A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can be a lifetime ball and chain. If a prospective employer discovers the conviction, a promising job may vanish. A criminal conviction can also bar a person from obtaining a professional license. An expungement protects the criminal record from the eyes of a potential employer or a state licensing board.
New rules for expungements
In 2020, the Michigan legislature amended the expungement statute by increasing the number of lifetime convictions a person can have and still be eligible to expunge more than one of those convictions. A conviction is any conviction for a felony or misdemeanor. Guilt must have been determined by a judge or jury or by a person’s acceptance of a plea agreement.
The state has established a website that provides information and assistance for persons considering an application for an expungement. The lifetime limit on the number of convictions depends on the types of crimes involved and a person’s criminal record after the first conviction is entered into the record.
Seeking an expungement
An applicant for an expungement must complete the online application, sign it, and have it notarized. The application must then be filed with the district court where the convictions occurred. The application, a check for $50 and the applicant’s fingerprints must be filed with the state police. A copy of the application must be furnished to the state attorney general and to the prosecutor who handled the conviction.
Gathering criminal records
A person can obtain a copy of their criminal record in Michigan from Michigan’s Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT). A person’s criminal record from other states or from the FBI can be obtained from the FBI’s Criminal Background Check website.
Some expungement applications can become unexpectedly complicated. Anyone with more than one conviction may benefit from consulting with a criminal defense attorney who has handled previous expungement applications.