Expungement and Leave Past Convictions BehindThe expungement (set aside conviction) laws in Michigan have undergone some significant positive changes in the past few years, as the law was amended in both 2011 and 2015. In short, when a conviction is expunged / set aside, it is sealed and will remain nonpublic from that point forward. Its greatest real world benefit is that it allows the person who receives the expungement to be legally allowed to say “I have not been convicted of or charged with the crime expunged” on employment applications and the like. It provides, in essence, a blank slate for the individual.
Most recently, expungement possibilities have been opened up to individuals with not more than one felony and two misdemeanor convictions on their records.
Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions
An individual with not more than one felony conviction and two misdemeanor convictions can petition the court to expunge / set aside the felony conviction. Alternatively, an individual with not more than two misdemeanor convictions, and no felony convictions may petition to have one or both misdemeanor convictions expunged / set aside.
There are some exceptions to obtaining an expungement. Individuals who have been convicted of “life offense” crimes, such as 1st or 2nd Degree Murder, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, Criminal Sexual Conduct – 1st Degree, etc. are not eligible to have those convictions expunged.
Additionally, individuals who have been convicted of Motor Vehicle Code violations (misdemeanors or felonies, including all drunk / drugged driving convictions), domestic violence felonies, and most types of sexually related crimes are not eligible to seek an expungement / set aside.
More information can be found on our Eligibility for Expungement page, but once eligibility is determined, a lot of paperwork must be exchanged to various agencies, including the convicting Court, the Michigan State Police, and Office of the Attorney General. Assuming basic eligibility requirements are met, a hearing will be held, and the sole discretion on the issue is left to the convicting Court.
Having an attorney well versed in this area of law is important, as is having an attorney who frequently practices before the court / judge you will appear in front of on the issue. Every court / judge has different tendencies, and guidelines which guide their discretion on the issue.
Generally speaking, the individual seeking the expungement / set aside will be required to testify under oath at the hearing itself. You can find the basic form to request an expungement here. You can find additional information related to the process here.