It was very exciting when Governor Dayton signed the “Second Chance Bill” into law this May. It provided many Minnesotans the ability to expunge their record and start fresh without their past affecting their ability to seek employment, housing, services, volunteering, and other opportunities.
This new law comes into effect January 1, 2015 and greatly broadens people’s ability to expunge criminal convictions from their records, even some felonies! Prior to this law, expungements have been difficult to obtain due to the strict parameters of the statute and the limitations put on judges. This new law recognizes the negative effects a conviction has on a person’s life, future, and livelihood and gives the opportunity for people to start anew without the burden of a “record”.
The highlighted changes in the law allow for:
- All records related to juvenile delinquency to be expunged.
- ManyMisdemeanor offenses to be expunged 2 years after discharge of the sentence if the offender has not committed any new offenses.
- ManyGross Misdemeanor offenses to be expunged 4 years after discharge of sentence if the offender has not committed any new offenses.
- SomeFelony offenses to be expunged 5 years after discharge of sentence if the offender has not committed any new offenses.
The new law broadens the Court’s ability to grant expungements. The Court is to expunge a record if it “would yield a benefit to the subject of the record that outweighs the detriment to the public and public safety in sealing the record…”. There are a variety of factors listed that the Court can take into consideration in its decision of whether to expunge and seal a record. (Click here to see a copy of the new Expungement Law.)
Of course there are still limitations on the expungement of certain offenses. Domestic related offenses are specifically excluded from expungement eligibility. But this exclusion expires July 15, 2015. It is likely the legislature will be deciding whether or not domestic related offense will be included as offenses that can be expunged in a future term.