Can I Expunge My Juvenile Record in Michigan?
When you receive a criminal conviction as a minor, it is known as a juvenile adjudication. To remove this blemish from your public juvenile record, you will need to ask the court for an expungement. This isn’t an unusual request, especially for individuals looking to seek employment, attend college, get student loans, or pursue a professional license.
While these records are not the same as an adult criminal conviction, potential employers, landlords, and even military recruiters may still withdraw opportunities based on this information. This is why setting aside your adjudications as a minor is so vital because these crimes will no longer show on a standard background check.
Who is Eligible to Expunge a Juvenile Adjudication?
Currently, you can apply to expunge or “set aside” certain juvenile offenses one year after disposition on your case was imposed, a year after detention, or when you turn 18 years old, whichever occurs later.
In addition to those application requirements, to qualify for expungement, only certain offenses are eligible:
- No more than three eligible misdemeanor offenses, or,
- A single felony and two misdemeanors that are eligible under state guidelines, or,
- A series of adjudications that count as a single offense. They all must have occurred within the same 12-hour period with the same intentional goal.
Some juvenile offenses are ineligible for being set aside, including:
- Crimes involving possession or use of a weapon
- Certain assaults defined in state statutes
- Motor vehicle crimes
- Offenses that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or more
Even if you meet eligibility conditions, keep in mind that a judge will ultimately decide if your juvenile adjudication can be expunged. This is why you should first speak with a knowledgeable juvenile criminal defense attorney about your desire to clean up your record. They will be familiar with how the courts view certain crimes and what evidence is necessary to put your case in a favorable position with the judge.
Applying to Set Aside an Adjudication in Michigan
To begin setting aside your juvenile adjudication on your own, you will need to apply with the local court where you were initially convicted. There you can get form JC66 and submit it along with the required fingerprint card and certified copies of your court record to the clerk. In addition to submitting your application to the court, you will also have to mail a copy to the State Attorney General, the state police, and the prosecutor’s office that handled your case.
It’s highly advised you work with a criminal defense attorney for this step to ensure that all the required information is included. Any missing required documentation or unanswered questions can cause delays and force you to fill out an entirely new application all over again.
This is why in our firm, we have a comprehensive system for keeping your expungement application on track. We use a series of forms, checklists, automated reminders, and recurring check-ins with you to make sure we stay on track with your application. We combine outstanding technology with outstanding people, which helps us get outstanding results.
What to Expect During Your Scheduled Court Hearing for Your Expungement
Once your application is filed, the clerk arranges a hearing for the judge to review your application and decide on setting aside your adjudication. During this hearing, the presiding judge must determine two things:
- If your current circumstances and behavioral changes support your application, and,
- If setting aside your adjudication is in the best interest of public safety
This is where a knowledgeable Lansing juvenile crimes attorney can be beneficial. They can help you cast a more favorable view of your application by doing the following:
- Submit supportive letters from your friends and family
- Have witnesses on hand that support you and the changes you’ve made to your life
- Have you testify the goals a clean record will help you accomplish, like getting into college
- Submit letters of recommendation from your current employer, teacher, counselor, or community organization
- Show the court you haven’t had any further involvement in criminal activity
- Provide certificates and letters of completion for substance abuse programs you’ve participated in
Be aware that an attorney can also be helpful should law enforcement and victims come to testify against your action at the hearing. It may be possible that your lawyer can convince them to support your efforts and add further credibility to your request.
Find Out if You’re Eligible to Set Aside Your Michigan Juvenile Record
If you are struggling to find gainful employment or are being disqualified from education opportunities because of your juvenile record, speak with the attorneys of Coontz Law right away. Our lead attorney Dustyn Coontz has helped countless individuals in East Lansing, MI, with embarrassing juvenile adjudications, start their lives over again by setting aside these damaging records. So don’t hesitate and contact Coontz Law today and set up a consultation to discuss your legal situation.