Michigan law allows for the expungement (permanent removal) of a criminal conviction from a person’s criminal record under certain conditions.

Generally, under MCL 780.621 et seq. an expungement order may be entered if:

1.  A person is convicted of no more than 3 offenses (1 felony and 2 misdemeanor “minor offenses” defined by statute.)

2. The felony cannot have a maximum punishment of life imprisonment (irrespective as to whether the offender was actually sentenced to the maximum.)

3.  The felony cannot be for violation of MCL 750.145c and MCL 750.145d (child pornography), or for criminal sexual conduct of  first through third degree.

4.  Traffic offenses cannot be expunged.

5.  At least 5 years have passed from the later of sentencing date of the conviction or completion of imprisonment term.

To obtain an expungement, an application must be filed in the court where the conviction was entered.  The applicant must:

1.  Make an application and pay the filing fee;

2. Submit 2 complete sets of fingerprints cars with a copy of the application to the Michigan State Police.

3.  Submit a copy of the application to the Michigan Attorney General.

4.  Submit a copy to the prosecuting attorney.

In most instances, the victim will be notified of the application for expungement by the prosecutor or attorney general.

The court then conducts a hearing.  If the court is convinced that the applicant’s course of behavior and circumstances since the conviction warrants setting aside the conviction, and that setting aside the conviction is consistent with the public welfare, then the court may expunge the conviction. Expungement is not a right; it is a privilege to be granted within the discretion of the court.

Generally, the applicant has only 1 chance to have an application for expungement considered by the court.  If the applicant loses the application and the expungment is denied, then other than an appeal, the applicant cannot file a new expungement application.

Therefore, it is important that someone wanting to expunge a criminal conviction hires a competent attorney, fully prepares the case, and follows the attorney’s instructions on how best to present that expungement request. ‘

The adult expungement statutes can be found here: MCL 780.621, MCL 780.621a, MCL 780.622, MCL 780.623, and MCL 780.624.

An expungement will not remove a requirement to register under the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act.

There is a separate similar statute for expungement of a juvenile conviction.  See MCL 712A.18e



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