In The News

Friday, December 27, 2013

Is Your Criminal Record Holding You Back? Make Expunging Your Criminal Conviction Your New Year’s Resolution.

By Michael Nichols
Categories: OWI

A new year means a fresh start.  For those with criminal convictions, this means the opportunity to expunge a criminal conviction from your record.  Michigan’s ‘expungement’ statute, MCL 780.621, allows those with one criminal conviction, or two convictions for ‘minor offenses’, to set aside the conviction. This is otherwise known as ‘expunging’ the conviction from your public record.  Once set aside, a record of the conviction is only available courts, law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorneys, the attorney general, and the governor, for the specific purpose of establishing that a conviction was set aside.  The conviction is not accessible to the public, including potential employers, schools, banks, and others running background checks on you. 

You can apply to have your conviction set aside 5 years after the imposition of your sentence.  However, it is important to note, that not all convictions are eligible for expungement. You are not eligible to have your conviction set aside if the conviction is for a felony for which the maximum term punishment is life imprisonment or an attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment, felony criminal sexual conduct, or a violation of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code.  It is also important to note that the Michigan Legislature often revises, or attempts to revise, the eligibility for expungement. Revisions to MCL 780. 621 were introduced by the Michigan House of Representatives in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009.  In 2013,  House Bill (HB) 4186 was introduced, but not passed by the House of Representatives. The Bill would have allowed a felony to be expunged even if an individual had up to 2 misdemeanor convictions and allowed those with 2 misdemeanor convictions to expunge both.

If you would like to ring in the new year with an expungment of your criminal record, or would like to see if you are eligible to expunge your criminal conviction, contact Stephanie Tzafaroglou at (517) 432-9000 or stzafaroglou@nicholslaw.net.

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.