An expungement is also known as a motion to set aside a conviction. Depending on the convict’s prior record and the nature of the conviction, after a waiting period of 5 years they can request an expungement. The waiting period begins from the date of conviction; the date probation was completed, the date the convict was discharged from parole or the date a person was released from prison, whichever is most recent. MCL 780.621 details in what situations the court may grant an expungement; there can only be 1 conviction on record, except for 2 minor convictions that can be either misdemeanors or ordinance violations. Some offenses for which expungement doesn’t apply are life maximum offenses, offenses that fall under the Motor Vehicle Code, sex crimes involving minors, domestic violence and some human trafficking violations. A juvenile may be eligible to have an adjudication made nonpublic under MCL 712A.18e.
The first step in setting aside a conviction is filing the application with the court that issued conviction. Next, a person needs to get fingerprinted and order a certified copy of the order of their conviction, and then the Michigan State Police, the Attorney General and the prosecutor who handled the conviction all need to receive a copy of the application. Then the person needs to attend a hearing explaining to a judge why the conviction should be set aside. Staying out of trouble during the waiting period and requesting an expungement for a specific reason, such as getting a professional license, help in getting the request granted. If the judge grants the expungement, an order to set the conviction aside will be entered with the court. MSP, Michigan Department of Corrections and everyone else keeping a record of the conviction will need to be sent true copies. Finally, checking one’s criminal record to make sure the request went through is the last step.
It is advisable to hire an expungement attorney to make sure everything is done properly. Paperwork needs to be filled out just right and filed within the time limits designated by Michigan law. During the hearing, the argument presented to the judge needs to be convincing enough to be able to proceed to the next step. A person has a much better chance of a successful outcome if they hire professional help.
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