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Michigan Legislature Loosens Restrictions on Setting Aside Convictions for Youthful Mistakes

Michigan Legislature Loosens Restrictions

For so many Michigan residents, one poor decision has ruined their lives for many years. One unfortunate brush with the law when they were young resulted in a felony conviction and now everything from financial aid to lucrative jobs is closed to them because they are labeled as felons. For quite some time there has been very little statutory relief available. The statute required felons to wait 5 years after conviction or imprisonment, whichever occurs later, and then petition the court to set aside that conviction. Until June 23, 2011, the felon could not have any other criminal record. Even a simple misdemeanor like Disturbing the Peace would bar recovery.

That changed when the Michigan Legislature amended the statute, adding a provision that permits the felon to file the petition and have that conviction set aside even if he or she has up to 2 additional minor offenses. A minor offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00. Most importantly, those 2 minor offenses must have been committed before the felon 22nd birthday. Because of this limitation, it seems the Michigan Legislature clearly intended this law to be designed to forgive minor offenses made while the felon was young and foolish.

When considered together with the recent changes to the Sex Offender Registry Act, this law seems to mark a change in the Michigan Legislature intends for courts to deal with juvenile and young adult offenders. If the Legislature is not intending leniency, it is at least legislating forgiveness for offenses made during those years when juveniles and young adults are most likely to cross the law without truly considering the consequences.

 

* Please note: Every case is different, and there may be some aspect of your particular case which may result in an outcome other than is described above. This post is not intended as legal advice and may not apply to your particular case. It is always best to contact our office for a consultation if you have been or believe you may be charged with a crime.

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