Articles Posted in Expungement

image.pngCooperation, Undercover Drug Deals, Snitching: Using the little fish to get the big fish.

We have found that our clients charged with drug crimes experience a state of insecurity and despair when it comes to doing undercover work or cooperating with the police. This is something that is outside of the comfort zone for nearly everyone, especially the family members of our clients faced with this dilemma.

The classic predicament: Should a person engage in undercover drug deals or hire a lawyer for advice and face the criminal charges in the court system?

dilliger.jpgAs an active criminal defense attorney in Macomb County, our firm is frequently asked whether a criminal record can be totally erased, disappear or vanish. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

The Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)

The moment an arrest occurs, or a warrant is issued by a court, a record is generated on the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). Only criminal justice agencies or other authorized agencies (courts) are granted access to the LEIN. A law enforcement officer or court employee who abuses the system faces discipline. This link provides a list of entities who are authorized to utilize the LEIN system.

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In the past, a person could seek an expungement in Michigan provided there was only a single criminal conviction on the person’s criminal record.

Under the new law, a person may file for an expungement, of a criminal conviction even though the person has a prior criminal record consisting of not more than two (2) other convictions for “minor offenses”. A minor offense is classified as an offense which occurs before a person’s 22nd birthday with a maximum penalty of not more than 90 days in jail and a fine that does not exceed $1,000.00. This means that prior offenses such as assault and battery, simple larceny, driving while suspended, leaving the scene of an accident, disorderly conduct and other minor offenses will not preclude an expungement of an eligible conviction.

Our firm believes that this new law will open up the floodgates and make expungements possible for housands of persons who were not otherwise eligible under Michigan’s prior expungement law. An attorney will need to review the criminal history of the person seeking expungement to verify that any prior offenses qualify as “minor offenses” within the meaning of Michigan’s expungement statute or risk denial of the expungement.

Michigan has rigid requirements for person’s seeking expungements which include preparation of formal legal documents, criminal history search, a time-table for filing documents, legal notices to proper parties and a court hearing. The notice requirements for expungements necessitate service of documents upon the Michigan Attorney General, Michigan State Police, prosecuting attorney and the victim of the underlying criminal offense. Venue for expungements in Michigan is in the district or circuit court where the offense occurred.

Other important aspects of Michigan Expungements:

-The following offenses cannot be expunged: felony punishable by life in prison, traffic offenses and criminal sexual conduct convictions
-5 years must have elapsed since the date of sentence or release from prison for the offense which is being expunged.

As Macomb County criminal defense lawyers, we have provided legal representation for eligible clients seeking expungement in many Michigan district and circuit courts. Pursuant to Michigan’s new expungement law, prior minor offenses (before age 22) will no longer preclude a person from filing an application for an expungement. We believe this to be a step in the right direction for persons who have been burdened by an old criminal record but have made positive changes and deserve a fresh start in life.
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