Kyle Kosieracki

1. Is my case eligible for statutory expungement

First things first: you need to know whether your case actually qualifies for statutory expungement. If you know the case file number of the case you’re trying to expunge, an attorney should be able to tell you almost immediately if and when your case is eligible for expungement. Even if you don’t know your case file number, an experienced expungement attorney should be able to tell you whether a conviction is expungeable in just a few minutes.

2. How do you know my case is eligible for statutory expungement?

We frequently get calls from individuals who have spoken with an “expungement attorney” who offered to represent them on a case that wasn’t even expungeable. Sometimes these calls happen after the person has paid the attorney significant amounts of money to have their records sealed. While no one wants to hear that their case does not qualify for statutory expungement, it is a lot worse to pay someone thousands of dollars for an expungement that no judge could even grant. By asking the attorney what specific provision of the law allows you to petition for expungement, you can be sure that: (1) the attorney knows what he or she is talking about; and (2) your records could actually be sealed.

3. What percentage of your practice is expungements?

Many attorneys, especially criminal defense attorneys, will offer to help you petition a court for expungement. Very few attorneys, however, devote a significant portion of their practice to expungements. While there is some conceptual overlap between criminal law and expungement law, petitioning for expungement is very different than defending against criminal charges. Expungement petitions involve different rules of procedure, different statutes, different case law, and different rules of evidence than those applicable to criminal proceedings. Attorneys that rarely represent people seeking expungements are less likely to know these intricacies and less likely to provide the highest level of representation. Further, an expungement attorney that handles a lot of expungements often has a system in place to move your case along quickly, which means your records could be sealed sooner than it may take if you hire an attorney who does not handle many expungements.

4. How much will your representation cost?

Attorney’s fees for representation in expungement cases vary considerably. Some attorneys charge by the hour, and some perform their services on a flat fee. These flat fees can be as high as $5,000 per case depending on the attorney and the case.

Our firm represents people seeking expungement on a flat fee. We will tell you up front how much our fees will be and you will not pay us a dime more. The amount of our fees is determined by several variables, including: the type of offense, the level of offense, the county in which the case took place, how the case was resolved, and the amount of time that has passed since the case concluded. Our fees are very reasonable—in some cases less than a thousand dollars, and we offer payment plans so you can get the expungement process going as soon as possible.

5. What do I get for my money?

While cost is a consideration, the most important thing you should be looking for when choosing an expungement attorney is value. Just because a product or service is cheap, does not necessarily mean that it’s a good deal. So, in addition to determining the attorney’s level of experience handling expungements, you also want to find out what services the attorney is going to provide you in exchange for your hard-earned cash. Is the attorney going to draft the petition for you? Is the attorney going to submit a memorandum of law on your behalf, explaining how each of the twelve expungement factors apply in your case? Which agencies’ records will the attorney ask to be sealed? Will the attorney try to work out a deal with the prosecutor before filing your case? Will the attorney respond in writing to any objections to the expungement petition? After gauging the attorney’s responses to the above questions, you will be in a better position to determine what kind of value you are getting for your money.

6. What do you expect from me?

If you hire an expungement attorney, the attorney will likely be doing most of the work. That said, your input is critical to the success of your case. You will need to provide the attorney certain information that is required to be included in your petition. You may need to get a copy of your criminal record from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Depending on where you live and the particulars of your case, you may or may not have to appear for the expungement hearing. Knowing what your attorney will need from you before the case starts is critical to a productive attorney-client relationship.

7. How long is this going to take?

It typically takes six to eight months from the time a person hires an expungement attorney until the records are sealed. A typical timeline looks like this:

  • Hire attorney
  • Paperwork drafted, filed, and served (2-4 weeks after hiring attorney)
  • Expungement Hearing (at least 63 days after filing)
  • Expungement Order (typically 3-4 weeks after hearing)
  • Records Expunged/Sealed (60 days after expungement order is filed)

Your specific case may or may not follow the above timeline. In some cases, it is possible for the person seeking expungement to avoid a hearing altogether, in which case the records can be sealed months earlier. Other cases take longer than eight months: while judges usually issue their orders within 3–4 weeks, they technically have 90 days to rule.

Contact us today

If an attorney’s answers to these seven questions give you confidence in his or her experience and abilities, you may have found yourself the right person to guide you through the expungement process. If not, call someone else—such as the experienced expungement attorney Kyle Kosieracki with the law firm Tarshish Cody, PLC. Mr. Kosieracki can be reached by calling (952) 361-5556 or by filling out the Expungement Case Evaluation Form below.

Related Expungement Information:

Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions

by Kyle Kosieracki on May 28, 2018

In situations where the reckless behavior of another brings about the death of your loved one, the level of suffering and pain you experience is beyond measure. It’s important to know that during these trying times, you have the ability to take action and fight for your justice.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim?

Generally, claims arising out of an injury to a person die with the person. The Minnesota wrongful death statute, Minn. Stat. § 573.02, makes an exception to that rule. Under the Wrongful Death Statute, only a court-appointed trustee can bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.

Who can ask the court to appoint a wrongful death trustee?

It depends on which blood-relatives survive the decedent (the person who died). The rules are pretty complicated, but the list below identifies who could ask the court to name a wrongful death trustee in the most common scenarios.

The decedent is married, without children, at the time of death: The decedent’s spouse or either of decedent’s parents can ask for a trustee to be appointed.

The decedent is married, with children, at the time of death:  The decedent’s spouse or any of decedent’s children can ask for a trustee to be appointed.

The decedent is not married, but has children, at the time of death:  One of decedent’s children can ask for a trustee to be appointed.

The decedent is not married, and has no children, at the time of death: Either of the decedent’s parents can ask for a trustee to be appointed.

The decedent is not married, has no children, and parents have passed at the time of death:  One of decedent’s siblings can ask for a trustee to be appointed.

Of course, scenarios other than those described above also occur.  Because the law on who can seek appointment of a trustee is complex and only a properly appointed trustee can bring a wrongful death claim, it is important to speak with an attorney about your specific case.

Who can be named wrongful death trustee?

Although the law is strict regarding who can ask for a trustee to be named, almost any competent adult could be named the trustee.  Usually, the trustee is one of the decedent’s family members, but that does not have to be the case. Often, the person asking the court to appoint a trustee requests that he or she be appointed trustee.  Courts regularly grant such requests.

How do the courts value the loss of a decedent’s life?

They don’t. A wrongful death action seeks to recover the losses suffered by the decedent’s family because of the death, not recovery for the life lost itself. A wrongful death action is not about valuing the loss of life; it’s about determining the value of the services, financial benefits, guidance, and care the decedent provided to those he or she left behind. The law calls these losses “pecuniary losses.”

Some examples of pecuniary losses that might be suffered by a next-of-kin include:

  • Loss of income where the decedent provided financially for a next-of-kin;
  • Loss of services where the decedent provided services for a next-of-kin; and
  • Loss of aid, comfort, and society where the decedent provided assistance, comfort, and companionship to a next-of-kin.

Who can benefit from the proceeds of a wrongful death action?

Only a court-appointed trustee can bring a wrongful death action, but any of the decedent’s “next-of-kin” can claim a portion of the proceeds, so long as he or she suffered a pecuniary loss because of the death.  The decedent’s “next-of-kin” is made up of a broader category of individuals than those who qualify to ask for the appointment of a wrongful-death trustee.

The decedent’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, grandparents, and cousins are all next-of-kin who can seek recovery from the proceeds of a wrongful death action.

After a settlement or judgment, how are the wrongful-death proceeds allocated among the next-of-kin?

Often, the next-of-kin agree how the money should be apportioned. When that happens, the wrongful-death trustee files a petition with the court, asking the court to distribute the wrongful-death proceeds pursuant to that agreement. Usually, the court will honor the family’s wishes.

If the next-of-kin cannot agree on how the proceeds should be allocated, the court will determine the distribution. Each of the next-of-kin seeking a portion of the proceeds must present evidence of his or her pecuniary loss caused by the death. The court will consider the evidence and make a distribution in accordance with the law.

Additional Resources

Below you will find a list of additional Minnesota Wrongful Death articles that may prove helpful:

How Can We Help?

At Tarshish Cody, PLC law firm, we understand how emotionally devastating and tiring dealing with a wrongful death suit can be on a family. Not only do you need a compassionate lawyer, but you need one who will fight for the compensation you deserve from those who are responsible. Our wrongful death attorneys have handled many cases and have helped our clients recover the compensation they deserved.

We welcome your call today at 952-361-5556 (or fill out the free Case Evaluation Form) to help you through the legal issues of your wrongful death case. We know we can’t bring back your loved one, but we can fight for your justice so you can get some closure.

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