A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Michigan, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record. Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take. 1) Expunge Your Record 2) Seal Your Record 3) Request a Pardon of Your Record. The problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what Michigan offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.
If you get your record expunged in Michigan it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.
Sealing your record in Michigan is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.
If you receive a pardon in Michigan, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.
Things to Know Before You Start
First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in Michigan.
Felony Expungement in Michigan
No, it is not possible to expunge your felony in Michigan.
Sealing a Record in Michigan
Yes, it is possible to seal your record in Michigan but it depends on the felony.
Getting a Pardon in Michigan
Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in Michigan but it depends on the felony.
Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options. The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.
Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action. We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process. Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again. In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think. The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing off your record.
Can You Expunge a Felony in Michigan?
There is no way to completely expunge a felony in Michigan. You can only have it sealed, or set aside.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Michigan?
Michigan law uses the term set aside instead of the term seal when referring to the way to remove a conviction from your record. Once a conviction is set aside, the conviction is deemed to never have occurred (with a few narrow exceptions).
CANNOT SEAL IF…
Five Years have not passed If it has been less than five years since you have successfully completed your felony sentence, you cannot petition to have your record sealed.You have more than one felony offenseIf you have had more than one felony offense set aside, you cannot petition to have another felony record sealed.Certain convictions may never be set aside. There is a list of them here.
How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Michigan
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to seal your record.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible to seal your record based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible to seal your record based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• Go to the following website for articles, forms, and checklist.Steps to set aside your criminal record in Michigan
Step 1. Go to the following website to begin your application.
Step 2. You will need to get a copy of your criminal record.
• The cost for obtaining your criminal record is $10, which you will obtain through Michigan’s Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT)
• The ICHAT record will have three columns: your arrests, your charges, and your convictions.
• You can also get your criminal history information from your record of conviction, judgment of sentence, case history/register of actions, or other record of the conviction.
• You may also want to order a FBI background check if you are unsure whether you have any criminal convictions in other states.
Step 2. You will also need your fingerprints on card RI-008 and a certified copy of your conviction to file with your application
• You also must order one certified record of each of your convictions from the court clerk where you were convicted.
Step 3. File your application to the Court Clerk
Step 4. Send copies of your application to the prosecutor, Attorney General, and Michigan State Police immediately after filing it with the clerk.
Step 5. Complete and file the proof of service
• After sending your application to the prosecutor, Attorney General, and Michigan State Police, fill out the proof of service section at the bottom of both of the remaining copies of your Application to Set Aside Conviction.
• Sign and date both copies.
• Make sure you enter the date that you sent each application.
• Send one copy to the court clerk to show that you sent the application to all the required agencies, and keep one copy for yourself.
Step 6. Attend your hearing
• Law enforcement officials and the victims of your crime may testify at the hearing to support your application or to object to it.
• When you go to court, bring a copy of your complete application, a blank copy of the Order on Application to Set Aside Conviction, any evidence you would like to show the judge, and any witnesses.
• After hearing from you and any witnesses, the judge will make a decision on your application. If your conviction is set aside, the judge will complete and sign the Order on Application to Set Aside Conviction. You will be given a copy of the order.
• Ask if the court clerk will also send a copy to the local and Michigan State Police. If not, you should send a copy to these agencies.
• One month after your conviction is set aside, your record should be clear. You can check ICHAT to see if your conviction is still public. If the record is still public, contact the Michigan State Police to see if it has received a copy of the order. Send it again if not.You should also clear your record with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Send a copy of the order to the following address:Michigan Department of Corrections206 E. Michigan Ave.Grandview PlazaPO Box 30003Lansing, MI 48909
Can You Apply for a Pardon in Michigan?
In Michigan, the Governor can impose any conditions and limitations on a pardon as he deems proper. However, the Governor’s pardoning power is subject to procedures and regulations that the Legislature may enact from time to time. The Legislature has created a body called the Michigan Parole Board, which is responsible for receiving all pardon applications and making recommendations to the Governor. Although the Parole Board makes the recommendations, the Governor is not bound by those recommendations.
There is no waiting period before you are eligible to apply for a pardon in Michigan, thus, you can apply any time after you have been convicted, even if you are still incarcerated.
CANNOT PARDON IF…
Out-of-State Conviction: The Governor can only grant you a pardon for a Michigan State conviction.
How to Apply for a Pardon in Michigan
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• There are no fees to apply for a pardon in Michigan. The Michigan Parole Board has created a simple, self-explanatory pardon application form for you to use. You must use the Parole Board’s form, The form can be obtained from the Department of Correction’s website. If you cannot access the website or the form itself, call the Parole Board at 517-335-1426 or write to:Michigan Department of CorrectionsOffice of the Parole BoardPardons and Commutations CoordinatorP.O. Box 30003Lansing, MI 48909
Steps to apply for a pardon in Michigan
Step 1. Fill out the form
• On the form, you will be asked basic information such as your name, date of birth, social security number, immigration status, and Michigan prison number (if applicable).
Step 2. Past convictions
• You will also need to provide information about every conviction you wish to get a pardon for, including the name of the offense, the type of offense (felony or misdemeanor), the date you were convicted, the court, the judge, the sentence you received, and the date you completed your sentence.
• You can get most of this information from the clerk of the court where you were convicted.
Step 3. List all arrests after conviction (if any)
• The Parole Board will want to know what you were arrested for, the date and location, the charge, and the sentence.
• This report should list all arrests and convictions you have ever received in Michigan.
Step 4. You will be asked to submit a brief statement explaining why you are requesting a pardon.
• This may be the most important section of your application.
• Tell the Parole Board/Governor how the conviction has negatively affected you and/or your family.
• Also indicate in your personal statement all the positive things that have occurred in your life—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.
• Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other proof of your rehabilitation and good character.
• Although you may feel the need to explain the facts of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excessive excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt.
• However you feel about the crime, you had already been found guilty.
• The Parole Board/Governor is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.
Step 5. we suggest that you submit a few letters of recommendation from credible people (such as your boss) who know you well and can say good things about you.
• These letters should indicate to what extent the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you should be granted a pardon.
• The letters should also indicate the writer’s contact information for verification purposes. If possible, you should choose individuals who are not related to you, in order to avoid the appearance of bias.Step 6. You will need to sign your completed pardon application form in front of a notary public. You can find a notary public in most banks.
• They may charge a small fee, usually depending on whether you have an account with that bank.
Step 7. Make a copy of everything you send for your records. Mail the original application and one copy of the application and all supporting documents to: Michigan Department of Corrections Office of the Parole Board Pardons and Commutations Coordinator Post Office Box 30003 Lansing, Michigan 48909Step 6. Within 60 days after receiving your application, the Parole Board will determine if your application has any merit.
• If the Parole Board determines that your application has no merit, it will still submit your application directly to the Governor—with an indication of “no merit” without any further investigation.
• If the Parole Board determines that your application has merit, it will conduct an investigation and will notify the sentencing judge and prosecuting attorney in the county of your conviction.
• Those individuals will then have 30 days to file any written objections to your application.
Step 7. The Parole Board will also conduct a public hearing on your application, which will be held in Lansing.
• You may also testify and present any relevant evidence and witness testimony at the hearing.
• If possible, you should bring friends, family, church members, teachers, employers and/or co-workers to the hearing to show their support for you; if allowed, they may also be able to testify.
• You may also bring an attorney to represent you at the hearing.
So, there you have it. Two separate ways to get rid of your record in Michigan. As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.
Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational. If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.