Am I Eligible Under Michigan’s New Expungement Law?Oct 21, 2019, by Criminal Defense in
If you have a conviction as part of your prior criminal history, there’s a good chance you’re already dealing with the collateral consequences. Though you’ve served your sentence, your background may still be an issue. The barriers to employment are especially troubling because they affect your ability to create a solid financial future. However, a recent move by Michigan lawmakers may provide you with legal options to hide past convictions for most purposes. In September 2019, legislators introduced a criminal justice reform bill that could expand expungement, giving hope to thousands of eligible individuals.
At Davis Law Group, we know how frustrating and disappointing it can be when your attempts at making a brighter future are hindered by your past. Fortunately, you could soon be eligible to expunge your record through the new law, and you may have options under existing Michigan criminal statutes. To learn more about your rights, please contact our office at (313) 818-3238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Detroit expungements attorneys.
Synopsis of the Expungement Process
Under Michigan’s statute on setting aside convictions, it’s possible to eliminate previous felony or misdemeanor convictions from your permanent criminal record. There are strict rules on eligibility and legal requirements you must meet through the legal process, but the end result is that your history will no longer appear on a background check. In addition, you won’t have to disclose a previous conviction, such as when filling out an employment application.
While expungement erases previous criminal activity from your record for most purposes, these convictions are still accessible under certain circumstances. Certain government agencies, law enforcement, and criminal courts may be able to view your expunged offenses. For instance, if you’re arrested after setting aside a conviction, officials may access your record in connection with the criminal charges.
Key Provisions of the Proposed Expungement Law in Michigan
The bill under consideration by Michigan lawmakers is actually a package of six separate measures regarding setting aside convictions. The package includes the following provisions:
- It expands the qualification rules to individuals who have up to three felony convictions, if none of the previous crimes are assault related.
- Some offenders may be eligible for automatic expunction. If you would qualify after filing a petition under existing law, you can set aside any non-assaultive offenses which are punishable by less than 10 years’ incarceration.
- One measure allows for expungement of all convictions for marijuana crimes, if the underlying activity would be permissible under current law. This provision is crucial for offenses related to recreational use, which became legal in Michigan as of November 2018.
- You may qualify to set aside a conviction where multiple felonies were committed as part of the same act, meaning your record will show a single felony. This treatment could make you eligible for expungement where you otherwise would not be eligible based upon the number of felonies.
- The proposed measure would allow expunction for some traffic offenses. It doesn’t apply to drunk driving convictions and crimes that resulted in death or serious bodily harm to a victim.
- Expungement eligibility periods would be decreased, so you could file your petition to set aside a conviction in a shorter time.
Eligibility Under Existing Law
Because it may be some time before the proposed law becomes effective, if at all, it’s worth looking into the current legal landscape regarding expungement. The general eligibility rules are:
- You may petition to set as aside a conviction if you have just one felony and no more than two misdemeanors on your record. However, you can only expunge the felony conviction.
- You may be eligible for expunction of not more than two misdemeanors if you have no felonies in your criminal history. The exception is where the misdemeanors were sex crimes designated by the statute.
- A conviction for fourth degree sexual conduct may be expunged if you have not more than two offenses defined as “minor” by law, such as those that only involve a fine or crimes you committed when under 21 years old.
There are many more details and specifics involved with Michigan’s current law on setting aside convictions. You should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand the requirements as they apply to your situation.
Discuss Your Options with a Michigan Expungements Attorney
Whether you qualify under current law or become eligible under Michigan’s proposed statute, expunging your criminal record can open the door to opportunity. The process can be complicated, but our team at Davis Law Group can help you navigate the challenges.