Having a conviction on your record can make your life harder in several ways. The immediate consequences of fines and potential imprisonment may seem bad enough. In addition to the statutory penalties of a criminal conviction, there are future implications that you may have to consider. Your criminal record can impact your ability to find and maintain employment, financial loans, and university admission. Even after you pay your fine or serve your time, you could still be denied a job, loan, or degree. Through expungement, it’s possible to keep your previous convictions from being viewed. You are only able to expunge your record, however, if you meet certain criteria.
If you’re wondering whether or not you qualify for expungement, your first call should be to a Lansing expungement lawyer. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact DeBruin Law PLLC at (517) 324-4303, or reach out via our online form.
Expungement is also known as “setting aside” your criminal record, so that it is unavailable for the public to view. In some states, the process is referred to as “sealing a record.” In the state of Michigan, only a few government agencies and courts can view your conviction if your record has been set aside.
Not Everybody Is Eligible to Have Their Record Expunged
Michigan law sets forth specific criteria that you have to meet in order to expunge a conviction. You may petition for an expungement under the following circumstances:
- If you have been convicted of one felony and two misdemeanors, you may apply to have the felony expunged.
- If you’ve been convicted of no more than two misdemeanors and have no other convictions, you may apply to expunge one or both of those offenses.
Convictions that were deferred and dismissed (whether they were misdemeanors or felonies) will be treated as misdemeanors when your prior convictions are calculated. You have to wait five years after your conviction before you’re able to have it expunged. If you were imprisoned or placed on parole, you’d have to wait five years after your release or discharge as well. You may only petition to have one adult conviction set aside.
How to File a Petition for Expungement in Michigan
Once you’ve determined you’re eligible to expunge your record, you’ll need to fill out an application. This can be found on the Michigan Court System’s website. Once you’ve filled out this application, you’ll want to make several copies. You’ll have to send a copy of your application to:
- The court in which you were originally convicted
- The Michigan State Police, along with a complete set of fingerprints and the required fee;
- The attorney general who handled your case
- The prosecutor who handled your case
The prosecutor or the attorney general will have the opportunity to contest your application for expungement. Once you’ve fulfilled all these steps, you’ll have to attend a hearing. It is here that you will demonstrate to the judge that you deserve to have your conviction set aside.
In Some Cases, You May Be Precluded From Expunging Your Record
You are ineligible to have a conviction expunged if:
- You’ve been convicted of a felony, or an attempt to commit one, for which you could be imprisoned for life
- You’ve been convicted for felony domestic violence after being convicted for misdemeanor domestic violence
- You’ve been convicted of an offense related to human trafficking
- You’ve been convicted of certain child abuse, criminal sexual assault, or child sexual abuse crime
- You’ve been convicted of fourth-degree sexual conduct (after January 12, 2015)
- The conviction you want to expunge is a traffic offense, such as operating a vehicle while intoxicated
If you were convicted of prostitution as a result of being the victim of human trafficking, you are still able to apply to have more than one of those convictions expunged. In this situation, you do not have to wait five years to begin the process.
Do You Have Questions About Expungement? Call Us Today
If you’re wondering whether you’re eligible to expunge your record, how to go about doing so, or anything else about the process surrounding this complicated legal issue, reach out to an expungement lawyer right away. At DeBruin Law PLLC, we are prepared to help you understand how to set aside your Michigan criminal record.
To schedule your free case evaluation, contact us online, or call (517) 324-4303.