for convictions.  This includes convictions for petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and a short list of felonies.  On the list of felonies, it does include the ability to expunge a felony drug possession charge; namely 5th degree possession.  A fifth degree possession charge typically involves a small amount of a controlled substance.  There are different waiting period for each level of crime, before a person becomes eligible for an expungement.  For example, the waiting period for a misdemeanor is usually 2 years after discharge from probation, and during the that time frame, the petitioner cannot be convicted of any other crime, or else the waiting period starts over.  The waiting period for a gross misdemeanor is 4 years.

State v. D.E.L., A20-1280, Morrison County.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

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