How To Get A DUI Expunged From Your Record in Minnesota

how to get a dui expunged

Key Takeaway

How To Get A DUI Expunged From Your Record in Minnesota? To get a DWI expunged from your record in Minnesota, you must have completed all sentencing requirements, abided by the law since sentencing, and prove that the record is causing you harm. The eligibility and waiting period for expungement depend on the degree of the conviction.


A DWI conviction can bring hefty fines and make it difficult to find housing or secure a job. However, in Minnesota, a misdemeanor DWI conviction can be expunged – or hidden from public view – depending on the degree of the conviction as long as you have abided by the law since sentencing. An expungement will seal the criminal record so the Courts and state agencies with the files may not disclose, acknowledge, or open the record. Note, however, that police, law enforcement agencies, the FBI, immigration, and other public officials will still have access to these records in certain situations. If you apply for a specific type of job or occupational licenses, your record may become available to relevant official agencies. It is also important to understand that an expungement can seal your criminal court record, but it may not clear your driving record.

DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while impaired) are frequently used interchangeably, but DWI is the only official charge in Minnesota. If you have a DWI conviction, our Minnesota DWI attorneys can help make your case as compelling as possible so you can move toward a better future.

Who is Eligible for Expunging a DWI?

Not all DUI convictions can be expunged. You must have completed all sentencing requirements and conditions of your probation and not have any pending criminal charges. Additionally, you must prove the DWI record is causing you harm. 

You can seek expungement for a fourth-degree DWI – the most common conviction in Minnesota – two years after sentencing. As third-degree and second-degree DWIs are considered gross misdemeanor convictions, you must wait four years before pursuing expungement for those. A first-degree DWI conviction, on the other hand, is a felony charge in Minnesota, and therefore, is not eligible to be expunged. 

Expungement Process in Minnesota for DWI

You may only seek to expunge your DWI record in the county in which the DWI occurred. To seek an expungement for a DWI in Minnesota, you must first compile your entire criminal history – for cases in state and federal court – including cases in which you were not convicted. Then, you must mail a copy of the petition for expungement (with the proposed expungement order) to the prosector with jurisdiction over the case in which you were convicted, and pay the $300 filing fee. At this time, you must also notify any other relevant state or local agencies whose records may be impacted by the potential expungement. 

If you apply for expungement through the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and meet their requirements, you do not have to file paperwork with the Court. The fee may also be waived depending on your income. 

After receiving your petition, if there were victims involved in your DWI, the prosecutor will then disclose to them your intention to seek an expungement. This notice gives these individuals an opportunity to speak at the forthcoming hearing. The prosecutor and the relevant government agencies may submit information to the court for consideration during the hearing. The petitioner is permitted to ask the court to seal any private information, however. 

A hearing will be scheduled after at least 60 days following the filing of the petition and may take several months to complete. This purposeful delay allows time for the Court to determine whether or not they will object to the petition and gives time for victims and participants to prepare. 

The Expungement Court Hearing

The hearing will determine whether or not your DWI record should be expunged, and the decision is up to the judge presiding over your case. However, state law –  Minnesota Statute Section 609A.03 – notes that Courts should expunge criminal records unless a relevant agency or jurisdiction establishes clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the public outweigh the disadvantages of the claimant. The court must consider factors like the nature and severity of the crime, the steps taken by the petitioner toward rehabilitation following the crime, the reasons for the expungement (including the petitioner’s attempts to obtain employment, housing, or other necessities), among other factors.

If the decision is your favor and the Court issues an expungement order, a copy of the order will be sent to your mailing address, which will act as proof that your records have been expunged and are now sealed. 

We Can Help You Build a Compelling Case for Expungement

There is no guarantee your DWI conviction will be expunged from your record, so avoiding a conviction in the first place is the best course of action. It is easier to defend a DWI case than to expunge a drunk driving conviction, so we encourage you to speak with our DWI lawyers to develop a defense strategy to protect your future regardless of whether you have DWI charge you wish to expunge.  

With our extensive knowledge of navigating these DWI laws, we can use the state’s laws to your advantage to give you the best change of expungement. To schedule a free consultation for your Minnesota DUI/DWI case, call 218-326-9646 to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys. 

Attorney Chad B. Sterle has over 24 years of legal expertise in dealing with criminal defense, family law, DUI/DWI and many other legal practices. We understand that you may be going through a stressful and overwhelming time, which is why we take the care of the legal logistics and focus on delivering expert legal support. Sterle Law Office is here for you whether you have general legal questions, or you’re ready to hire an attorney.