East Lansing, MI asked in Criminal Law for Michigan

Q: Can you overturn a conviction after incarceration and all is said and done with?

If a.person was convicted of a crime and wants to fight it afterword is there a way to do ot without hiring a lawyer and needing money to revisit the court?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jay Courtright
Jay Courtright
  • Haslett, MI

A: All attorneys go to law school so that they can learn that the simple answer to any question is this: It depends. What you are asking about is called an expungement and it is possible given certain circumstances to get the convicting court to enter an order setting it aside. This isn't as clear cut as it would sound and hence the reason that the answer is 'it depends'. If you have not been convicted of more than 1 offense you can file an application with the convicting court to expunge this conviction from your record if you meet certain requirements. You also may be eligible if you meet these conditions if you have been convicted of not more than 2 minor offenses in addition to the offense you are applying for expungement.

Unfortunately, I have to resort to the standard 'it depends' answer because Michigan's expungement statute bars a convicting court from setting aside certain felony convictions. If your conviction is for an offense for which you could have been sentenced to life imprisonment or an attempt to commit such an offense, then you cannot apply for an expungement. Sex offenses involving children, using a computer to solicit a minor for sexual purposes and some other sex offenses or a conviction for a traffic offense are also notable exceptions to the expungement statute.

Provided your conviction falls within the guidelines of the statute however, you apply for an expungement. Once again, however, the 'it depends' answer comes into play again. You cannot apply for an expungement until at least 5 years following imposition of the sentence for the offense or 5 years following completion of any term of imprisonment for that conviction, whichever occurs later. Provided you've met all of these conditions and the offense is not one exempted from the expungement statute, you may apply to the convicting court for an expungement. Even then the Court may ask for additional information. You could probably do this on your own, but it is kind of complicated and I wouldn't advise that you try it. If you want to discuss it further, by all means contact me.

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