Expunction, also known as expungement, is a process that some states allow through which persons convicted of certain crimes can get the records of their conviction cleared or sealed.
Expunging a Conviction in Michigan
How Can I Expunge a Conviction in Michigan?
In Michigan, a criminal conviction may be expunged in certain circumstances. A conviction that has been expunged cannot be accessed by the general public or used by law enforcement.
Expunged records may still be considered if the applicant is applying for a law enforcement position. Prior convictions may also be used as evidence in subsequent offenses. An expungement does not relieve a defendant from registering as a previous sex offender.
What Are Some Tips on How to Expunge a Record?
Expunging a record can allow a person to have their criminal record cleared. Basic information regarding expungement should be taken into consideration, such as:
- Requests: You must specifically file a request to expunge a record. The judge must conduct hearings to determine whether you are eligible for expungement.
- Conditions: You may need to satisfy conditions before being eligible for expungement. In addition to paying fines, completing sentences, and following probation terms, you may be required to follow certain rules.
- Waiting Periods: To expunge a record, it may be necessary to wait for a specified amount of time after the conviction, such as 5-10 years.
Can All Charges and Convictions Be Expunged?
It is important to understand that some crimes are treated more seriously than others. As a result, some convictions are easier to expunge than others. For instance, it’s usually easier to have a simple misdemeanor conviction expunged as compared to a felony expungement.
What Happens if My Criminal Record Gets Expunged?
In most situations, if you have had your conviction expunged, you can legally deny ever having been convicted. If you are interviewing for a job and are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, and the conviction has been expunged, you can legally say that you haven’t been convicted.
There are some exceptions to this rule, such as certain jobs that require you to disclose convictions even if they have been expunged (caring for children, government jobs, etc.).
Can an Expunged Record Still Be Accessed?
A public record that has been expunged usually cannot be accessed by anyone. It is impossible to reference an expunged criminal record in a job application or when applying for housing.
Nonetheless, a judge may still refer to the general fact that a person was convicted of a crime in some cases. In general, they can’t discuss details of the case, but they can refer to certain criminal charges. The court usually does this when dealing with a repeat conviction and needs to know how to sentence the offender.
What About Repeat Offenses?
Repeat offenses can often be expunged from a person’s record if they meet the qualifications. Nevertheless, the court may note if a person has previously been convicted of an offense, even if the conviction has already been expunged. A judge is not allowed to examine details of an expunged conviction; they are only permitted to note a previous offense to determine whether a subsequent conviction is a repeat offense.
Once a conviction is expunged, it’s as if the person never committed the crime, and a “clean slate” is given to them.
Is an Expunged Record the Same as a Sealed Record?
The terms “expunged record” and “sealed record” are often used interchangeably. It is important to note that the two terms can have slightly different meanings. When a criminal record is expunged, it is as if the offender did not commit the crimes in question. The records of the person no longer contain them.
On the other hand, a “sealed” record may still contain information about previous claims. Some criminal records might be “temporarily sealed” or sealed for just one court proceeding, to be reopened later on. Each case will have its own specific details.
Are Juvenile and Adult Records Treated Differently?
After the defendant reaches the age of 17, juvenile records involving the diverted sentence (such as participation in a social rehabilitation program) must be destroyed within 28 days.
In contrast, adult convictions may be expunged under the following circumstances:
- The conviction is for a first-time offense.
- The person has been found guilty, or guilty but mentally ill, or has pleaded no contest.
- The conviction is not for a sexual offense.
- The conviction is not for a felony, an attempted felony punishable by a life prison sentence, or a traffic offense.
- The defendant does not have any other prior convictions or other convictions that have been set aside.
What Is Felony Expungement?
An individual may wish to have a crime expunged for various reasons. For example, some convictions may cause problems when trying to obtain employment, professional licensing, or the right to vote, especially for felony convictions. The arrest and criminal prosecution on the individual’s record can cause similar problems even if they are not convicted.
Requirements for Expungement
To file an expungement properly, the applicant must file within the right time frame, provide all relevant information required in the application, pay the application fee, and provide fingerprints. In order to qualify for expungement, the applicant must apply at least five years after the sentencing for the conviction or five years after the completion of any prison sentence.
Expungements are only granted when the court determines that they are consistent with the public welfare and that the defendant’s behavior from conviction to an application is favorable.
I’d Like to Get a Felony Expunged — Is This Possible?
Exposing a felony from a person’s criminal record is extremely difficult. In general, the more serious the crime, the less likely it is that an individual will be able to have it expunged. It is typically not possible to expunge felony convictions for crimes such as murder and child pornography.
An expungement request may be more likely to be considered by the court if certain factors are present. Among them are:
- Whether the individual was a minor at the time the crime was committed;
- The nature of the crime;
- How much time has passed since the conviction or arrest; and
- If all court-ordered requirements for the sentence are completed.
A felony arrest differs from a felony charge. When an individual is arrested on suspicion of committing a felony, they are placed in custody. When an individual is charged with a felony, an official legal proceeding has been initiated against them. Expunging a felony arrest is more likely than expunging a felony charge.
Felony convictions remain on an individual’s criminal record for life. Expungement is the only way to remove it. An individual’s felony conviction can be expunged from their record.
Expunction petitions must usually meet state-specific criteria before they can be granted.
An individual may file a petition for expungement with the court once the criteria of their jurisdiction are met. In most cases, the petition is filed in the same court as the criminal case.
A certified copy of the individual’s criminal record may be required.
Consulting an Attorney
When you are ready to apply for expungement, you should contact a Michigan expungement lawyer. An attorney can advise you on the proper course of action.
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