Expunging a Criminal Record

Expunging a Criminal Record

Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, for certain people if the mistake resulted in a criminal conviction then the consequences can be harsh when it comes to finding employment. Indeed, many people find in their pursuit of a job their resume was tossed aside as soon as a criminal background check was run and revealed a conviction. Michigan’s expungement law, MCL 780.621, allows a person set aside a criminal conviction that was over five years ago.

Successful expungement will clear a person’s record of a crime, which will allow a person to honestly tell an employer that they have not been convicted of a crime. A review of the basic steps to obtain an expungment reveal that certain criteria must be met before one even files his or her Motion to Set Aside a criminal conviction.

In order to successfully expunge a record, the conviction cannot be for (1) a felony for which the maximum sentence is life in prison; (2) a felony involving certain criminal sexual conduct violations (MCL 750.520c, .520d, or .520g); or (3) a misdemeanor traffic offense such as drunk driving, driving without a license, or any other criminal misdemeanor under the Michigan Vehicle Code, MCL 257.1 et seq.

The next consideration in determining whether one can successfully expunge a record is whether one has more than one conviction. Until June 2011, if a person had more than one conviction they absolutely were forbidden from expunging a conviction from their record. Now, however, it is possible to expunge a conviction if the person has only two convictions and they are for “minor offenses” as defined by MCL 780.621(1). There are nuances to this law such as if you have one conviction, and one of those convictions was set aside (dismissed) due to a deferred sentence, a plea under advisement, or Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA), MCL 762.11, then is not likely a court will look favorably upon setting aside your single guilty conviction. You will need aggressive advocacy to get past this hurdle.

After meeting the requirements, a person can then begin the official process of setting aside a conviction. This process is rigid and must be followed exactly. The steps are as follows: (1) getting a certified copy of the conviction; (2) obtaining one’s fingerprints from the local police agency; (3) completing the copies to set aside the conviction; (4) filing the application with the court clerk; (5) mailing the application to the appropriate authorities, including the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the county in which one was convicted.

After all of these steps have been completed successfully, the final step is convincing a judge that the conviction should be set aside. Our firm has successfully represented clients in hundreds of expungements throughout West Michigan. Give us a Call today so we can get started on your case.


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