Setting Aside a Criminal Conviction in Michigan

More than 80% of employers run background checks on their potential employees. It’s important, particularly in this economy, to be able to have your best foot forward. People make mistakes. It’s an unfortunate part of life. Those who learn from their mistakes shouldn’t have those past mistakes hang over them for the rest of their lives.

If you have had a criminal conviction, you may be able to remove that conviction from your public record with the Michigan State Police. This will help you for any number of reasons – it’s always better to have a clean record, and a criminal conviction can harm your career goals later in life.

This doesn’t mean that the conviction is permanently removed from your record. Certain law enforcement agencies will still be able to check your record and see the criminal conviction. What it does mean is that the conviction has been made non-public. For any other party who reviews your record, that conviction would not appear.

Not all convictions are eligible to be expunged from your record. If you have been convicted of a felony or attempted felony that is punishable by life in prison, that conviction will remain on your record. A violation or attempted violation of criminal sexual conduct under MCL 750.520c, MCL 750.520d, or MCL 750.520g will remain on your record. So, too, will a traffic offense. If you have a non-traffic conviction that has been reported to the Secretary of State, you may apply to have that conviction set aside. However, the court cannot order the Secretary of State to expunge that conviction from those records.

It is important to note how this process works and that there are limits to it. There are specific steps that must be taken and rules that must be followed. The statutes court rules and other legal authorities can be explained to you by an experienced attorney, one who understands the legal system. Flint criminal defense attorney Patrick Chatterton will be able to guide you through this process, step by step, and explain to you what happens when you want to expunge your criminal conviction.

Most important to know is that you may apply to have only one conviction set aside.

You must wait five years after the date you have been sentenced for your conviction before applying for it to be set aside. If you have served time in prison, you must wait five years after you have been released for that conviction before you apply for it to be set aside.

Your Michigan defense attorney will help you by contacting the court clerk where the conviction took place in order to find the exact date of the conviction, as well as the exact criminal charge. You attorney will complete the necessary forms, which you will sign, and which then will be served on the Attorney General of the State of Michigan, the prosecuting official who prosecuted the case, and the Michigan State Police. You will also be required to send a fingerprint card.

After receiving your application, the court will set your court date. At this hearing, you and your attorney will stand before the court and explain why your conviction should be set aside. Your attorney will be there with you to help you during your hearing. The judge may require the filing of affidavits and taking of proofs.

You must appear at the hearing. If you do not, then the court will dismiss your case.

Be aware that the others involved in this case will have their right to be heard, as well. The Attorney General will review your application and determine if it qualifies to be expunged or there should be an objection. The prosecutor will decide whether to contest / object to the application. Finally, if there was a victim involved in the crime, the victim will have the opportunity to present a written statement or speak at the hearing.

The court will also receive a report from the Michigan State Police on your matter, listing any information from its records and those of the Federal Bureau of Investigations if there are any charges pending against you. The court will not be able to act upon your application until it receives these reports.

The judge will look at your record from the date of your conviction until the time you applied to set aside the conviction. At that point, the judge will determine whether your circumstances and behavior warrant setting aside the conviction. The judge will also take into account whether setting aside your conviction is consistent with the public welfare.

Once the court has entered its order setting aside your conviction, the court will provide a copy of the order to you, the arresting agency and the Michigan State Police. At that point, the Michigan State Police will maintain your record as nonpublic. Again, this means that only select law enforcement agencies will be able to see your conviction – the general public, including a potential employer, will not.

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense, contact the Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton today to find out if your conviction is eligible to be set aside.

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