What is HelpSealMyRecord.org?
HelpSealMyRecord is an online application program for community members with certain criminal convictions who have completed the terms of their probation/parole and have maintained a clean criminal history.
If you have a criminal record for an offense that was prosecuted by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, we may be able to help you get the records of that crime sealed by the court. Sealing (or expunging) a criminal record removes it from public view. The records aren’t destroyed, but they are hidden, and that can make it easier for you to find a job or secure housing.
Do I have to pay anything to have my records sealed?
There is no cost to apply through the HelpSealMyRecord program. If you apply by preparing and filing a Petition for Expungement directly with the court, you will have to pay a filing fee or ask the court to waive this fee based on your income.
Who can apply?
Anyone who has one or more criminal cases that were charged or prosecuted by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. If you were charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor and your case was prosecuted by a city attorney, or you were charged with a felony in a different county, your application to our office will be denied.
Can my application be denied?
Yes. Your application may be denied if your offense doesn’t qualify under the statute, or you haven’t met the waiting period requirements.
If we deny your application for any reason, you’ll get an email or a letter from us explaining why.
Do I need to file anything with the Court?
If you apply through the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office Help Seal My Record Program and are found eligible, we’ll take care of the logistics. You won’t have to do anything.
If you petition on your own, you’ll have to file a Petition for Expungement with the Court and serve a copy of your petition to every agency involved in your case(s).
Will I need to appear in court for my record to be sealed?
If we petition on your behalf, no, you will not be required to make any court appearances. If you petition on your own, you may have to appear in court. It will depend on how your case(s) ended up.
How will I know if my application has been accepted or when my records are sealed?
Applicants who are not eligible will receive an email/letter with a detailed explanation as to why we can’t help. Those with one or more eligible offense(s) won’t get will receive a copy of the court order sealing your records directly from the Hennepin County District Court. It’s important to note that the order will not go into effect (meaning your records will still be visible) for 60 days from when the Order was signed. This is to allow time for any of the agencies involved to appeal the Court's decision if they so choose.
Can anyone see my criminal record after it’s been sealed?
Yes. Your criminal record can still be accessed by the court, prosecution, or law enforcement agencies for purposes of investigation, sentencing, and probation. Your sealed record can also be accessed by specific state agencies if you apply for certain jobs or job-related licenses.
Can the state use a sealed criminal record as a prior offense when charging or sentencing a new offense?
Yes. Some criminal offenses become more serious if you have a prior conviction for the same crime. These are called enhanceable offenses. For example, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is an offense where the penalties become more serious if you have prior DWI convictions. A sealed criminal record can be used to increase the penalties for enhanceable offenses.