Juvenile Adjudications are NOT Convictions for Expungement Purposes

An Experienced, Reputable Criminal Defense Attorney Can Ensure Juvenile Adjudications Will Not Interfere with an Adult Felony or Misdemeanor Expungement Motion

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

What Are Expungements and Do I Need a Lawyer?

Expungements are a clearing of your public criminal record. Although you can attempt to seek expungement of your record by yourself, it is not a good idea because most people are not successful without an experienced attorney, and if you lose, you cannot try again for years. The expungement process is somewhat complicated, and if the filings and procedures are not done correctly, it is unlikely you will be successful. Suffice it to say, you will wish for three years you had hired a good lawyer to handle it properly in the first place. Juvenile adjudications are not convictions for purposes of a Motion to Set Aside Conviction.

Michigan’s current expungement law states that a person with no more than three felony convictions may petition a court to expunge their convictions (including unlimited misdemeanors). A person may only attempt one expungement per conviction every three years, and expungements are not a right. Whether an expungement is granted rests in the judge’s discretion. The judge will consider a person’s behavior since the conviction and the public welfare.

The law requires that between three and seven years have passed since the (1) Imposition of Sentence, (2) Completion of Probation, (3) Discharge from Parole, or (4) Completion of Jail Term, whichever comes last. Whether the time-limitation is 3, 5, or 7 years depends on the nature and number of prior convictions. A qualified, experienced expungement attorney can help you determine your eligibility and options.

Certain crimes cannot be expunged, regardless of whether they are misdemeanors or felonies. These include crimes that carry a life penalty, certain sex crimes, child abuse, terrorism, human trafficking, using the internet/computer to commit certain crimes, and some traffic crimes.

Juvenile Court “Adjudications” and What Adjudication Means

If a case has been prosecuted through the juvenile court, the result is not technically a “conviction.” It is called an “adjudication.” So, if you have a juvenile adjudication, will it count as a “prior conviction” in your expungement application? An experienced, seasoned criminal defense attorney will explain to a judge that the answer is “no”!

The expungement statute, as described above, contemplates only prior adult convictions, not adjudications. In fact, there is no such thing as a juvenile “conviction.” Michigan cases on the subject have repeatedly stated that juvenile adjudications are not convictions. In addition, there is a different law in Michigan that deals with juvenile adjudications. The existence of a different law makes it even more apparent that juvenile adjudications are not applicable under Michigan’s separate adult expungement statute.

Even though the law is clear, judges and prosecutors frequently assume that a prior juvenile adjudication does or should prevent an expungement. An aggressive and zealous lawyer will stand up to prosecutors who try to stretch the law or judges inclined to deny an expungement based on a juvenile record.

Michigan law is unambiguous; juvenile delinquency proceedings are not criminal. See MCL 712A.1(2).

What if I had a charge already dismissed, under advisement, or expunged?

In Michigan, certain offenses can be dismissed by the operation of a statute. Deferred convictions and under-advisement sentences are common in cases of drug possession, domestic violence, and in the case of youthful offenders. People often incorrectly refer to these dismissals as expungements. Under Michigan law, these dismissed cases still may count as convictions under certain circumstances. The definition of “misdemeanor conviction” now includes felony and misdemeanor convictions deferred or dismissed under specific liquor code provisions, drug court diversions (like 7411), veterans court diversions, Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA), domestic violence diversion (769.4a), parental kidnapping diversion and others. Having a prior case dismissed by operation of a court rule or statute does not preclude an expungement, but it may make things more challenging.

Attorney - Michigan - Awards

Top-Rated Expungement Attorneys in Michigan

The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges and have successfully obtained expungements for numerous clients in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties and throughout southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. A lawyer needs to understand how important it is for the client’s life and fight for them accordingly. If you are interested in expunging your prior record, you can rest assured that juvenile adjudications do not count as prior convictions.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

Contact Us - Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys