An expungement is the setting aside of a criminal conviction from the public record of the Michigan State Police. An expungement allows one-time criminal offenders who satisfy the requirements of Michigan Law, to set aside that one criminal conviction. Meaning if you are one-time criminal offender who receives an expungement, you can truthfully and honestly tell potential employers that you have a clean criminal record. Other important benefits of an expungement include but are not limited to becoming eligible for student loans, housing assistance, professional licenses and certificates. Additionally, if you have a conviction expunged, when someone does a background check on you, courts and law enforcement agencies will indicate, no criminal record exists (i.e. "no record meeting dissemination criteria"). Thus, no public record of your conviction will exist after an expungement.
Eligibility for Expungement
You may apply to have a conviction set aside for any crime except:
(1) a conviction of a felony or an attempted felony punishable by life imprisonment;
(2) a violation or attempted violation of criminal sexual conduct under MCL 750.520c, MCL 750.520d, or MCL 750.520g; or
(3) a traffic offense.
A person who has been convicted of a non-traffic offense that is reported to the Secretary of State may apply to have the conviction set aside, but if the application is granted, the court cannot order the removal of the offense from the Secretary of State's records.
A person may apply to have a conviction set aside when five (5) years have passed since the date he or she was sentenced for the conviction, as long as he or she was not imprisoned. If the person was imprisoned, he or she may apply to have the conviction set aside when five (5) years have passed since being released from the term of imprisonment for that conviction.
Ineligibility for Expungement
It is likely you are NOT eligible for an expungment if-
(1) You have more than one Criminal Conviction. Multiple offenses disqualify you from expungement, whether misdemeanor or felony, or even arising out of the same incident;
(2) You have been convicted of a violation or an attempted violation of criminal sexual conduct under MCL 750.520c, MCL 750.520d, or MCL 750.520g;
(3) You have been convicted of a Traffic Offense; or
(4) You have been convicted of a Felony for which the maximum penalty is life in prison.
What happens when the Application for an Expungement is filed with the Court?
Once an application for expungement is made, a court may only set aside your conviction upon a showing that your circumstances and behavior since the date of the conviction to the filing of the application warrant an expungement, and that such action is consistent with the public welfare, and that the nature of an offense does not preclude the setting aside of your record. The setting aside of a conviction is a privilege and conditional; it is not a right. The process takes months and requires you to attend at least one hearing.
Additionally, the Attorney General of the State of Michigan, the prosecuting official of the original conviction, and the victim (depending on the nature and type of the crime) can contest and object, and often will contest and object to your application for expungement. Accordingly, it is advantageous to have an attorney represent you for an expungement.