Michigan Expungement Lawyer Clean Your Record
MICHIGAN EXPUNGEMENT LAWYER.
The Michigan criminal expungement laws were broadened in January 2015, and now many more individuals can erase criminal convictions from their permanent criminal records. The law is still narrower than we would like, but the 2015 change was a giant step in the right direction. The net gain is that more persons are able to petition to have criminal convictions sealed from public view. We can assist you with preparing and filing an application to expunge and set aside a criminal conviction in Michigan. Read below to figure out if you qualify.
Live out of State? No Problem. We have helped many clients who have a criminal conviction in Michigan, but moved elsewhere. Much of the paperwork can be completed by our law office and exchanged via email and mail. Usually, only one visit to Michigan is necessary. In some circumstances, you might not have to appear at all. So, do not let distance keep you from filing a petition to expunge a criminal conviction in Michigan. We are experienced and have helped numerous out-of-state clients clean their records. We can help.
Expunge a Criminal Offense.
One in four Michigan residents has a misdemeanor conviction. One in six has a felony conviction! An Expungement or Setting Aside a Conviction is the process where a person petitions the court where they were convicted and sentenced to have the conviction set aside (or expunged). This process is called "setting aside a conviction." If the court grants the expungement petition, the criminal conviction is removed from the person's public criminal history. The record is sealed and no longer accessible to the general public. Removing convictions from a criminal history is a really good idea, particularly if the conviction was a felony. A felon can have his felony expunged and then he/she is no longer a felon! Similarly, the police officer who pulls you over for a minor traffic offense will treat you much differently if you were smart enough to remove the marijuana or drug conviction from years earlier. The cop will be a LOT LESS likely to ask inquisitive questions and want to search your car if you do not have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record.
Many individuals operate under the mistaken belief that criminal convictions will automatically fall off their record after a certain number of years. This thinking is not correct. Criminal convictions, whether a felony or misdemeanor, never fall off your criminal record under Michigan law. These convictions stay on your record – haunting you forever – unless you take action to remove them.
Our experienced Grand Rapids, Michigan expungement lawyer has successfully helped people begin a new chapter in their lives by helping them expunge and set aside criminal convictions from their criminal record.
We have been helping people get rid of misdemeanors and felonies for over 25 years.
The 2015 change in the law broadened the criteria of those who are eligible to expunge a conviction. It is truly rewarding to help a client remove a felony conviction that has been limiting their ability to get a good job or participate in their children's school activities. The value of starting over with a clean slate cannot be overstated. But Michigan law requires specific forms and procedures. You will need documentation that your post-conviction behavior justifies setting aside the conviction. The procedure is lengthy and warrants skilled handling by an experienced lawyer. You may face objections from the state attorney general's office, local prosecutor, and the victim in the case (if any).
There are many reasons for seeking an expungement, whether to find a job, get a better job, obtain grant money, apply to college, and even to receive public assistance. Although prospective employers are only allowed to ask if you have been convicted of a felony, (defined as an offense punishable by a year or more in prison), they can ask you to provide them with a criminal background history. Criminal background checks typically show all criminal convictions, including misdemeanor convictions. In addition, employers can obtain an Internet criminal background report (ICHAT) for about $10 without your permission (Michigan Criminal History Access (ICHAT) accessible at this link: Michigan Criminal History Access).
Removing an indiscretion from years back is a very good idea. We have seen cases where a criminal conviction for disturbing the peace or public intoxication thirty years earlier has kept eligible applicants from getting jobs. In a competitive job market, a background check is a great way to weed through a thick stack of applications. In addition, removing a felony conviction can point you on the path to restore your Second Amendment gun ownership rights.
Apartments may refuse to rent to those with domestic violence convictions.
Expunge a Criminal Offense in Michigan.
The law allows you to expunge one non-violent felony OR two misdemeanor convictions. If you have more than this amount, you can never remove any of them – ever.
Felony Expungement. To be eligible to expunge a felony conviction, you must meet these criteria:
- First, you must not have more than three (3) criminal convictions. Only one can be a non-violent felony (a felony conviction is any offense punishable by over a year in prison).
- Second, two of the convictions (if any) must have been misdemeanors (punishable by not more than one year in jail).
- Third, five years must have passed from the date you were sentenced, completed probation, were discharged from parole, or were released from imprisonment, whichever occurs last, for the offense you wish to expunge.
Misdemeanor Expungement. To be eligible to expunge a misdemeanor conviction, you must meet these criteria:
- First, you cannot have a felony conviction.
- Second, you cannot have more than two (2) misdemeanor convictions.
- Third, five years must have passed from the date you were sentenced, completed probation, were discharged from parole, or released from imprisonment, whichever occurs later in time, for the offense(s) you wish to expunge.
The law allows an applicant to request that one or both of the misdemeanors be expunged.
Example: Suppose you were convicted of MIP and possession of marijuana. After five years have passed from the last date you are sentenced, released from jail, or discharged from probation, you are eligible to petition (ask) the sentencing court to set one or both of them aside. However, you would NOT be eligible if picked up a third misdemeanor conviction for driving on a suspended license conviction (DWLS).
A Second Chance.
Surprisingly, the law allows an eligible applicant who was unsuccessful in an earlier expungement application to wait three (3) years from the date of the denial and re-petition for expungement. The court that denied the initial petition can also specify a shorter time than 3 years.
How to Expunge a Criminal Conviction.
If you meet the criteria listed above and your offense is eligible for expungement, you must file a petition in the same court where you were sentenced. Before filing a petition, it is important to know that expunging a criminal offense is not a right, but a privilege. The judge is under no obligation to grant your set aside petition. The judge will look at many factors, including the type of crime, the circumstances, your age, and most importantly, what have you done with your life since the crime was committed.
Certain crimes and convictions can NEVER be expunged:
- a violent felony
- a felony that has a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
- an attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum punishment is life in prison.
- most criminal sexual conduct (CSC) crimes.
- serious child abuse cases.
- traffic misdemeanor offenses.
- all terrorism related actions.
- a domestic violence felony conviction if the person had a prior domestic violence conviction.
Let Us Help You.
We are experienced and can help. We will assist you navigate through the expungement maze, and if possible, help you set aside a criminal conviction that may be hindering your career or job search. We are experienced. We get results. Put us to work to help you get the second chance you deserve. Call and we can help you determine if you are eligible to expunge your criminal conviction.
We carefully screen applicants and thoroughly prepare expungement petitions. Many potential applicants think they qualify — but do not. Often this is because they forgot about a minor traffic misdemeanor they may not have even realized was a criminal offense. So, plan on obtaining an ICHAT criminal history report (available here ICHAT), and a copy of your complete driving history from the Michigan Secretary of State's Office to your appointment.
Attorney Bruce Alan Block successfully helps individuals expunge crimes from their criminal record. If you are interested in expunging a criminal conviction or need additional information please contact our Grand Rapids Michigan Expungement Lawyer. Call (616) 676-8770.
Question: I was convicted of two misdemeanors: minor in possession (MIP) when I was 17 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor when I was 18. A year later, I was convicted of driving with an expired license – my third misdemeanor. I have a BA in criminal justice, and no court is willing to hire me given my past criminal record. Can I have one or more of my convictions set aside?
Answer: The 2011 and 2015 changes allow a person to set aside not more than two (2) misdemeanor convictions. Since you had three misdemeanor convictions, you cannot expunge any of them. Also, the expired license misdemeanor could never be expunged because it was a traffic offense.
Question: I was convicted of Larceny from a Building (a felony) and driving without a license. Can I petition to expunge either offense?
Answer: You are eligible to petition to set aside the felony conviction. You are not eligible to set aside the misdemeanor conviction for two reasons: (a) it is a traffic misdemeanor; and (b) you have a felony conviction. You can only set aside a misdemeanor conviction so long as you only have two misdemeanors and NO felony convictions.
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Attorney and Counselor at Law
1155 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: (616) 676-8770
Serving Clients throughout Western Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, Ionia, Ada, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Cascade, Wyoming, Byron Center, Caledonia, Cascade, Rockford, Holland, Grand Haven, Grandville, Kent County, Barry County, Ottawa County, Muskegon County, Ionia County. We represent college students from Calvin College, Aquinas, Grand Valley State University, Ferris, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, and many more.
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