Michigan Legislators Expand Expungement Law

The Michigan legislators have amended the expungement law to enable more individuals with petty crimes committed at a young age to be eligible to set aside a criminal conviction.

Before the amendment, very few individuals qualified to petition the court for an expungement. Among other requirements, the most common obstacle for someone seeking to set aside a conviction was he could only have one total conviction on his record in his lifetime, including both misdemeanors and felonies.

In many instances, someone would accept responsibility for a simple traffic violation, pay the fine and move on with his life. Unbeknownst to him, whether excusable or not, was that he pled guilty to a misdemeanor, instead of what he thought was a civil infraction.

Surprisingly, simple motor vehicle code violations such as driving without corrective lenses (if required), or forgetting your wallet at home, and hence, failing to display a valid license to a police officer, are misdemeanors that remain on your permanent criminal record.

In the most common situation, a person would have one or a few of these minor convictions, along with one more serious issue that was prohibiting him from obtaining meaningful employment due to exhaustive background checks, which are common today even for the most basic of jobs.

Under the old law, these individuals would have been ineligible for expungement. Now, the expungement law provides that an individual can have up to three (3) minor offenses at age 21 or younger, and still qualify to petition the court to set aside their more serious criminal conviction. Note the other requirements still apply, such as the imposition of the sentence must have been at least five (5) years ago, and it cannot be a driving offense.

People make mistakes, but those mistakes should not haunt them for the rest of their lives when it comes to applying for a job or professional license, or renting an apartment.

If you would like assistance or advice about a potential expungement of a criminal conviction, please contact us for a consultation.

Curtis & Curtis, P.C. is a full service law firm located in Jackson, Michigan providing superior legal services and advice to individuals, families and businesses throughout mid-Michigan since 1901.

This publication is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute formal legal or other professional advice. No attorney-client relationship is created with you when you read this information. The above information may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date, and may not reflect the most current legal developments. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Curtis & Curtis, P.C.