What to do if my brother got charged with a misdemeanor for fighting on the sidewalk with a guy?

While the other guy ran away, the cop took my brother to the station and took his information. He was not put in jail though. My brother went to court a month later, pleaded guilty and paid a fine. We thought it was all over but now he is having difficulty getting a job. How many years is this going to be on his record and also is there anything that can be done about this? He is 22 now but he was 21 when it happened.

Asked on February 22, 2013 under Criminal Law, Minnesota


Tricia Dwyer / Tricia Dwyer Esq & Associates PLLC

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

A criminal expungement of a conviction (due to the person pleading guilty or being found guilty of a crime) means the court records (over which the court, the judge, has authority to take action) would be sealed. Seeking an expungement is quite common.  Minnesota law allows for expungement of certain criminal convictions upon a showing that the person has made concrete, positive changes in his/her life, as well as showing that it is very unlikely that the person will commit another crime in the future.  There is no guarantee of outcome: The judge must be convinced that, on balance, the benefit to the person from being granted the expungement outweighs the disadvantage to the public (society) not to have access to the person’s criminal record.  There are other sorts of requirements.  It is definitely advisable that the counsel and advice of a private attorney be sought just as soon as possible, because, even if the person does not immediately seek an expungement, preparations may be made over time. The attorney should discuss and address the matter of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (‘BCA’) records.  The attorney should discuss how denial of work or housing or professional licensure due to the person’s record is important in expungement (there is a great deal of case law on this subject, and law can and does change over time).  Also, the attorney may advise the person of other possible courses of action. The actual expungement process is complex and complicated and involves much detail, as well as a great deal of paperwork.  The process takes at least four months. The victim of the crime will be given notice and have the opportunity to object.  

I will note that the matter of expungement calls attention to the critical importance of seeking private attorney counsel and advice if ever you are facing a criminal legal problem.  Hopefully, when facing a legal difficulty people will seek attorney counsel from the outset.  (The old sayings, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, and ‘A stitch in time saves nine’.") In my experience, the sooner the attorney may provide the client with help and counsel the more positive the outcome is likely to be.

When you seek an attorney, please telephone several in choosing, because it is very important that you feel comfortable and trusting.  All the best.

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