Am I Eligible to Expunge My Michigan Criminal Conviction?
Michigan expungements are governed by MCL 780.621. Otherwise known as an Application for an Order Setting Aside Conviction, a petition to expunge a conviction may be filed five years after the latestof the following:
- Completion of incarceration
- Completion of probation
- Completion of parole
If you were placed on probation, to find out when you are eligible to set aside your conviction, you should consult your Order of Discharge from probation to verify your date of completion.
If you wish to set aside a felony conviction, you are eligible if (1) the felony for which you are convicted is a charge that is eligible to be set aside and (2) if you have no more than one felony conviction, and no more than two misdemeanor convictions.
Crimes that are ineligible to be set aside include:
- Any felony, or an attempt to commit a felony, that is punishable by up to life in prison, regardless of your actual sentence;
- A conviction for criminal sexual conduct, except a 4th degree CSC for which a conviction was entered before January 12, 2015;
- Any traffic offense, including Operating While Intoxicated (drunk driving) offenses;
- A felony conviction for domestic violence;
- Crimes involving prostitution, unless the conviction was a result of the defendant being a victim of human trafficking.
If you wish to set aside a misdemeanor conviction, you are eligible if (1) the misdemeanor for which you are convicted is a charge that is eligible to be set aside and (2) if you have no more than two misdemeanor convictions. If you have two misdemeanor convictions, and both are charges that are eligible to be set aside, you may petition to set aside both misdemeanor convictions.
Those who have more than two misdemeanor convictions will not be eligible to set aside any convictions. Those who have more than one felony conviction will also not be eligible to set aside any convictions.
The limitations regarding eligibility to set aside a conviction are statutory, and not within the discretion of the judge. A judge has no authority to set aside a conviction that is not eligible under MCL 780.621. In order to make the application for an order setting aside a conviction, you must sign the application, under penalty of perjury, verifying that your conviction is one that meets the eligibility requirements of the statute.
In addition to prior convictions, you must consider any prior deferrals that you received. For example, if you previously received probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), the Spousal Abuse Act (MCL 769.4a) for a domestic violence charge, a drug deferral under MCL 333.7411, or any other deferred adjudication, that deferral, whether it was on a misdemeanor or felony charge, will count as a misdemeanor conviction in determining your eligibility to set aside a conviction.
If your petition to set aside a conviction is denied, you will be ineligible to file a new petition for a period of three years, unless the judge who denied the petition specifies an earlier time in the order denying the petition to set aside the conviction.
The granting of an application to set aside the conviction is within the judge’s discretion. The court may grant the application if it determines that the circumstances and behavior of the applicant since the conviction warrant setting the conviction aside, and that setting the conviction aside is consistent with the public welfare. However, granting the petition, even if the court makes these findings, is not mandatory.
Navigating the process of setting aside a conviction can be difficult and confusing. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney to determine your eligibility to set aside a conviction, and if eligible, you should consider hiring an attorney to assist you with the process of filing the application and appearing at the expungement hearing in front of the presiding judge.
If you believe you may be eligible to expunge a conviction, Blanchard Law can help. Call 616-244-2234 for more information.