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Michigan DUI Law

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Expunging Michigan Criminal Convictions

The purpose of the expungement statute is to expunge the record of one-time offenders who satisfy the requirements of the act.

Applicability - Time

An application for expungement of a criminal conviction may not be filed until five years after imposition of the sentence, or until five years after completion of any term of imprisonment, whichever occurs later. MCL 780.621(3)

Test - Nature of Offense

Upon application, a court may set aside a conviction upon a showing that the circumstances and behavior of the applicant from the date of the conviction to the filing of the application warrant the set aside and that setting aside the conviction is consistent with the public welfare. The nature of an offense does not alone preclude the setting aside of an offender's record and will not justify denial of a petition to set aside a conviction. Rather, the circumstances and behavior of the applicant must be weighed against the public welfare. MCL 780.621(9)

Multiple Convictions - Misdemeanors

A person who is convicted of not more than one offense may file an application with the convicting court for the entry of an order setting aside the conviction. A person may have only one conviction expunged. Thus, a person convicted of only one offense may obtain expungement, but a person convicted of more than one offense may not obtain expungement. Multiple offenses which disqualify a person from expungement include any convictions, whether misdemeanor or felony. MCL 780.621(1)

Controlled Substances - Delivery of 50 to 224 Grams

Generally, a person who is convicted of not more than one offense may apply with the convicting court for the entry of an order setting aside the conviction. However, a court may not set aside a conviction for a felony for which the maximum penalty is life in prison or a conviction for a traffic offense. The offense of delivery of between 50 and 224 grams of cocaine is subject to expungement. MCL 780.621(1), MCL 780.621(2)

Controlled Substances - Possession of 50 to 224 Grams - Lifetime Probation

A sentence of lifetime probation imposed for a controlled substances offense may not be altered except by imposing imprisonment. An expungement of a conviction is a reduction in a sentence of lifetime probation, and thus is improper. MCL 771.2, MCL 780.621

Criminal Sexual Conduct, Third-Degree. Statutory Amendment - Retroactivity

The expungement statute is remedial and does not create new or destroy existing rights. The setting aside of a conviction is a privilege and conditional, and is not a right. Consequently, an amendment to the statute applies retroactively. In the case of People v Link, the defendant requested expungement of his third-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction, which the trial court denied. After the filing of his application for expungement, the expungement statute was amended to preclude the expungement of third-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions. Because the expungement statute applies retroactively, it precludes the expungement of the defendant's record. MCL 780.621

Juvenile Offense

A court may at any time for good cause expunge its own files and records pertaining to an offense by a minor other than certain offenses, including an offense which would be a criminal traffic violation if committed by an adult. The court must expunge the files and records when the person becomes thirty years old. MCR 5.925(E)(2), MCR 5.925(E)(3)(a)