New Expungement Ruling, A Felony is a Felony
When it comes to expungement, a felony is a felony is a felony.
The recent Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling in State v. S.A.M. will have a big impact on Minnesotans seeking to expunge felony convictions. Unless the felony is one of those listed in Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(b), the conviction is not eligible for expungement.
In State v. S.A.M., S.A.M. was charged with, among other things, second-degree burglary. Second-degree burglary is not one of the felonies listed as eligible for expungement in Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(b). S.A.M. pled guilty to second-degree burglary in exchange for the State dismissing the remaining charges, agreeing to a stay of imposition and a 90-day jail sentence.
In a stay of imposition, the defendant is placed on probation with intermediate sanctions such as paying fines, remaining law abiding, completing jail time or community work service. If the conditions are completed during the probationary period, the offense may be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
S.A.M. successfully completed his probation and was discharged. His felony conviction for second-degree burglary was reduced to a misdemeanor. S.A.M. sought to expunge this conviction as a misdemeanor expungement. The Court of Appeals ruled that S.A.M.’s conviction was not eligible for expungement because what matters is what the defendant was originally convicted of rather than the later reduction of the conviction to a misdemeanor.