In Michigan, a person may seek to set aside or expunge up to one felony or up to two misdemeanors. A petitioner that has more than one felony and/or more than two misdemeanor convictions is not eligible for an expungement. A popular misconception is that once a person is eligible, a court must grant an expungement. Defendant’s become eligible to seek an expungement after 5 years following their completion of probation or release from jail, whichever came later.
In reality, judges are frequently reluctant to set aside a conviction and prosecutors often oppose the defendant’s motion. A defendant can maximize his or her chance of getting relief by hiring a knowledgeable defense attorney with a track-record of routinely winning these motions. To win a motion to set aside conviction, the defendant must show that it is not only in his or her best interest, but also in the best interest of the community.
“What can make me ineligible for an expungement?”
As stated previously, petitioner that has more than one felony and/or more than two misdemeanor convictions is not eligible for an expungement. Unfortunately, traffic misdemeanors, like DWLS, No Operator’s License on Person, Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance, and Reckless Driving count as misdemeanors under the expungement statute. Additionally, traffic misdemeanors written under the Motor Vehicle Code can never be expunged.
If you had a prior charge that was taken under advisement and dismissed, this can cause you to be ineligible for an expungement for an entirely different offense. Deferred and dismissed charges can count as a prior conviction in Michigan under certain circumstances.
A felony for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment or an attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment is not eligible for expungement. Similarly, most criminal sexual conduct offenses and felony domestic violence (after a DV misdemeanor) cannot be removed.
“If I try on my own and lose, can I then hire a lawyer?”
If you lose an expungement motion, you cannot file again for a minimum of 3 years. Also, a judge who has denied an expungement request may be reluctant to change his or her mind at a later time. The bottom line is that you have to do everything possible to win and you cannot take chances. Consider what would cost you more, the cost of hiring a good lawyer or the cost to you if you lose. A good, specialized defense lawyer with a track-record of winning these motions can be invaluable. Do not trust your fate to the lowest bidder.
Expungement of Assaultive Crimes
For assaultive crimes or serious misdemeanors, a victim must be notified if an expungement motion gets filed and has the right to object and appear in court for the motion. The prosecutor is required to attempt to find the victim under these circumstances and an objection from a victim can weigh heavily on a judge making an expungement decision. In these circumstances, a seasoned lawyer will know the best way to reduce the impact of an obstructive complainant and get the judge to see how it is in the best interest of the community and the defendant to grant the motion.
Michigan Expungement Lawyers for Southeastern Michigan
The criminal defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have handled thousands of cases where we have requested that a conviction not be entered in a case or that a conviction be set aside or expunged. We have been able to develop a highly impressive and extremely persuasive method of making these requests before the various judges in Michigan and we would be happy to help anyone who would like to get a conviction off his or her record.
Although many judges attempt to focus on the facts of the original case, our lawyers can persuasively argue that Michigan law provides that a decision in an expungement case requires a balancing test between a defendant’s “circumstances and behavior” and the “public welfare.” Furthermore, the law provides that under the right circumstances, these motions should be liberally granted.
If you have a prior conviction that you hope to get removed from your criminal history, call us today at (248) 263-6800 or kindly complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. At the free consultation, we can determine your eligibility, discuss with you your options, and help you understand the process involved in these cases. If you are not technically eligible, we can also talk to you about other options that may be available or possible.