What Is An Expungement?
- Michigan law has long provided that those convicted of most state criminal offenses (e.g. other than offenses like murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct or traffic offenses like drunk driving) can, under certain circumstances and, if certain preconditions are met, have those convictions expunged or “set aside” so that only a non-public record—available to law enforcement—remained in the public domain where employers and others could find them.
Big changes are coming to these laws, however in 2021 and beyond to expand the types and numbers of offenses that can be expunged and, eventually, to provide for the “automatic” expungement of certain convictions without the need for anyone to affirmatively petition or apply to the convicting court for such an action.
What Is The Law In The State Of Michigan On Expungements?
- The new expungement laws are being phased in over time.
Applications to expunge “misdemeanor marijuana convictions” can be filed beginning April 11, 2021.
The changes to the numbers/types of convictions that can be set aside are going into effect on April 11, 2021.
The “automatic” expungement law is going into effect likely no earlier than October of 2022.
From April 11, 2021 And Forward
- A person convicted of 1 or more criminal offenses including felonies and misdemeanors, but not more than a total of 3 felony offenses, may file an application with the convicting court to expunge all of his or her convictions, with the following exceptions:
- A person cannot seek to expunge more than 2 “assaultive crime” convictions during his or her lifetime, or
- A person cannot seek to expunge more than 1 felony conviction for the same offense if it is punishable by more than 10 years’ incarceration.
Pursuant to MCL 780.621b(1), “more than 1 felony offense or more than 1 misdemeanor offense must be treated as a single felony or misdemeanor conviction if the felony or misdemeanor convictions were contemporaneous such that all of the felony or misdemeanor offenses occurred within 24 hours and arose from the same transaction, provided that none of those felony or misdemeanor offenses constitute any of the following:
- An assaultive crime defined by reference to other statutes.
- A crime involving the use of a dangerous weapon
- A crime with a maximum penalty of 10 or more years’ imprisonment
- An out-of-state conviction for which the underlying conduct would be an assaultive crime in Michigan
While some traffic offenses can be expunged, an order expunging a conviction for a traffic offense cannot require that the Michigan Secretary of State remove or expunge the conviction from the person’s driving record.
- MCL 780.621(d)
- The waiting time for filing an application to expunge a felony conviction is at least 7 years from the latest of the following events: date of the sentencing, completion of a term of probation, discharge from parole, or completion of any term of imprisonment.
- The waiting time for filing an application to expunge a misdemeanor conviction will be at least 3 years from the latest of the following events: date of the sentencing, completion of a term of probation, discharge from parole, or completion of any term of imprisonment.
However, if the conviction is for a serious misdemeanor or an assaultive crime, the waiting time for filing an application to expunge the misdemeanor conviction will be at least 5 years from the latest of the events noted above.
- If you obtain another conviction during the waiting time under the new law, you will be disqualified from expunging the prior conviction.
- All offenses punishable by life imprisonment
- Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct
- Child sexually abusive material or activity offenses
- Felony domestic violence if the person has a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence
- Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (committed after January 12, 2015)
- Human-trafficking-related offenses
- Second-degree child abuse
- Second-degree criminal sexual conduct
- Some traffic offenses such as: convictions for driving while intoxicated, traffic offenses that cause injury or death, and Commercial Driver License violations
- Terrorism-related offenses – includes convictions for attempts to commit any of these offenses
- Third-degree criminal sexual conduct
- Using a computer to commit sex crimes offenses
A conviction can be big trouble for your record. With our expert legal advice, you may be able to have your past record sealed from public view or cleared entirely.
At our law firm, we know how devastating a conviction can be to your future. That’s why we fight so hard to help our clients get charges dismissed or significantly reduced. One mistake should not haunt your record or destroy your future! If you’ve paid the fine or done the time, you deserve a clean slate.
We understand that budget may be the only thing keeping you from clearing your record. At Michigan Criminal Lawyers, our payment plans and credit card acceptance means you can afford the BEST criminal law defense!
Contact our offices today, and get started on a new future.
Can any conviction be expunged?
When you meet with us to start the expungement process, we will give an honest assessment of whether your conviction can be cleared or your records sealed. It all depends on type of crime, sentence served, and how much time has passed since the conviction was handed down. With decades of experience in every court system, we can take you as far as possible toward clearing your record.