EXPUNGEMENT INFORMATION

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What is an Expungement?

Expunging your criminal record means that your prior conviction is set aside. If you have a conviction expunged, you are considered not to have been convicted for most purposes.  For example, you can honestly tell potential employers that you have a clean criminal record.
Your conviction can only be used for very limited purposes, such as increasing your sentence if you are convicted of a new offense. An expunged conviction is not supposed to appear on your rap sheet. (If it does, contact an attorney.) Getting your criminal record expunged can make it much easier for you to get a job, housing, or credit. Many employers won't hire you if you have a criminal record. Many landlords won't rent to you. And a criminal record may prevent you from getting subsidized housing or public benefits. If you have a criminal record, you probably already know how much harder it makes many things in life. If you can get your record expunged, the law treats you – in most cases – as if you had never been convicted.

How Do I Know if I Can Get an Expungement?
Both adult convictions and juvenile adjudications can be expunged. However, not everyone can get their criminal record expunged. To be eligible for an expungement, you must meet very specific criteria.

To see if you are eligible to expunge a conviction or juvenile adjudication in the state of Michigan, take the test below. If the answer to all of the questions is no, you may be eligible for an expungement. If you have convictions in another state, or if you have a federal conviction,
different rules will apply. If, after taking the test, you are unsure whether you can get an expungement, you should consult our office.

1. Do you have more than one adult criminal conviction or more than one juvenile adjudication?
Yes
: You cannot get your criminal record expunged. It does not matter if only one of the crimes is a felony. Even if only one of the crimes is serious, you cannot get an expungement. Even if you just have two misdemeanor convictions, you cannot get them expunged.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. Go on to question 2.

Notes: Sometimes people have more than one conviction or adjudication in the same case. For example, if the cops arrested you for driving on a suspended license and then found pot in your car, you could have convictions both for driving on a suspended license and for possession.
Even though you only got arrested once, and only went to court for that one case, if you were convicted on both the suspended license and the possession charges, you have two convictions.
Therefore, you cannot get an expungement. Before you file for an expungement, get a copy of your criminal record and check it carefully to make sure there is only one conviction.
If you have one adult conviction and one juvenile adjudication, you should consult an attorney. If you have questions about how many convictions/adjudications you have, get a copy
of your criminal record.

2. Were you convicted of a felony or an attempt to commit a felony that is punishable by life imprisonment?

Yes: You cannot get your criminal record expunged.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. Go on to question 3.

Notes: It does not matter whether or not you were sentenced to life imprisonment. The question is whether you were convicted of an offense for which you could have gotten a life sentence. For example, if you received a ten-year sentence, but you could have gotten a life sentence, you cannot get an expungement. If you were adjudicated as a juvenile, the question is whether your crime was one that, if committed by an adult, would carry a maximum life sentence. Even if you were tried as a juvenile, if you could have gotten a life sentence if you had been tried as an adult, then you cannot get your juvenile record expunged. If you do not know what the maximum sentence was for your crime, consult our office.

3. Were you convicted of felony criminal sexual conduct (first, second, or third degree), or assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct?

Yes: You cannot get your criminal record expunged.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. Go on to question 4.

Notes: You may be eligible for an expungement if you were convicted of misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct. If you have a juvenile record for criminal sexual conduct, consult our office.  An expungement of a CSC 4th means that the public record is cleared but you still have to remain on the sex offender registry. 

4. Were you convicted of or adjudicated for a traffic offense, or a non-traffic offense reportable to the Secretary of State?

Yes: You cannot get your criminal record expunged.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. Go on to question 5.

Notes: In general, "traffic offenses" involve the operation of a motor vehicle and are contained within a special section of the law called the Motor Vehicle Code. If you are unsure whether your conviction is for a "traffic offense," consult our office.  OWI’s and related offenses CANNOT be expunged.  I wish they could be since this is the most often question I am asked. 

5. Has it been less than five years since the date of your conviction or adjudication?

Yes: You cannot get your criminal record expunged now. You must wait until five years have passed from the date of your conviction or from the date of your juvenile adjudication. You may be able to get an expungement once the five years are up.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. Go on to question 6.

6. If you were imprisoned, has it been less than five years since you were released?

Yes: You cannot get your criminal record expunged now. You must wait until five years have passed from the date of your release from prison or jail. You may be able to get an expungement once the five years are up.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. Go on to question 7.

7. If you are applying to set aside a juvenile adjudication, are you under 24?

Yes: You cannot get your juvenile adjudication expunged now. You must wait until you are at least 24 to apply for an expungement.

No: You may be able to get your record expunged. See the instructions below on how to expunge you record.

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If you answered no to all of the questions in the test above, you should try to get an expungement.

How Do We Get Your Record Expunged?

In order to apply for an expungement, we must file a motion with the court in which you were convicted, or in which you were adjudicated as a juvenile. This may mean that we must go back in front of the judge who sentenced you. Sometimes, however, cases are transferred to a
different judge. We can find out what judge is assigned to your case by calling the clerk of the court in which you were convicted or adjudicated.

Please call 616-915-6576 for a FREE consultation