Simple Steps to Expunge Record

There are simple steps to follow to expunge your record.  Expunging criminal records is addressed in Michigan Public Act 1965, entitled, Setting Aside Convictions, and codified at MCL 780.621 to MCL 780.624.

Former Law:  According to the former law, a person is eligible to file an application to expunge a criminal record if they have been convicted of not more than one criminal offense; it has been at least five years from the conviction or imprisonment; and the conviction was not for a felony / attempt for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment, a crime involving rape or a traffic offense.

Current Law:  Under the current law, a person who is otherwise eligible to apply for expungement is not rendered ineligible by virtue of being convicted of not more than two minor offenses (a misdemeanor or ordinance violation for which the maximum permissible imprisonment is 90 days, for which the maximum permissible fine is $1,000, and that is committed by a person who is not more than 21 years old) in addition to the offense for which the person filed an application. (SB 159; eff. 6/23/11).

Application:  The application fee is $50.00 and MCL 780.621 walks a person through what information / language is required to be in the application.

The applicant must submit a copy of the application and 2 complete sets of fingerprints to the state police, which then submits those to the FBI, and which ultimately reports to the court as to the applicant’s eligibility. Furthermore, the prosecutor’s office who prosecuted the crime to be expunged must be served with the application in order to provide it an opportunity to contest the application.

Upon the entry of an order of expungement, the applicant is considered not to have been previously convicted. The court then sends a copy of the order to the arresting agency and the department of state police, which retains a nonpublic record of the order setting aside a conviction and of the record of the arrest, fingerprints, conviction, and sentence of the applicant in the case to which the order applies.

The applicant will receive a copy of the nonpublic record from the state police upon payment of a fee, however, its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to anyone else is prohibited and any such disclosure is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Not for 7411:  MC235.  The court will not grant a motion for an order to expunge if the movant cannot check the box in paragraph “2″ of the “Motion” section, stating: “This motion does not pertain to any sentence imposed under MCL 333.7411.”

Record still available:  In certain situations, this nonpublic record can be made available to a court of competent jurisdiction, an agency of the judicial branch of state government, a law enforcement agency, a prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, or the governor upon request. These situations include:

  • Consideration in a licensing function conducted by an agency of the judicial branch of state government;
  • To show that a person who has filed an application to set aside a conviction has previously had a conviction set aside;
  • The court’s consideration in determining the sentence to be imposed upon conviction for a subsequent offense that is punishable as a felony or by imprisonment for more than 1 year;
  • Consideration by the governor if a person whose conviction has been set aside applies for a pardon for another offense;
  • Consideration by a law enforcement agency if a person whose conviction has been set aside applies for employment with the law enforcement agency; and
  • Consideration by a court, law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, or the attorney general in determining whether an individual required to be registered under the sex offenders registration act has violated that act, or for use in a prosecution for violating that act.


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