Michigan Expungement Attorney Kevin Bessant understands the the various difficulties and hardships having a criminal conviction on your quality of life. A criminal conviction can often lead to a loss of employment; housing; government assistance; financial aid; professional licensing and many other opportunities that are often denied once a background check reveals a felony or misdemeanor conviction on your record.
The good news is that the State of Michigan allows for a person who has been convicted of prior felony or misdemeanor conviction(s) to seek an expungement, or set-aside the criminal conviction so that it is removed from public access as the result of background check or criminal record search. It is important to understand the applicable laws that govern record sealing and expungements in Michigan to ensure that you qualify to have your criminal conviction set-aside and removed from your criminal record.
How are Expungements Governed in Michigan?
Expungements in Michigan are governed by State Law under MCL 780.621. Previously, a person convicted of a felony and a misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanor criminal offenses were barred from seeking a criminal record expungement. However in 2015, Michigan modified its expungement statue to allow persons who meet the following criteria to seek a criminal expungement:
- Must be convicted of not more than 1 (one) felony offense, and no more than two misdemeanor offenses to apply for a criminal expungement.
- If you have never been convicted of a felony offense, but have no more than 2 misdemeanor offenses on your criminal record, you are eligible to seek the expungement of both criminal misdemeanors.
- If convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 4th (fourth) Degree, and this conviction occurred prior to January 12, 2015, you can petition the court for a criminal expungement so long as the CSC 4th conviction occurred prior to your 21st birthday and you have no more than two (2) minor offenses on your record (a minor offense is an offense where the maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and or $1000.00 fine).
- If previously convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense, and that felony or misdemeanor was taken under a deferred status and dismissed such as Michigan’s HTYA (Holmes Youthful Training Act) law, Delayed Sentence 771.1, or first time drug offender status under 7411, that dismissal will count as a misdemeanor conviction for expungement purposes.
- A felony in which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment (capital offenses such as murder, armed robbery, car jacking, etc) are not allowed to be expunged.
- Any conviction under Michigan’s child abuse 1st-4th degree statues cannot be expunged.
- Traffic offenses taken under Michigan’s Motor Vehicle Code cannot be expunged. These do not include civil infractions, but rather traffic felony and misdemeanor offenses such Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)/drunk driving; no insurance; driving while license suspended or revoked; open alcohol in vehicle, etc.
- A felony conviction for Domestic Violence cannot be expunged if the person also has a previous misdemeanor conviction for Domestic Violence.
- You must wait 5 years from the date of your discharge from probation or release from prison and not 5 years from the date of the conviction before you can apply for an expungement.
How you can proceed to seek an expungement:
Assuming the applicant meets all of the above criteria, you may now begin to petition the sentencing court to set-aside your criminal conviction. Seeking the assistance of an expungement lawyer well trained in the nuances of Michigan Expungement laws is critical to ensure your success in expunging your criminal record.
After a careful review of your application materials and supporting documents, Michigan Expungement Attorney Kevin Bessant also makes the necessary preparations for the actual expungement hearing before the judge to convince the court of the necessity to expunge your criminal record. Unfortunately, if your expungement process is not handled correctly and your expungement request is denied by the Judge, Michigan’s expungement law requires that you wait three years before you are able to re-apply for an expungement.