Getting 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.
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.
Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 20 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2020 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”