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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

Can Expungement Help? What You Need to Know

If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime, it’s no surprise the experience has a serious effect on your life. Not only are you forced to deal with the related penalties if you are convicted, the effects can linger and cause trouble in just about every area of your life.

For some, the best way to end the hassle is to have their arrest or conviction expunged. What does this mean?

Having your record expunged means the arrest or conviction in question is destroyed or sealed. This means the general public is unable to see the information, should someone perform a background check.

Expungement is valuable if you have just one arrest or conviction. It protects your privacy and avoids uncomfortable or difficult situations, and it can also prevent you from being judged based on your criminal history. For instance, if you are concerned a potential employer might run a background check, or you think someone you know personally might dig into your past, expungement is a great tool for keeping things private.

How to Get Your Record Expunged

The process of expungement can be tedious and the time it takes to achieve your goal varies from case to case. There are several people involved in the process and in most cases, it takes a while to get your record expunged.

What does this mean for you? Don’t wait until just before you want to apply for a job to begin the process. If you have an arrest or conviction and you think there’s a chance you’ll ever want to keep it quiet, take action sooner rather than later.

There are three government agencies involved in expunging your record: the Michigan State’s Attorney’s Office, law enforcement, and the court system. You’ll need signatures at each step and in some cases, a judge will decide to schedule a hearing. Most estimates show expungement takes about six months from start to finish, but it can be much longer. Some people are lucky enough to get it done in less than six months. For more information about the expungement process in Michigan, visit the Michigan Department of Corrections’ website.

You’ll need to work with an attorney when having your record expunged, and it’s important to know that if you are promised a speedy process or something else that seems too good to be true, you’re likely being misled. Your attorney should be aggressive, but there is only so much control he or she has over the process.

How Do I Know I Can Have My Record Expunged?

Expungement is not an option for everyone. Most records from any law enforcement agency, correctional facility, or court are eligible, but each case is different. Your lawyer can assess your situation and determine if expungement is an option and how much it will help you in terms of finding employment and protecting your personal information.

If you’d like to know more about the process of expungement or you want to schedule a consultation and review of your record, we can help. We work with clients through Michigan, and in the Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Royal Oak, Troy, and Birmingham areas. For more information, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.


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