People convicted of crimes often fear that they will be hindered by their convictions for the rest of their lives. While a criminal history may be an obstacle with regards to obtaining housing or employment, many people are able to erase their criminal past through expungement. Only certain convictions can be expunged, though, and recent changes to the law make the process of purging a criminal past complicated. It is prudent, therefore, for anyone with questions regarding expungement to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Ellen K. Michaels of Ellen K. Michaels and Associates, PLLC, is a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer, and she can assess whether you may be able to expunge your criminal record and if so, guide you through the process.
Benefits of Expungement
Essentially, expungement removes evidence of a person’s conviction from the public record. While the State will retain such records following an expungement, they will not be accessible by the general population and will typically only be accessed if the person is charged with a subsequent crime.
Generally, expungement permits people to move forward as if they were never convicted. In other words, they can lawfully and truthfully answer “no” if asked if they have been convicted of a crime in certain instances, like when they are applying for jobs or housing. Typically, convictions that were expunged will not show up on a background check either.
While expunging a record has many benefits, doing so can be confusing and arduous to people unfamiliar with the process. Thus, it is prudent for anyone who wants to obtain an expungement to hire an attorney to ensure that it is done quickly and correctly.
Recent and Upcoming Changes to Michigan’s Expungement Laws
Recent changes to Michigan’s law modified the expungement process. Specifically, beginning in February 2022, certain people convicted of first-time operating while impaired (OWI) offenses can seek expungement. Under the prior law, such convictions could not be expunged. Additionally, beginning in April 2023, a system that automatically expunges convictions for certain offenses will be implemented. The automated system will allow up to four misdemeanors to be expunged automatically seven years after sentencing. It will also expunge up to two felony convictions, either ten years after a person is sentenced or released from State custody.
The new expungement law also allows people convicted of one or more local ordinance or misdemeanor marijuana offenses to apply for expungement if they were convicted due to activity that would not have been illegal after December 6, 2018, which is when the recreational use of marijuana became lawful in Michigan.
Meet with an Experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal conviction can inhibit a person’s ability to lead a normal life, but many people can erase their public criminal records via expungement and move forward as if they were never convicted. If you are interested in obtaining an expungement, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. Ellen Michaels of Ellen K. Michaels and Associates, PLLC is an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer who can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the best legal outcome available under the facts surrounding your conviction. You can set up an appointment with Attorney Michaels to discuss whether you may be eligible for expungement by calling 248-202-3345 or using the online form.