One of the worst parts of a criminal conviction or, for that matter, an arrest in Michigan is not necessarily the sentence – which may include fines, incarceration, probation, or other forms of punishment – but the collateral consequences. Collateral consequences include the social and financial harm associated with an arrest or criminal record. Because of the latter, you can lose your job or miss out on career opportunities. Your reputation is at stake as much as your financial future.
This is true for people who made a mistake but are otherwise law-abiding citizens. Think of drunk driving cases, where a person underestimates their blood alcohol content and ends up getting arrested. An incident like this can happen to the best of us as well as the worst of us.
Understanding Expungement in Michigan
Expungement is the process of erasing a criminal arrest or conviction from your record via a court order.
Once a record has been expunged, it's as though it never existed. You typically don't have to disclose it to potential employers, landlords, or professional licensing boards. However, expungement can't erase memory—if your record was already made public via news reports or social media, an expungement won't fix this.
Expungement is not available in every state. Some only allow a record to be sealed—meaning the public cannot access it, but certain government agencies can.
Where it is available, the expungement process typically involves a few steps:
- Filing a petition or application, along with supporting material and filing fee, with the court that heard your case.
- Serving the application on the prosecutor.
- Attending a hearing that will be set for the court to decide whether to issue an expungement order.
Again, each state has its own laws specific to expungement, and that includes the expungement process. You should always consult with a lawyer in Michigan if you want to learn more about expungements.
What Qualifies for Expungement in Michigan?
Whether an arrest or conviction is eligible to be expunged depends on the relevant state's laws unless it's a federal arrest or conviction.
Eligible Arrest Records in Michigan
The outcome of the case may also be relevant. Most states allow non-conviction offenses to be expunged, which include
- Arrests with no subsequent conviction
- Charges that resulted in an acquittal
- Charges that were dismissed or withdrawn
- Cases resolved via a diversion program
Other Potential Eligibility Requirements for Expungement
Eligibility for expungement also varies between states. Typically, you can only seek expungement after serving your full sentence. Some jurisdictions also impose waiting periods before you can apply for an expungement of your record or limit the number of expungements you can request.
Benefits of Expungement in Michigan
An arrest or criminal conviction can have serious long-term consequences beyond any sentence imposed by a court. A criminal record can affect your ability to find employment, secure accommodation, apply for a loan, and obtain a professional license.
Expungement gives you another chance at a “clean slate.”
It can open up job opportunities that may have previously been closed by your criminal history and make it easier to secure accommodation. It may also help when applying for loans.
Three Reasons to Hire an Expungement Attorney in Michigan
The availability of expungement and the application process to file an expungement petition are state-specific. Eligibility criteria can be complicated, with several overlapping laws governing expungements. The process can also be complex, involving strict compliance with the rules and provision of relevant supporting documentation.
While you can represent yourself in an expungement petition, it's worth speaking to an attorney for the following reasons:
- Ensure eligibility. I will advise you whether you are eligible to apply. I will review your criminal history, personal circumstances, and the law to confirm whether you can apply for an expungement.
- Strong, persuasive application. I will help you prepare an expungement application.
- Improved chances of success. It is important to get an expungement petition right. In some states, a refusal may bar you from reapplying for a certain period of time.
In sum, I will review your case, advise you about your options, and help you navigate the process.
Contact an Expungement Lawyer in Michigan Today
If you have been convicted of a crime in Michigan and think you may be eligible for expungement, you should pursue the expungement immediately. The sooner you do, the sooner you will benefit from a clean slate.