Michigan Clean Slate
A criminal record negatively impacts all aspects of your life. Whether you’re looking for work, getting a certification or license, or getting accepted into college or graduate school, your criminal background may hinder you. Fortunately, you can take steps to clear up some or all of your convictions. Michigan allows you to expunge certain felonies and misdemeanors. Recently, the Michigan Clean Slate law has been updated. If you’re in Michigan and would like to know how you can benefit from Michigan’s newest expungement laws, continue reading below and contact George Law.
What Is Michigan’s New Expungement Law?
Most likely, you’ve heard the word expungement. But do you know what it means? Expungement is the setting aside of your felony or misdemeanor convictions. In other words, if you get a conviction expunged, it’s erased. It should no longer appear on public databases nor be accessible by most employers. Expungement is also known as a clean slate. Likewise, some people refer to expungement as cleaning up your record. Not all states have expungement laws. Fortunately, Michigan has an expungement law. On April 11, 2021, Michigan’s house bills (H.B.) 4981-85 and 5120 became effective.
These bills have expanded what you can get sealed. For example, if you have no more than one felony and two misdemeanors on your record, you may petition the court to get the felony erased. You may petition the court to erase up to two misdemeanor convictions if they’re your only convictions. In other words, if you have two misdemeanors and a felony, then you may only ask to get the felony removed. You’d be ineligible to ask for the two misdemeanors to get removed. If you have two misdemeanors and two or more felonies, you cannot ask the court to erase your felony or misdemeanor convictions.
However, you won’t have to petition the court for every potential expungement. The court will automatically seal specific non-violent convictions if certain conditions apply. We provide more information on automatic record sealing below.
What Are The Benefits Of Getting My Convictions Expunged?
There are many benefits to getting your convictions expunged. The most noteworthy benefit is answering “no” if a potential employer asks, “Have you been ever arrested or convicted?”. In this case, you wouldn’t be lying or deceiving your interviewer because the arrest and conviction are expunged. Even if a potential employer does a background check, no expunged arrest or conviction will show in a public database. Please be aware that you may not be able to answer “no” if other convictions remain on your record. If you have questions about how to answer during an interview, speak with a qualified lawyer.
Michigan prohibits people with felonies from possessing, using, transporting, selling, and purchasing guns and ammunition. This prohibition is particularly true for people who use the threat of fear or force to commit their crime (i.e., a violent crime). However, a loss of gun ownership privileges means that you can’t work certain jobs, such as law enforcement and security. Yet, with your felony expunged, it’ll be easier to get a judge to restore your gun ownership privileges. This restoration means that you can apply for TSA, police work, enlist in the military, or other armed employment positions.
Another benefit is the peace of mind expungement gives you.
When Am I Eligible To Get My Convictions Expunged?
There is a waiting period. You must wait until the court no longer has jurisdiction over you. In other words, you must wait until you’ve completed your jail, prison, or probation sentence. Once the court’s jurisdiction ends, you must wait five years before applying to expunge your felony. However, you’ll only have to wait three years to expunge non-serious misdemeanors. Non-serious misdemeanors are misdemeanors that:
- the court punishes by less than 91 days in jail
- have a maximum fine not greater than $1000 and
- occurred when you were not older than 21
On the contrary, if these elements don’t apply, you have a serious misdemeanor. You’ll have to wait five years after completing your sentence for a serious misdemeanor, as you would for a felony, to apply for Clean Slate.
The law for automatic record sealing for non-violent crimes won’t become effective until December 30, 2022. Once it becomes effective, your criminal record seals automatically to expunge misdemeanor convictions and ten years for felony convictions, if you remain conviction-free for seven years
Lastly, if a judge denies your expungement request, you’ll have to wait three years before re-applying.
What Can I Get Expunged With The Michigan Clean Slate Law?
Today, Michigan holds that if the crime you committed is legal today, there’s a presumption that the court should accept your expungement request. Michigan estimates that about 250,000 residents who have marijuana-related convictions will benefit from this rule. However, not all marijuana-related convictions fall into the category of what would be legal today. Some marijuana convictions might remain on your record unless state law changes. Most traffic violations and marijuana convictions are eligible for record sealing. You may even get certain assault crimes erased if you aren’t petitioning to expunge more than two of them.
One Bad Night Rule
Suppose you had a wild and crazy night. This night may have ended with officers arresting you. A prosecutor may have charged you with multiple felonies, multiple misdemeanors, or both. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes otherwise law-abiding, productive citizens get reckless for one night. Such a night can haunt you for years. Thankfully, Michigan’s new law takes this uncharacteristic night of yours into account and has added the one bad night rule to its policy.
If your convictions happened within 24 hours of each other, they are likely eligible for expungement. This is true even if you have several felony and misdemeanor convictions. You see, Michigan’s Clean Slate law counts them as a single felony or a single misdemeanor so that you may get them expunged.
However, exceptions do apply. For example, a judge won’t expunge your convictions from a bad night if they involved:
- a weapon
- a crime involving assault
- a crime that can be punishable by ten or more years of imprisonment
Because nuances apply, speak with your lawyers about whether your convictions fall under the one bad night rule.
What Can’t I Get Expunged?
Not every conviction is eligible for Clean Slate. For example, crimes punishable by a life sentence are never eligible. The court won’t erase certain convictions because of what their nature suggests. For example, if you have a DUI, there’s a likelihood that the public is at greater risk of harm if the court erased this conviction, regardless of whether it was a felony or misdemeanor. When crafting new laws, courts and law must also consider the public’s interest. In this case, the public is concerned that a trucking company can hire you as a driver because there’s no record of your DUI. If the company hires you, you may be more likely to hit and kill someone because you previously chose to drive while under the influence.
Below is a non-comprehensive list of convictions you can’t set aside. Most ineligible convictions are:
- convictions punishable by a maximum of a life sentence
- human and sex trafficking
- convictions involving sexual offenses, such as rape, child molestation, and sexual assault
- DUIs when it’s not your first offense of this kind
- traffic violations that end in someone’s injury or death
- some domestic violence convictions where the first conviction was a misdemeanor and the second is a felony
- a second felony for the same crime when it’s punishable by more than ten years
What Is The Expungement Process?
Cleaning up your record can take months or even a year once you begin. Each court moves differently, and some Michigan courts are still backlogged from Covid-19. Generally, it takes the Attorney General about three months to review your eligibility and conduct a background check once you turn in your application. Eventually, you’ll have a hearing date in court. The process differs for automatic expungement.
Regarding automatic expungement, the court will not automatically seal your conviction if it’s:
- a crime involving assault
- a serious misdemeanor
- a crime involving dishonesty, such as fraud or forgery
- a crime that’s punishable by more than ten years
- a crime involving trafficking
Contact the experienced Michigan Clean Slate lawyers at George Law for more information.
How Can George Law Help Me?
As you see, the expungement process can be complicated and tedious. If you submit the wrong files, fill out the wrong form, or leave out something important, the judge may deny your application. To prevent this from happening, it’s in your best interest to hire qualified Michigan criminal defense lawyers familiar with the Clean Slate law. Don’t choose new lawyers who’ll use your case as a test or experiment. Instead, choose a team that knows what it’s doing. Choose George Law. We’ve included several reasons why you can put your trust in us.
Our Firm Is Award Winning
We are about protecting your reputation and livelihood. Likewise, we’re also about protecting our firm’s reputation and livelihood, so it should be no surprise that we’re an award-winning firm. This year, we’ve made the prestigious list of Top Lawyer 2022 from DBusiness. We also have a perfect rating from AVVO, a highly respected lawyer referral service. When you choose an award-winning firm to offer you legal guidance, you can rest assured that we’ll do everything in our power to keep our status.
We’ll file your paperwork correctly and timely. Moreover, we’ll spot any inconsistencies, errors, or nuances in your application that you may have overlooked. We’ll keep you informed about steps you can take to better your chances of a judge accepting your application.
Our Clients Are Satisfied
This may go without saying, but you can put your worries to rest when you see that other clients are highly satisfied with a firm. Think about it. Clients are only satisfied when they receive favorable results when dealing with criminal charges that carry potentially serious and lengthy penalties, including life behind bars. These results include getting their charges dropped, case dismissed, a charge reduction, or sentence reduction. But clients also show their gratitude when we make it clear that we care about them individually.
In getting your record expunged, we want you to know that you genuinely matter to us. All of us at George Law pride ourselves on seeing you as more than your past choices. We understand that there can be many reasons why people commit crimes. Also, we understand that not everyone a jury convicts is factually guilty. Regardless of your past, we believe in second chances. We’re here to help you clean up your record and get that second chance at a better life.
But bear in mind that we do more than help you get your record expunged. We want you to understand what the expungement process is, how long the process takes, the likelihood of a judge approving your request, and anything else you’ll need to know. You’re 11% more likely to get employed if you clean your record. Included in this statistic is that you stand to earn 22% higher wages. But these numbers don’t mean that there aren’t other steps you can take to increase your chances of a better life. Once our lawyers know about the specifics of your criminal record, we can better assist you with additional steps. Our commitment is why our clients are so satisfied.
Our Lawyers Are Unsurpassed
You should only want the most skilled lawyers handling your paperwork and explaining this law to you. Michigan’s expungement law can be challenging to grasp. Even some criminal defense lawyers get confused. You won’t have to worry about this if you choose leading attorney Derrick George of George Law. George has fifteen years of experience and has brought favorable results to thousands of Michigan residents. He has a perfect and rare 10 rating from Justia Lawyer and a Client Champion award from prominent Martindale Hubbell. But he’s not the only unsurpassed lawyer at our firm. Nor is he the only lawyer with experience in criminal record expungement. Lawyer Michele R. Mitch is so familiar with expungement law that her article on expungement is published.
Contact George Law Today
Getting your record expunged through Michigan’s Clean Slate law puts you one step closer to enjoying the life you’ve always wanted. If you’re looking to get your Michigan convictions expunged, you’ll need the help of seasoned attorneys who’ve handled numerous expungement cases before. That’s where we come in. Call us today at (248) 973-6097 or contact us online for a free consultation. Please be aware that we offer our legal assistance 24 hours a day, free video consultations, and free phone consultations.