Expunge A Criminal Record
A felony on your record can greatly impact many aspects of your life. For numerous people, including those in the medical or insurance fields, even misdemeanors may negatively impact your employability. Don’t allow for past mistakes to continue to haunt you or hold you back from your potential.
Setting aside a conviction, also known as an expungement, changes your conviction from public to nonpublic and you are legally considered not to have been convicted. If your conviction is expunged, you can say you that have never been convicted of that crime. For instance, if you were convicted of a larceny and got that conviction set aside you would be able to honestly tell potential employers you have never been convicted of a larceny.
A recent study by University of Michigan Law School researchers J.J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr determined that just 6.5 percent of people who are legally eligible for expungement obtain it within five years of eligibility. At the same time, they found, those who obtain expungement have extremely low subsequent crime rates, and experience a sharp upturn in their employment paths and wages.
Researchers found that when people who are eligible for expungement do not achieve it, it is far more likely that they didn’t apply than that their application was denied by a judge.
Once a conviction is expunged, the law allows an individual the legal right to respond “no” when a potential employer or landlord asks if the applicant has a criminal record. In most states, including Michigan, sealed, set aside or expunged convictions remain available for law enforcement purposes and for sentencing in the event of a subsequent crime.
Are You Eligible?
Expungements in Michigan are governed by state law under MCL 780.621. Previously, a person with more than one conviction, including one felony and a misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanor offenses were not eligible to apply for a criminal record expungement.
Before you attempt to expunge your conviction, you need to make sure that you are eligible. Not all convictions can be expunged and a certain period of time must pass before a conviction can be set aside. If you are not currently eligible, check back in a few years to see if the law has changed, as it has been amended several times.
In 2015, Michigan modified its expungement statue to allow persons who meet the following criteria to seek a criminal expungement:
• Not more than one felony and not more than two misdemeanor offenses.
• At least five years have passed from the date of release from jail or prison and/or discharge from probation or completion of other terms of sentence, including restitution.
• The felony conviction does not carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
• The conviction does not fall under Michigan’s child abuse first-fourth degree statutes.
The following offenses cannot be expunged:
• A felony conviction for domestic violence by a person with a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.
• Certain offenses under Michigan’s Motor Vehicle Code such as driving while intoxicated, driving with open alcohol in the vehicle and driving with no insurance and/or driving while license suspended or revoked.
You can handle your expungement if you choose. However, if the expungement process is not handled correctly and the expungement request is denied by a judge, Michigan’s expungement law requires that a person wait three years before re-applying. Therefore, it is recommended that you hire an attorney with experience in expungement matters to handle your case.
Contact Attorney Steven G. Storrs
Attorney Steven G. Storrs has the experience and knowledge to successfully clear your criminal record.
If you have questions regarding an expungement, please call Attorney Steven Storrs, at 269-945-2242 or click here to contact me to set up an appointment to discuss your options.
*This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes frequently change and this post may not be up-to-date. Please consult an attorney before making important decisions regarding your individual situation.