A felony conviction can have a serious impact on the rest of your life. From renting a home or apartment to getting a job to buying a gun, those with a felony on their record face lifelong challenges. However, 2021 reforms to Michigan’s expungement law means that many felony convictions can now be expunged or set aside. At Michigan Defense Law, our dedicated team of Oakland County criminal defense lawyers helps clients put their past behind them and move on with their lives. We skillfully handle all types of felony expungements, creating a compelling application that complies with all necessary requirements.The Clean Slate Law
The impact of a felony conviction on your record cannot be overstated. However, lawmakers have recently come to realize that just because someone made a mistake in their youth doesn’t mean they should continue to pay for it for the rest of their lives. In 2021, Michigan lawmakers passed the Clean Slate Law, which significantly changed the state’s expungement laws. The new law makes felony expungements easier to obtain, allowing many more people to wipe their records clear of past convictions.
While the Clean Slate Law is a giant step in the right direction, not all offenses are eligible for expungement, and applicants still must wait a certain amount of time before filing for felony expungements. In addition, most charges will not automatically fall off and you are best served by having an experienced attorney bring your case before the Judge as the Judge has the final say in granting or denying your request.What Charges are Eligible for Expungement?
Generally, anyone who has up to three felonies on their record can apply for an expungement. There is no limit to the number of misdemeanor convictions that can be expunged. However, even if you have less than three felony convictions, that does not necessarily mean you will qualify. This is because the Clean Slate Law does not allow for a felony expungement for any crime that carries a possible sentence life in prison. Notably, this does not mean that you were sentenced to life in prison, only that the maximum possible sentence life in prison.
For example, if you were convicted of two felony thefts, each of which carries a maximum of 10 years’ incarceration, you may qualify for an expungement. However, if you have a single conviction for attempted murder, punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison, you could not get your record expunged. This would even be the case if you received a probationary sentence or a jail sentence of less than life in prison.
In addition, certain crimes are ineligible for expungement even though the maximum sentence they carry is less than ten years. These include:
- Possession or distribution of child pornography;
- Second-degree child abuse;
- Third-degree criminal sexual conduct;
- Human-trafficking offenses;
- Felony domestic violence offenses (if you have a prior conviction for domestic violence); and
- Any sex crime involving the use of a computer.
If you qualify for an expungement, you still must wait the appropriate amount of time before applying.How Long Do You Need to Wait to File for a Felony Expungement?
While felony expungements are easier to obtain than they used to be, you must wait a certain amount of time before applying. For serious felonies, you need to wait at least seven years before applying for an expungement. Other felonies require a five-year waiting period. It is imperative to understand these filing requirements because if you apply when you are ineligible, the court may prohibit you from seeking an expungement for three years. However, your Michigan expungement attorney can ask the court not to impose this bar to re-filing your application.
Additionally, expungement is not a guarantee, even if you are eligible. You must convince the court that you are deserving of relief.Are You Living with the Effects of a Felony Conviction?
If you have been convicted of a felony and want to clear your record, reach out to the dedicated Michigan expungement attorneys at Michigan Defense Law. Our team of attorneys is up-to-date on all recent developments regarding felony expungements and can help you effectively prepare an application and greatly increase your chances for success. However, expungement is not automatic, and the judge of each one of your cases must agree that you deserve relief. With more than 25 years of experience representing clients in all types of criminal cases and expungements, we have the knowledge, skill and dedication necessary to get rid of your conviction. When we analyze your case during your free initial consultation we will give you our opinion about your chances for success in the expungement process. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help, give us a call at (248) 451-2200 today. We represent clients in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties.