A criminal record can cause a lifetime of complications for those who have been convicted of a crime, but there are ways to overcome a criminal history. Michigan and many other states allow certain individuals to apply to clear their criminal records via expungement.
Successfully filing for expungement is one of the best ways to get your life back on track after a conviction. However, the expungement process can be complicated. You will need to meet certain prerequisites and adhere to all of the state’s requirements.
Clarkston expungement attorney Shaun R. Marks is an experienced criminal defense attorney who helps his clients through each step of the justice process. From fighting the charges to expunging a conviction, Shaun is prepared to help you get back on your feet.
To learn more about applying for expungement in Oakland County or another part of Michigan, contact Shaun today at (866) 335-9550.
Benefits of Expungement
An expungement can benefit you by removing common hurdles that people with criminal records often struggle with, such as:
- Difficulty applying for jobs
- Getting denied housing based on criminal history
- Inability to receive certain professional licenses
- Denial of 2nd Amendment right to own or possess a firearm.
Even after serving their terms, people with criminal convictions often continue to suffer punishment due to these barriers. An expungement is an opportunity for a second chance, as a lack of a criminal record makes it much easier to move on after a mistake.
Expunging Misdemeanors in Michigan
Most misdemeanors are eligible for expungement in Michigan, as long as at least five years have passed since the applicant’s conviction, release from incarceration, or parole discharge. Those who qualify may apply to expunge a misdemeanor by applying with the court where they were convicted. Additionally, many misdemeanors are now eligible for automatic expungement in Michigan.
Can You Expunge a Felony Conviction in Oakland County?
In Michigan, certain felonies are eligible for expungement. However, some felony offenses do not qualify based on the nature of the conviction. Specifically, the following felonies are not eligible for expungement in Michigan:
- Offenses that carry a maximum penalty of life in prison
- Second-degree child abuse
- Criminal sexual conduct
- Human trafficking
- Serious traffic offenses (such as drunk driving crashes with injuries).
Eligible felony convictions may be expunged five years after the conviction, the applicant’s release from prison or jail, or discharge from parole.
How Does Expungement Work in Michigan?
Each state has its own law regarding expungement. In Michigan, criminal records that are expunged are no longer accessible in public records. Employers, landlords, and professional agencies are not able to find or view them. However, law enforcement may still have access to a non-public record of the conviction.
Michigan’s expungement laws were expanded in 2021 when the Clean Slate Act went into effect. This Act expanded the types and numbers of convictions that are eligible for expungement. Eventually, this law will allow certain types of convictions to be automatically expunged without the need to apply.
Here is a summary of Michigan’s new laws on expungements:
- Up to 3 felonies and unlimited misdemeanors may now be expunged.
- Certain offenses may be expunged with less waiting time
- Some traffic offenses are now eligible for expungement
- First-time OWI convictions are eligible to be expunged
- Misdemeanor marijuana convictions may be expunged since marijuana is now legal in Michigan
- The “one bad night” provision allows certain related offenses to be combined as one offense when counting convictions.
Beginning in April of 2023, Michigan will have an automated expungement system that eliminates the need to file a paper application with the court.
As many as two felony convictions will be automatically expunged either 10 years after sentencing or after being released from incarceration. Up to four misdemeanors may be automatically expunged 7 years after sentencing.
Certain types of convictions will not be eligible for automatic expungement in Michigan:
- Assaultive offenses, which include assault, homicide, manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, and other violent crimes
- Serious misdemeanors, such as domestic violence, breaking and entering, and certain gun crimes
- Any conviction punishable by 10 or more years in prison
- Convictions involving minors, vulnerable adults, injuries, serious impairment, or death
- Any conviction related to human trafficking.
New Michigan Rules for OWI Expungements
The state government also recently changed the expungement requirements for first-time operating while intoxicated (OWI) offenses – also known as drunk driving. On February 19, 2022, these offenses became eligible for expungement under the following circumstances:
- Each individual may only expunge one operating while intoxicated/impaired offense in their lifetime
- People with more than one OWI conviction may expunge any one of those convictions, including their first one
- OWI convictions that involved injuries or deaths are not eligible for expungement
- You must wait at least 5 years before you can expunge a first-time OWI conviction.
OWI convictions are among some of the most commonly expunged convictions. You can learn more about how to expunge a drunk driving conviction in Michigan by speaking with an experienced Clarkston OWI lawyer.
How to Apply for Expungement in Michigan
While automatic expungements will go into effect soon, you still must apply for an expungement in Michigan. If you believe your conviction qualifies, take the following steps to have your record expunged:
- Fill out an expungement application
- Get a certified order of conviction from the court where you were convicted
- Get fingerprinted
- Buy a $50 money order made out to the Michigan State Police
- File the application and conviction order with the court of the conviction and send both documents to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the office of the prosecutor.
- Provide the application, conviction order, fingerprints, and money order to the Michigan State Police.
Contact Our Expungement Lawyers
You are free to apply for expungement on your own, but the process is complex. Getting your record cleared is a big step to returning to a normal life, so it is vital to make sure everything is submitted correctly.
Experienced Oakland County expungement lawyer Shaun R. Marks has helped many clients successfully expunge their criminal records. Contact Shaun today at (866) 335-9550 for more information on expungements and other criminal defense matters.