Minnesota's New Second Chance Law

Criminal proceedings and the records they create can be complex. You should not assume that you do or do not qualify for relief under the expungement law based upon the information here. Contact an attorney at Arneson & Geffen to learn about how the second chance expungement law applies to your situation!

The following provides a brief summary of some of the important characteristics of Minnesota's Second Chance expungement law. Whether an individual qualifies for relief under the Second Chance law depends on how the proceeding was resolved, how long it has been since the proceeding, and whether the individual can show rehabilitation if required.

Nature of Offense

Waiting Period

How will the Court determine whether to grant an expungement?

The charges were completely dismissed / the individual never offered a guilty plea and was never found guilty

No waiting period

The Court will grant expungement unless an affected agency can show by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the public and public safety outweigh the disadvantages of not sealing the record.

The individual successfully completed a     diversion program or terms of a stay of adjudication

1 year from completion of the terms of probation; no new charges within that time

The Court will grant expungement unless an affected agency can show by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the public and public safety outweigh the disadvantages of not sealing the record.

Conviction or stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor

2 years since completion of sentence and no convictions during that time.

The individual needs to show clear and convincing evidence that expungement will yield a benefit to him or her that is commensurate with the disadvantages to the public and public safety of sealing the record and the burden on the Court in issuing, monitoring, and enforcing the Order. The Court evaluates 12 separate factors in making its determination.

Conviction or stayed sentence for gross misdemeanor

4 years since completion of sentence and no convictions during that time.

The individual needs to show clear and convincing evidence that expungement will yield a benefit to him or her that is commensurate with the disadvantages to the public and public safety of sealing the record and the burden on the Court in issuing, monitoring, and enforcing the Order. The Court evaluates 12 separate factors in making its determination.

Conviction or stayed sentence for felony offense that is specifically listed in the second chance law (see note below)

5 years since completion of sentence and no convictions during that time.

The individual needs to show clear and convincing evidence that expungement will yield a benefit to him or her that is commensurate with the disadvantages to the public and public safety of sealing the record and the burden on the Court in issuing, monitoring, and enforcing the Order. The Court evaluates 12 separate factors in making its determination.

An offense that involves domestic violence (see note below)

Relief is not available right now (see note below)

Relief is not available right now (see note below)

Juveniles prosecuted as adults.

Individual must be finally discharged by the commissioner of corrections or have satisfactorily completed probation.

The individual needs to show clear and convincing evidence that expungement will yield a benefit to him or her that is commensurate with the disadvantages to the public and public safety of sealing the record and the burden on the Court in issuing, monitoring, and enforcing the Order. The Court evaluates 12 separate factors in making its determination.

Offense for possession of a controlled substance and offense was dismissed and discharged.

Offense must be dismissed and discharged.

The individual needs to show clear and convincing evidence that expungement will yield a benefit to him or her that is commensurate with the disadvantages to the public and public safety of sealing the record and the burden on the Court in issuing, monitoring, and enforcing the Order. The Court evaluates 12 separate factors in making its determination.

Offense Requires Registration

These offenses cannot be expunged.

Expungement of Felony Convictions Under The Second Chance Law

The Second Chance law allows for expungement of certain felony offenses, including but not limited to:

  • Some controlled substance offenses
  • Voting violations
  • Bringing stolen goods into the State
  • Receiving stolen goods
  • Dishonored check over $500
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Financial transaction card fraud
  • Residential mortgage fraud

The second chance law lists more felony offenses. If a felony offense was eventually reduced to a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor, an attorney at Arneson & Geffen needs to evaluate the specific record to determine whether it qualifies for expungement under the gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor categories, or if the individual is required to pursue expungement under the felony portion of the second chance law.

What If An Offense Does Not Qualify For Relief Under The Second Chance Law?

Individuals that are ineligible for relief under the Second Chance law can still Petition the Court to seal judicial branch records under the Court's Inherent Authority. If the Court grants a Petition for expungement under its inherent authority, records of the offense would be sealed at the Courthouse, but would still be available at executive branch agencies like the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or the Department of Human Services.

Offenses Involving Domestic Violence

The Second Chance law currently does not allow for expungement of most offenses involving domestic violence. This prohibition expires on July 15, 2015. Unless the state Legislature passes additional law regarding expungement of domestic violence offense during the 2015 session, Courts will have the authority to seal offenses involving domestic violence after July 15, 2015.

Learn What Is On Your Record

Click here to find out how to research your criminal history and obtain your criminal records.

Success Stories

Arneson & Geffen has significant experience representing individuals seeking expungement of both adult and juvenile records. To read about some of our recent successes, click here.

Contact an Attorney

Contact Arneson & Geffen for a no-cost consultation and to learn how the second chance law affects you.