If you have been convicted of a crime in Michigan, your criminal record will follow you throughout your life. This can be harmful when you are seeking a job and it could result in the loss of your civil rights (including your right to vote or possess a firearm).
The good news is that Michigan has a process that lets you clean your record in some ways. While some states allow for a total expungement of your record, Michigan has a slightly different law that is known as a “conviction set aside”. This is a complicated process. It is described and governed as in MCL 780.621. This law can be confusing to most people. It is recommended that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that this process is completed correctly and your rights are restored. Tanis Schultz can help you today, fill out our contact form for a free consultation.
Requirements for Expunging
MCL 780.621 provides the requirements for setting aside or expunging a conviction. The State requires that a person who has been fully discharged from probation or imprisonment may apply with the courts to have their judgment set aside.
Michigan allows for an unlimited number of misdemeanors and up to three felonies to be set aside or expunged (excluded are certain assault or weapons offenses and felonies that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison).
Michigan requires that if you are requesting to set aside more than one felony that at least seven years have passed since the sentence was imposed or you were discharged from imprisonment, probation, or parole, whichever is later and that you have not been convicted of any offense during that time. If you are requesting one or more serious misdemeanors to be set aside, at least five years must have passed since discharge from imprisonment, probation or parole, whichever is later and you must not have been convicted of any offense during that time. If you are requesting only one felony to be set aside at least five years must have passed since the sentence was imposed, discharge from imprisonment, probation or parole for the conviction, whichever is later and you must not have been convicted of any offense during that time. If you are requesting one or more misdemeanor(s) to be set aside, none of the misdemeanors can be considered a serious misdemeanor, for an assaultive crime, or for a first violation of operating while intoxicated, at least three years must have passed since the sentence was imposed or discharge from probation, whichever is later, and you must not have been convicted of any offense during that time.
Court Petition to Clear Michigan Records
In order to apply for an expungement, the applicant (or their attorney) must fill out an Application to Set Aside Conviction(s), SCAO Form MC 227. The application itself contains numerous steps, including obtaining a copy of your criminal record, the notarized application form, and obtaining your fingerprints. Copies of all of these documents must be submitted to the Court, prosecutor, the Attorney General, and the Michigan State Police. Finally, you must attend a hearing before a judge. Individuals can complete this process on their own, however, if a mistake is made there is a three year waiting period until you can request another expungement hearing.
At Tanis Schultz, we approach expungements with the vigor and work ethic that would be given to any active criminal defense case. You and your application are a priority to us. While many attorneys and individuals will just file the “required” documents, we file an extensive petition. We want the judge to know about you, your life, your success, and your growth before going in front of them for the hearing. We want the judge to know you as a person, not just as another case number in front of them. At Tanis Schultz we submit a thorough and extensive application along with the other required documentation, in essence, we go above and beyond to ensure the best possible outcome. We gather letters in support from your family and friends, employment history, and any other helpful information to make you and your application stand out. We zealously advocate for you at your hearing and we make sure that the judge understands how far you have come since your past mistakes.
Benefits of an Expungement
Having your criminal record cleaned up in Michigan can have various benefits for your future.
- Making it easier to find a job in Michigan.
- Making it easier to find housing in Michigan.
- Restoration of your civil rights, such as your right to possess a firearm and your right to vote in Michigan.
- Your criminal record will be annotated to show that your Michigan conviction(s) has been set aside and the charges have been dismissed.
Clearing up your criminal record is one of the first steps in many of our clients’ lives where they begin to finally move past the harm that can be caused by a criminal record. It’s a fresh start.
Can You Apply for a Set Aside in Michigan for an Out-of-State Conviction?
No. If you were convicted in another state for a crime, then you must apply for that state’s version of an expungement, even if you are currently living in Michigan. This process cannot be granted by a Michigan judge, because Michigan courts only have the ability to expunge a Michigan conviction.
If you are looking to have your Michigan criminal record set aside, contact us today to discuss your case. The consultation is free and confidential.