Expunge Michigan Traffic Offenses - Expungement Lawyer

Michigan Expungement Lawyer Expunge a Michigan Traffic Offense.

The Michigan Legislature broadened the expungement or Set Aside Conviction statute in 2015, which made many more individuals eligible to set aside criminal convictions from their past. Sadly, although many more persons can petition to set aside criminal convictions, NONE of Michigan's traffic offense misdemeanors are eligible to be set aside or expunged.

Traffic misdemeanors can be tricky and confusing, as there are offenses that are labeled civil infractions (such as speeding), and others that are criminal misdemeanors (such as expired license plate). Often, we hear from a person that they were not even aware they were charged with and pled guilty to a criminal misdemeanor, a crime that can never be expunged and will stay on their criminal history and driving record FOREVER.

The Michigan Expungement statute, also called the Set Aside Conviction statute, MCL 780.621, expressly prohibits any traffic misdemeanor convictions from being set aside or expunged. Unfortunately, there are NO exceptions. This prohibition does not make sense, as the same law allows for the vast majority of non-traffic misdemeanor and felony convictions to be set aside if a person meets the eligibility criteria. See our Expungement Page for details on how you can petition to set aside a criminal conviction.

Recognizing a Traffic Misdemeanor.

The most common traffic misdemeanors are reckless driving, driving with a suspended license or no license (DWLS), improper license plate, expired license plate, drunk driving (OWI, OWID, OWVI), and a lot more. There is even a traffic misdemeanor offense for not having auto insurance. Michigan law mandates that every vehicle on the road have car insurance. However, there is also a civil infraction for not having proof of insurance in your vehicle. The distinction between a traffic misdemeanor and a civil infraction can be very confusing, especially since they are both written up on the same one-size-fits-all ticket.

There are two ways to tell the difference. Probably the best way of distinguishing whether you have been written up for a traffic misdemeanor or a less serious traffic civil infraction is to carefully inspect the State of Michigan Uniform Law Citation. Next to the charge there is a very small box that indicates what type of offense you are being charged with. The type of charge is abbreviated - which makes things even more confusing. There are three boxes that you need to be concerned about: C/I = Civil Infraction; Misd = criminal misdemeanor; Fel = criminal felony. If the "Misd" box is checked it means you are accused of a traffic misdemeanor. "Warn" means that you were only issued a warning. Look left to see the State of Michigan Uniform Law Citation Form.

Another way to differentiate between a civil infraction and a criminal misdemeanor is whether you must see a judge if you decide to just pay the ticket. Since jail is not possible for civil infractions, you do not need to see a judge to just pay it. You can pay it at the clerk's window. However, if the court clerk says you must appear before a magistrate or judge, that is a clear indication that you have been charged with a traffic misdemeanor. Remember, traffic misdemeanors can NEVER be expunged or set aside.

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Do Not Plead Guilty without talking with a Grand Rapids Traffic Defense Lawyer.

In our opinion, admitting responsibility or pleading guilty to a traffic misdemeanor or civil infraction ticket without first talking with a lawyer is a BIG MISTAKE, as often the charge can often be lessened and/or the consequences reduced. Never go to court alone. Never, Never ever just plead guilty. Always talk with a West Michigan criminal defense lawyer and traffic defense lawyer before going to court. In over 25 years of legal practice, there have been few cases that we were not able to positively impact. Our Grand Rapids, Michigan criminal traffic defense lawyer will advise and guide you through the criminal law maze that includes traffic civil infractions and traffic misdemeanors.

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