If I was charged for paraphernalia but never went to court, was I convicted? 3 Answers as of June 17, 2011

I have a question about a small amount charge (Petty Misdemeanor) and a drug (paraphernalia) charge in MN. It happened on 1/31/2006. All I got was a ticket. I didn't even have to go to court. I just paid the fine. When I look up my criminal history nothing is on there but I can look at the court records online and see that is says converted or closed. There is nothing else on under my name. I'm thinking about going back to school for a pharmacist technician and applying for financial aid. It asks on the application if i have ever been convicted of illegal drug or alcohol violations. I don't know what to say, please help.

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Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
A petty misdemeanor is not considered a criminal offense under the law. As a result, it was not a conviction for a criminal offense.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/17/2011
Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
The answer to your question is complicated. You paid the ticket for a petty misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge. Technically, petty misdemeanors are not criminal convictions under MN law, they are classified as civil. However, the court record remains. You have not been convicted of a crime, however, the PDP ticket is still findable online in the court's records. Therefore, the best course of action is to contact and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss expungement of records or other effective methods of removing or sealing the court's records, to allow you to pursue your chosen career without concerns about this turning up in a background search.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/17/2011
Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
A petty misdemeanor is considered a non-criminal offense, because there is no possibility for a jail sanction. It is like a speeding ticket. By paying the fine, you pled guilty to the charge. While not technically a crime, you are still guilty of the petty misdemeanor violation. You may run into problems with applying for financial aid. Drug offenses can disqualify you from receiving federal student loans.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/17/2011
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