custody in courtGetting a conviction expunged can sometimes be the only path to complete redemption from a mistake in the past, especially if the conviction was for a felony – felons are banned from MANY of the freedoms that Americans enjoy, and only through expungement can the conviction be removed.

And there’s good news on that front in Michigan! Right now, the state congress has a proposed bill with some positive changes to the process and limitations of expungement law in Michigan. The proposal, like a lot of updates to existing law, has a lot of minor changes clarifying the language of the law and some new definitions, but there are also a number of large changes: First of all, you can now reapply for an expungement.  Second, two misdemeanors can be expunged in a single application.

The current law in place only allows for one conviction to be expunged, and only if that is the only conviction that exists on a person’s record. Alternateively a conviction can be set aside if the individual has less than 2 “minor offenses” in addition to the conviction they wish to have expunged. You must wait 5 years from the conviction or the end of the imprisonment relating to it. A person with multiple felonies cannot have one or any of them expunged. Felonies with a potential maximum sentence of life in prison cannot be expunged. Also all traffic matters like DUIs are not eligible for expungement.

The proposed change in the law, HIB 4186, does not affect the time period involved – it’s still 5 years. What it does do is allow for felony expungements even if you have 2 or less misdemeanors, and, importantly, it allows for 2 misdemeanors to be expunged in a single petition, as long as you have no other offenses. The proposed law makes sure to say that traffic related violations do not count as misdemeanors for this law. However, individuals with multiple felonies would still not be able to apply for exungement.

READ  Public Intoxication FAQs: Can You Get A DUI On A Bicycle In Michigan?

Importantly, the proposed law also allows for reapplication for expungement for the same conviction, 3 years after the first denial. This is a big change!

The application process itself is also being modified a little bit; now only one set of finger prints will be required, and the application will allow for multiple misdemeanors to be listed. Also, the 5 year waiting period would not include parole or probation. Any parole or probation relating to the conviction you wish to set aside must have been over for 5 years before you can apply. This can make the waiting period much shorter in many cases.

The proposed law also adds an entirely new category of felony which can NOT be expunged: if the victim is the spouse, former spouse, someone who you’ve had a child with, some you are or have dated, or someone you live with, and you have a prior misdemeanor in which the victim fell into any of those categories, the felony can NOT be expunged. This is obviously a rule designed to curb expungement in domestic dispute situations, as it’s specific to situations where the felony and misdemeanor have a similar type of target.

So while many things are staying the same, this proposal is really good news for anyone looking to have convictions expunged, especially for people with a few misdemeanors or who have convictions barring their activities, like a drug possession felony getting in the way of firearms purchasing, or CDL applications.

If you’re looking to get a conviction expunged, Barton Morris can help! Contact our offices at 248-541-2600 for more information.