St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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New Michigan laws

New Laws Provide Opportunities for Criminal Record Expungement

New Michigan lawsNew legislation passed by Michigan lawmakers has expanded the number of opportunities for those searching for the expungement of their criminal records. House Bill 4186 is headed to the governor’s desk after being passed near the end of the 2013-2014 legislative session, assuming it makes it back through the House one last time.
So what does this mean for you? If you have a criminal conviction on your record, the new law could provide an opportunity to have it expunged. As representative Stacy Erwin Oakes, explained, “Ultimately, this means that individuals will have a chance at having criminal offenses removed from their record, thereby giving them a second chance. That would then allow them to hopefully gain employment and even housing.” The new law is designed to lessen the burden caused by some criminal convictions.

Under current law, some individuals with a single conviction are able to request expungement five years after their release or sentencing. The new law expands this option to those with up to two misdemeanors; individuals could petition the courts five years after exiting probation or finishing parole. Certain crimes are, of course, not eligible for expungement. The best course of action is speaking with a Berrien County criminal attorney to determine how the new legislation might impact your record and your options.

It’s also worth noting that if passed the new law does not represent a guarantee of expungement. The judge is still able to make the final call, which means acquiring proper representation is critical in ensuring the best possible outcome. Thus, an experienced criminal attorney will be critical in preparing your case and presenting it to the court.

For more information or questions about getting a crime expunged or how new legislation might open new options for you, contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit

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Anniversary of Birth Critical for Juvenile Sentencing

Anniversary of Birth Critical for Juvenile Sentencing

Anniversary of Birth Critical for Juvenile SentencingOne of the most important aspects of any criminal proceeding involving a minor is determining his official age in the eyes of the court. Whether the accused is a juvenile or adult has immeasurable consequences in terms of both sentence applied and the long-term ramifications of that sentence. Thus, one of the many responsibilities of a Berrien County criminal attorney is establishing clear documentation confirming the true age of the defendant.

According to a recent ruling out of Michigan appellate court, the age of a defendant and his status as a juvenile should be determined exclusively by the anniversary of his birth. The ruling came as the result of a case in which a defendant was tried as an adult due to his alleged crime occurring two hours before his eighteenth birthday. The initial sentencing court worked off the common law that a person reaches the next year of age on the day preceding the anniversary of his birth and sentenced the defendant as an adult. In a subsequent appeal, the ruling was overturned based on the idea that an individual remains a juvenile until the anniversary of his birth occurs:

“By this calculation, defendant remained ‘under the age of 18’ at the time he committed the instant homicide offense and is therefore entitled to be treated in accordance with the United States Supreme Court’s rule in Miller.’”
In other words, the initial court erred by trying the defendant as an adult. If you’re curious as to whether this ruling applies to you, it’s advisable to speak with an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. An experienced, knowledgeable attorney will look at the details of your case and help you figure out how the ins and outs of the law apply.

For more information or to schedule your consultation contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit

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