Three tips to help your client’s future
- End the case “in the client’s favor.” Seek dismissal; pretrial diversion and “de no” program (no plea of guilty), or continuance for dismissal (again no plea of guilty). While these appear on a records check, courts often grant petitions to expunge these cases. Avoid guilty pleas, discharges, or stays of imposition followed by a vacated plea and dismissal. These are “convictions” under Chapter 609A and are difficult to expunge, especially from the BCA. Since most landlords and employers check the BCA, a “conviction” risks preventing your client from obtaining good employment or housing for the indefinite future.
- Assist the client in expunging any criminal records. (Chapter 609A.) Resources can be found on http://www.mncourts.gov/district/4/?page=1197. As long as your client has a criminal record, even a dismissal or acquittal, she will have problems obtaining good employment or housing.
- Avoid future DHS problems. If your client works for or plans to work for a DHS-licensed facility (e.g., as a nurse, nurse’s assistant, personal care attendant, etc.), know that the client who ends with one of certain offenses on his record may never work in that field again. See MN Laws Chapter 245C, MN Stats §§144.057 and 241.021. Either keep such a case from appearing on your client’s record or prepare your client for the consequences.
Volunteer Lawyers, Minneapolis