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How long will a careless driving ticket stay on my record in MN? How likely is it that I can get it expunged?

Minneapolis, MN |

In 2006 I received two speeding tickets and a careless driving ticket in Minnesota when I was 18. I have not received any other citations. The speeding tickets no longer show up on my record when I search my court record via the public website. How long will my careless driving ticket stay on my record? Is it possible to get it expunged? How likely is it to get expunged? I plead guilty and paid a fine.

Attorney Answers 3


If it was connected to a DWI, it would be impossible to get it expunged. If not, it is still unlikely to get it expunged. Expungements are restricted by statute to cases where you are acquitted, or charges are dismissed. If you plead guilty it is difficult for the court to order expungement. It is unlikely for the matter to disappear with modern court systems, it will always be on the web somewhere. Misdemeanors stay on court records indefinitely.

This response does not create an attorney client relationship and is offered for informational purposes only. Only a lawyer fully versed on the facts and circumstances of your case can properly advise you on the case. I am licensed to practice in Minnesota, not every state. You should always consult with an attorney licensed in your area on how best to proceed.

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A misdemeanor conviction remains on your record indefinitely.

Expungements are only allowed by statute where there has been a determination in your favor. That means, ultimately, the charges must have been dismissed. If that occurred, you may erase any and all court or administrative records.

There are also Judicial expungements. Such an expungement is entirely up to the Judge as to whether it should be granted. This is an important distinction since a Court cannot expunge anything but judicial records with a judicial expungement unless there is an overriding basis that requires the expungement in the interests of justice. The courts have ruled that seeking better employment or promotions would not be a basis to expunge administrative records.

Administrative agencies generally are the places where background checks are performed. Criminal records are also maintained by Administrative Agencies such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. This is an executive agency. As a result, the criminal records, if held by the BCA, would never be expunged in a Judicial expungment.

Since you were convicted, a judicial expungement is not possible.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter. Visit online at

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To accurately answer your question, I would need to see the ticket and any paperwork that you were given at the time that you plead guilty and paid the fine. The difference between speeding and careless driving is that speeding is a petty misdemeanor and not considered a crime, while careless driving is a misdemeanor and a crime. That, I suspect, is why the careless driving still remains on your record, but the speeding violations do not. To be safe, you should probably do a criminal history background check on yourself by going to the BCA's website.

If you want to expunge the careless driving off of your criminal record, then you are probably out of luck because you plead guilty. However, a judge always has the discretion to order that judicial branch records be sealed/expunged if you have a very good reason for seeking the removal. Also, if you received a continuance for dismissal in exchange for pleading guilty (probably not because so much time has passed), then the charge would go away after you have successfully completed your probation. Again, I doubt that you received a continuance for dismissal because I don't think you would be put on probation for 5 years for a careless driving charge.

This answer is intended as general legal advice and may not be applicable to your particular situation. I am licensed only in Minnesota and the answers that I may give on Avvo may not pertain to jurisdictions and situations outside of the boundaries of Minnesota. Reading this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C., nor are you a prospective client under Rule 1.18 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.

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