How to Get an Expungement
Is your criminal record holding you back? Are you having difficulty advancing in your career or getting a job? A Michigan expungement attorney can help you.
Our Attorneys Routinely Win Expungement Motions
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. represents clients throughout Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and throughout Michigan who are interested in clearing their criminal records. You may have had a lapse in judgment many years ago, or maybe you were wrongfully convicted of a crime, but it is too late for an appeal. Whatever your particular situation, we will consult with you for free and determine whether you may qualify for an expungement. In Michigan, an expungement is also known as a Motion to Set Aside a Conviction. We can then guide you through this process for a felony or misdemeanor and, if you are eligible, help you clear your criminal history as quickly as possible. Your best hope of winning is with a Michigan Expungement Attorney – a felony or up to two misdemeanors can be removed.
A Fresh Start – Erasing Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions
Setting aside a felony or misdemeanor conviction can result in better employment, housing, and financial opportunities. Many experience a great sense of relief when setting aside their prior convictions. They then have the peace of mind knowing that they can truthfully and legally answer “no” when asked whether they have any criminal convictions. If you would like to learn more about how to expunge a prior felony or misdemeanor and how LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can help you with that process, we welcome you to contact our firm today for a free initial consultation.
There are specific requirements and limitations to a Motion to Set Aside a Conviction (Expungement Motion). We will determine your options to set aside any criminal history if you call us. Do not try to handle an expungement on your own. You may only get one shot at winning, and failure to correctly draft a motion or argue in court can be fatal to your chances of success. Although you will try again after three (3) years, a judge may be reluctant to reconsider their prior ruling. Think about the cost of failure when considering the cost of hiring a good lawyer. Rarely, if ever, is the cost of the lawyer not dwarfed by the cost of losing.
Multiple Convictions Can Be Expunged
Michigan Compiled Law (“MCL”) §780.621 provides that a person may apply to have a conviction set aside if certain conditions are satisfied. A court may set aside a conviction if (1) the circumstances and behavior of the applicant since the date of the conviction warrant the requested relief and (2) the setting aside of the conviction is consistent with the public welfare. MCL §780.621(9). A Michigan Expungement Attorney can help you determine if you are eligible under Michigan’s new expungement laws.
On October 12, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed seven bills into law, expanding the number and types of offenses that are expungeable. Call us for a free consultation to determine if you can set aside prior convictions. The law provides many exceptions and limitations, and we will need to hear from you to decide on your specific eligibility. The general points in Michigan’s Clean Slate Laws are as follows:
- Up to three felony offenses and an unlimited number of misdemeanors can be expunged through the application process.
- If applying for expungement, no more than two assaultive crimes can be expunged, and no more than one felony conviction for the same offense if the offense is punishable by more than ten (10) years imprisonment.
- The waiting period is three (3) years for many misdemeanors and seven (7) years for most felony convictions (it was five (5) years for all offenses under the old expungement law).
- A maximum of two (2) felony convictions and up to 4 misdemeanors will be subject to automatic expungement, with certain exceptions.
- A person with even one assaultive conviction will not be eligible for the automatic expungement of a felony or misdemeanor.
- Other than OWI/DUI, traffic convictions can be set aside under the Clean Slate Laws.
- Crimes not eligible for expungement include life felonies or attempted life felonies, felony domestic violence with a previous domestic violence misdemeanor, child abuse, most criminal sexual conduct offenses, and traffic offenses causing injury or death.
- A streamlined process for expunging marijuana possession convictions.
- Multiple felonies or misdemeanors that arise within the same 24-hour period count as one conviction for expungement.
- Crimes that do not count as one conviction, even within the same 24-hour period, include assaultive crimes, offenses involving the use or possession of a dangerous weapon, or crimes that carry a maximum penalty of 10 or more years in prison.
The Facts of the Underlying Crime are Irrelevant
The analysis and consideration of a request for an expungement motion should be based solely on the defendant’s circumstances and behavior and not solely upon other factors outlined in the statute. The Michigan Court of Appeals has interpreted the statute as establishing a balancing test between a defendant’s “circumstances and behavior” after the conviction and the “public welfare.” Many judges inappropriately focus on the original offense’s facts when considering setting aside a conviction. They then choose not to grant relief because they feel the original circumstances were serious or offensive to them. A judge focusing on the facts of the underlying case violates the expungement law. It takes a respected, well-prepared, and zealous Michigan expungement attorney to educate the judge and convince them to grant the relief under these circumstances. According to Michigan law, the expungement statute should be liberally construed in favor of its remedial policy. Sometimes, lawyers must remind judges of this principle to convince them to grant relief when they would otherwise not be amenable to removing a conviction.
Is there hope even if you’re not eligible for an expungement?
Michigan permits the expungement of most offenses under Michigan’s Motor Vehicle Code. What if you have a non-expungeable conviction under the Motor Vehicle Code? Clients convicted of some Motor Vehicle Code offenses, such as OWI Causing Serious Injury or OWI 2nd, have a difficult, although sometimes not an impossible, situation. We have handled many cases for clients in this situation and cleared their records successfully. Your lawyer must file a post-conviction motion to get the conviction dismissed, reduced, or modified to make the client eligible for an expungement. This process can be an uphill battle and often requires the prosecutor’s concession. Call for a free consultation if you have a conviction under the Motor Vehicle Code and want to see if there is any way for you to have a shot at a clear record. Under a recent change to Michigan law, you can expunge a first offense OWI.
Free Consultation and Confidential Case Evaluation with a Michigan Expungement Attorney.
At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we believe that an error in judgment should not define you or your future. If you want the best possible chance at a fresh start, please call us, and we will find a way to help you. Our defense attorneys have a proven and reliable track record of successfully seeking expungements that is well-known throughout Michigan.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.