After fully completing court-imposed sanctions, it may seem as if you are serving a life sentence. Why? Your criminal history can make it difficult to get a good job. Your eligibility for student loans, housing assistance and professional licenses will be impacted.
Michigan law allows for certain convictions to be kept off of your record entirely but you must take steps to remove them. The term “Expungement” is what people commonly use when referring to the ability to have a criminal conviction removed from your record. Technically speaking, what most people refer to as “Expungement” is a “Set Aside of Conviction.” Felony expungement is also called “record sealing”, “expunction”, or “setting aside a conviction”.
What is Felony Expungement?
An expungement is the setting aside of a criminal conviction from the public record of the Michigan State Police. When a conviction is expunged, you have a clean slate. The state deletes your criminal record so that it can never be accessed by the public. When someone does a background check on you, courts and law enforcement agencies will indicate that no criminal record exists. After an expungement you can legally state that you have not been convicted of any crime.
The Number of Convictions
To have a conviction set aside in Michigan, you must have limited convictions on your record. If you have only one felony conviction, and two or fewer misdemeanors, you can ask a judge to set aside your felony conviction. If you have two or fewer misdemeanor convictions, and no felony convictions, you can ask to have one or both of your misdemeanors set aside.
The Type of Convictions
The following convictions may never be set aside:
The Waiting Period
There is a waiting period before you can file your application. You must wait at least five years after your last interaction with law enforcement for the conviction before you can apply. That means at least five years must have passed since:
Not all of these events may apply to your situation. You might not have been in prison, or you might not have been placed on probation or paroled.
If you applied to set aside the same conviction before, and you were denied, you must wait three years from the date of denial to apply again. However, a judge can allow you to apply sooner than the three year period.
The Process of Applying for an Expungement
The process starts by getting a set of fingerprints done at your local police or county sheriff’s department. Make sure the person doing the fingerprinting knows the purpose of the prints so the correct fingerprint card is used. Next, a certified copy of your order of conviction must be ordered. Once the Prints are done, a form called an “application to Set Aside Conviction” is filed with the court where the case was originally heard. After the Court Clerk completes this form, your lawyer sends copies of it, along with your fingerprint card and a $50 processing fee to the State Police Department Criminal Justice Information Center in Lansing. Your prints and record will be checked statewide and nationally. Other copies of the completed form, with a Notice of Hearing, are mailed to the Michigan Attorney General, and the Prosecutor’s office who originally handled the case.
Normally a hearing is scheduled from 4 to 8 weeks after the request is submitted. The person seeking the expungement and their lawyer must appear before a judge to explain why the conviction should be set aside. Law enforcement officials and victims of your crime are allowed to testify to support your application or to object to it. You may also bring witnesses to testify in support of your application. The decision whether to grant the Application, once the initial criteria have been met, rests entirely with the Judge. If the judge agrees that your conviction should be set aside, an order to set aside conviction will be entered with the court. Your lawyer will need to send copies of it to the Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Corrections, and anyone else keeping a record of your convictions.
About Carl Jordan
Carl Jordan is a Michigan criminal defense attorney who is a former prosecutor in Wisconsin and Michigan. He can help you expunge your criminal record. Whatever the circumstances of your particular situation, Carl Jordan will consult with you for free and determine whether you may qualify for an expungement. If you retain his services, he will help you clear your criminal history as quickly as possible. Sometimes when people represent themselves or hire a bargain lawyer, the result is not good. Once you petition to have a conviction set aside and the petition is denied, you cannot bring another petition for three years. Don’t take a chance on getting your life back, call Carl Jordan today.