Expunge Your Criminal Record
If you have found it difficult to obtain new employment or a professional license because of a criminal conviction, you should consider a motion to expunge your criminal record. Most potential employers, schools, or licensing boards will disqualify you from an opportunity because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction. Michigan’s criminal expungement statute provides you the legal basis to clear your criminal history of a conviction that can cause you to miss great opportunities in life.
The process of “setting aside a conviction” is called an expungement. This article explains how to expunge your criminal record.
The Expungement Statute
The Michigan legislature has made the expungement statute easier to set certain convictions aside. The process is governed by MCL 780.621. When you expunge your criminal record, it is as if the conviction did not happen.
The following information is provided to help you determine if you are eligible to expunge your criminal record. Because the statute it rather complex you do yourself a favor if you consult with a criminal defense attorney. As you will see in the information that follows, there are many exceptions to the expungement statute.
What can you expunge from your criminal record?
Michigan’s expungement statute sets forth strict criteria that must be met if you are to have your criminal convictions expunged. The following is a general statement of what items you can expect to expunge from your criminal record:
- Expunge a felony if not convicted of more than 1 offense
- If you have not been convicted of not more than 1 felony offense and not more than 2 misdemeanor offenses you can petition the court to expunge the felony record
- If you do not have more than 2 misdemeanor offenses (regardless of maximum possible jail sentence) and no felony conviction you may ask the court to expunge 1 or both of the misdemeanor offenses
What convictions cannot be expunged from your criminal record?
1. Traffic related offenses: You cannot expunge any traffic related misdemeanor including DWLS, reckless driving and drinking and driving offenses
- traffic related offenses do count towards your total conviction history
2. A felony conviction that is considered a life offense or attempt commit a felony of which is a life offense
3. Any criminal sexual conduct offenses or attempted criminal sexual conduct offense (there are some exceptions if you are a victim of a sexual trafficking ring; or if a 4th criminal sexual conduct offense had been before 01/12/2015 and does not have more than 2 minor misdemeanor convictions (punishable by less than 90 days in jail and must have been committed before the person was 21 years old
4. Child abuse convictions of any degree
5. Felony domestic violence if you have a prior domestic violence conviction
Important Note: Convictions that had been granted special status under MCL 333.7411, HYTA, MCL 769.4a, and MCL 771.1 are counted as convictions for purposes of expungement qualifications
How much time must you wait before you can expunge your criminal record
An application to expunge your conviction can only be filed 5 years or more after sentence, completion of probation, discharge from parole or completion of imprisonment; whichever occurs last.
What happens if the judge grants your motion to expunge your criminal record
If the court grants your motion to expunge your criminal record an order is sent to the Michigan State Police for processing. Once the order has been processed by the MSP your expunged conviction is sealed from public view. Remember that law enforcement can still see the expunged conviction. However, for most employment purposes, the conviction does not exist any longer. So, for most employment purposes you do not have to disclose the conviction.
However, you must be aware that some applications ask you specifically if you have ever been convicted of an offense that had been expunged. For example, the State Bar of Michigan asks this question. Some federal security clearances ask the same question.
The expungement law can be complicated. If you want to properly expunge your criminal record, we suggest you consult with an attorney. Our office is takes great satisfaction in removing offenses from our clients’ records. An expungement opens up more opportunities. Because an expungment can open many doors for you it must be done properly. Aside from satisfying the qualification required under Michigan Law (MCL 780.621), a person must navigate the paperwork, court dates, mailing, etc. In addition to the required information, your lawyer will draft and file a motion that explains how your life has changed since the conviction. In essence, we want to explain why the court must grant the expungement motion.
If you a conviction is holding you back call our office for a free consultation to determine if a motion can filed to expunge your criminal record.
James E. Czarnecki II (586) 350-6044
GENEVIEVE L. TAYLOR (586) 350-6044