In 2015, lawmakers in Minnesota created what is known as the Second Chance Law. This law helped to fix some of the issues with the older expungement laws, as petitioners felt they were not getting sufficient benefits from having their cases expunged. Here are some of the fundamentals surrounding the Second Chance Law, and how it can work for you.
The Second Chance Law works like the old law in that the records of a successful petitioner will be sealed and not available to the public. This will help people who have reformed or made a mistake get on with their lives and gain meaningful employment and be able to rent or own a home. However, the new law expands the number of crimes that qualify for expungement. Now, even felonies can be considered. This all depends on whether the petitioner has met all of the terms of their court diversion program and that there are no other pending actions or proceedings, among other factors.
Under the newer law, petitioners can get an expungement without filing a petition. They can lobby the prosecutor. If the prosecutor agrees, then the record will be sealed. It may simply take a letter to the prosecutor, or the defense attorney making an agreement with the prosecutor.
The factors that must be considered for an expungement determination include how severe the crime was, the risk to the public, how long it has been since the crime occurred, and how dedicate the petitioner has been towards rehabilitation. They may also take into account past criminal activity and whether the petitioner has a record of employment or involvement in the community.
The most important aspect of the law is that will give people in Minnesota a second chance at turning their lives around. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help anyone who feels they deserve such a chance navigate the legal system to get the best result possible to put their unfortunate past behind them.