Can I Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction in Michigan

Can I Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction in Michigan?

Under Michigan law, domestic violence is a serious offense that often attracts stiff penalties. In addition to fines and jail time, the conviction will go on your criminal record. This can adversely affect your future in many ways. Fortunately, you can expunge a domestic violence conviction if you meet all the set requirements. This will help you to avoid the long-term effects of the conviction on your life. However, to do this successfully, there are a few things you need to know.

What Is Considered Violence/Abuse in a Domestic Setting?

There’s domestic abuse and then there’s domestic assault convictions. They’re often intertwined, but not always. Sometimes, a person has a really bad night and takes it out on their spouse. Potentially no more than a shove. While not ever an okay thing to do, that’s not the same as years-long abuse. Even still, one small act on one bad night can lead to a domestic assault conviction.

As to abuse, well that’s different. Simply put, domestic violence and abuse refers to a pattern of any negative behavior used by the perpetrator to establish or maintain power and control over the victim. The victims can be spouses, intimate partners or cohabitants. Domestic violence and abuse takes many forms. Here are some types of behaviors that constitute violence and abuse in a domestic setting, such as in a marriage or cohabitation.

  • Physical abuse: For most people, this type of abuse is physically aggressive behavior such as pushing, hitting, slapping, stabbing and strangling. However, it also includes threats to physically assault, destroying treasured objects and possessions, withholding physical needs, forcing drug use on the victim and holding the victim hostage.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse: This refers to behavior that damages the victim’s emotional well-being. Emotional abuse includes name-calling, intimidating, manipulating, threatening, blaming, ignoring, isolating and putting the victim down in public. This can be verbal, non-verbal or both.
  • Economic or financial abuse: This happens when the perpetrator manipulates economic resources to make the victim entirely financially reliant on them. The abuse may involve controlling the family income, denying access to funds, hiding family assets, and sabotaging education and employment opportunities.
  • Sexual abuse: This is when an abuser attempts to force or actually forces their partner to have sexual contact without the victim’s consent. It also includes verbal and physical behavior such as touching sexual body parts, telling offensive sexual jokes, rape, making sexually demeaning comments and withholding sex to punish your partner.

What You Need to Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction

The expungement process is a privilege and not a right. Also, there are rules that govern the process. Take time to find out if you are eligible before petitioning the court to set aside the conviction. Here are the requirements you should meet to expunge a domestic violence conviction.

  • In order to request an expungement, you have to wait for a specified period of time. The waiting period to file an application to remove non serious misdemeanors is three years, while the wait for serious misdemeanors or one felony is five years. If you have multiple felonies, you will have to wait for at least seven years.
  • You cannot be facing criminal charges at the time when you are seeking to have the domestic violence conviction expunged.
    • You cannot have a felony domestic violence charge set aside if you had a prior misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
    • You can only have two assaultive crimes set aside.

You can’t have more than three felonies on your record (although there’s a bit of an exception if you have multiple convictions stemming from one bad 24-hour period).

  • When it comes to automatic expungement, the qualifying waiting period is seven years for misdemeanors and 10 years for felonies. However, only two felonies and four misdemeanors can be cleared during your lifetime. Similarly, automatic expungement will not apply if you have more than one assaultive crime. As of right now, though, the automatic expungement system is not in effect. You’re best off trying to apply to get your convictions set aside rather than waiting for the Government to implement this complex auto-expungement process (it’s hard enough to get a pothole filled around these parts!)

Once you have established that you meet all the requirements, you will need to fill out and file your application with the court where you were convicted. You will also be required to attend a court hearing where the judge will decide whether the conviction will be removed from your record.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction

Expunging a domestic violence conviction is a complex legal process. A single mistake can delay your application and jeopardize your chances of success. This is why you should consider hiring a lawyer. The legal expert will work hard to ensure the conviction is removed from your record so you can get your life back on track. A lawyer will help to:

Determine Eligibility

A qualified lawyer is familiar with the expungement laws in Michigan. The lawyer will be able to quickly tell you whether you qualify for expungement. This will help to save you time and stress.

Navigate the Legal Issues

The process of seeking to have a conviction removed from your record can be incredibly overwhelming. Your lawyer will help you navigate through the complicated legal issues to ensure a smooth process.

Handle the Paperwork

There are certain documents that you need to show you have successfully completed your sentence. Your lawyer will not only help you identify and get these documents but also handle the necessary paperwork.

Ensure Your Case Is Properly Presented to the Judge

Properly presenting your case to the judge will increase your chances of having the expungement granted. This is especially important in domestic violence cases, where victims might show up and object to you getting the second chance you deserve. We know. We’ve seen it.. Your lawyer will ensure you are adequately prepared for the court hearing, something that will help you convince the judge that you deserve the expungement.

It takes knowledge and skill to expunge a domestic violence conviction from your record. You not only need to understand the process but also know what it takes to be eligible for expungement. For a smooth and successful process, consider seeking the help and guidance of an experienced expungement lawyer. Contact us today for a free case review.