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Michigan Criminal Record: Is My Life Ruined?

There is no question that being charged and convicted of a crime is a scary and overwhelming situation. However, once the smoke has cleared and you have served your time, you may wonder what happens next. In fact, many people wonder if having a criminal record will impact their life, how it will impact their life, and if it is possible to reduce the impact criminal records have.

Here you can find the answers to these questions and know your options moving forward.

Michigan Criminal Records

What are Criminal Records?

Before diving into the impact of criminal records, it is important to know what these are. The term “criminal record” refers to a document of a persons past legal offenses. Your criminal history record can include criminal convictions and traffic violations.

How these records impact your life varies, and some options set by Michigan law allow those with a criminal record to have its impact reduced or eliminated.

Who Will Look at Your Criminal Record?

Criminal records are also public records. However, there are certain situations where someone asks for or checks your Michigan criminal records. Usually, background checks are used to verify someone’s character, which is when they can see your police record.

Typically, a possible employer will conduct criminal background checks on job applicants and look at their criminal history records before deciding to hire them.

Landlords may also request a criminal background check before deciding to rent their property to an applicant. Like an employer, landlords can refuse to rent to someone if they have a criminal record.

Another situation where your Michigan criminal records may be accessed is during a child custody case. Judges often use the information available in Michigan public records (including your criminal record) to decide what is in a child’s best interest. If the crime you were convicted of impacted your family negatively, your ability to get custody may be impacted. If this happens, then your police records may negatively impact your life.

What Does a Michigan Arrest Record Effect?

As mentioned above, your criminal record is public, and anyone can access public records. Due to this, having a police record may impact your life in several ways.

For example, if you are arrested for another crime, law enforcement officers will know this, and, as a result, the charges you face may be more severe, along with the penalties if you are convicted. This includes an increased sentence in prison, increased fines, and being ineligible for parole.

You may be denied a passport based on the type of crime you committed. As a result, you cannot travel outside of the country. Usually, the government denies passports to anyone who has a history of violent or sexual crimes. Even if you have a passport, a criminal record may result in a country denying you entry.

Your criminal record may impact your ability to return to school, too. When you apply to college, many applications ask if you have a criminal record. Even if the school accepts you, getting financial aid may be impossible. If you are convicted of a sexual offense, you will not be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant. You may also be required to be listed on the sex offender registry, which is part of the public government records that the public can access.

If you are an immigrant and the Michigan state police or another law enforcement agency arrests you, and this arrest results in a conviction, it can have life-changing repercussions. As an immigrant, if you are convicted of a crime, it can impact your citizenship and green card eligibility, along with resulting in deportation. Sometimes, even misdemeanors can result in you being deported.

The Possibility of Expungement in Michigan

This information becomes part of your vital records if you are arrested and convicted of a crime. This means law enforcement agencies can easily access this information and see what your court records show and what crimes you have been convicted of.

While this is true, Michigan-compiled laws allow for some convictions to be removed from your record through expungement.

Expungement means that a criminal conviction is removed or sealed from your criminal record.

You can usually have arrests and misdemeanor convictions expunged (depending on the crime). However, felony convictions may not meet the requirements for this. Usually, an expungement can be done once you have paid all the applicable fines or served your full sentence.

It is easier to have juvenile offenses expunged. This is the case if the individual does not continue to be arrested or get in trouble with the law. When they turn 18, it is possible to have their Michigan court records and criminal records expunged.

It is important to note that your criminal record is cleared with an expungement. However, it does not erase your public records. As a result, all documentation of the situation beyond district court documents and records will remain available and accessible. It is best to contact a criminal defense attorney in Michigan to learn more about expungements (see: Michigan expungement laws).

Expungement vs. Setting Aside a Conviction

Each state uses unique terms to describe the concealment of or sealing of someone’s criminal records. The terms setting aside a conviction, record expungement, and record sealing all mean the same thing.

The Michigan courts use the phrase “set aside a conviction.” Contacting a criminal defense attorney is the best way to find out if your criminal or court records may be eligible for expungement. In some situations, your records in Michigan can be expunged, and you may not even know it. You may also be able to find this information by speaking to someone from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Common Questions About Having Your Criminal Record Set Aside in Michigan

While many questions you may have about having your criminal charges and convictions set aside are answered above, there are some other questions that, with their answers, may help you better understand your options and legal rights.

Do You No Longer Have a Criminal Record After Your Conviction is Set Aside?

The answer to this question is no. There will still be court records and vital records that can be accessed by police officers, the Michigan state police, the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Michigan court system, county sheriff, and other law enforcement agencies.

Information related to your arrest record, your Michigan inmate records, and if you were on the sex offender registry will be used to make decisions by the parole board and for future sentencing decisions if you are ever convicted of a crime in the future (see: Michigan Sentencing Guidelines).

How Do You Answer Questions on a Job Application About Your Criminal Record?

Certain institutions are still allowed to ask if you have a criminal record, and they may even be able to access court records set aside. These include businesses, grantmakers (scholarship programs, banks, etc.), property owners, lenders, and schools. If you have a public criminal record, it is required that you are truthful when answering questions about your past. However, you only must ask the questions you are specifically asked. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, for example, and the application asks if you have been convicted of a felony, you can answer “no.”

Will Having a Criminal Record in Michigan Ruin My Life?

If your conviction is set aside, your criminal and arrest record is sealed from public access, and you do not have to provide information about your past on most job applications, then the answer is that – it does not have to. If your conviction is set aside and someone asks if you were ever arrested or convicted of a crime your record was expunged for; you can legally answer “no.”

How are Criminal Records in Michigan Created?

Criminal records in Michigan are created and stored by the CJIC – Criminal Justice Information Center, which is an agency that serves as a state repository for all police records, arrest records, inmate records, and more. Records are created when a law enforcement agency, the Michigan court system, prisons, or jails send information to the CJIC. Once it is received, criminal records in Michigan are created.

All law enforcement agencies in Michigan, including the Michigan state police, must provide arrest records and fingerprint information in the following situations:

●      If someone is charged with a crime that can be punished with more than 92 days in jail or prison, including serious misdemeanors and felonies

●      If someone is charged with other misdemeanor offenses reported with fingerprints once the person has been convicted and if their sentence includes prison time and fines of $100 or more

What Information is Included in a Criminal Record?

When it comes to criminal records in Michigan, the information included depends on your situation. Michigan courts send information about the person’s criminal actions, including their arrest records. Also, information is provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections, which is included in the records.

The criminal history record includes your personal information, including name, physical description, residence, age, etc., and information about all arrests and convictions. Your fingerprints and photos are included in the record.

Are Criminal Records and Michigan Vital Records the Same Thing?

The answer to this is no. Criminal records are created by law enforcement agencies like the Michigan state police and are based on police records and Michigan Department of Corrections records, which includes everyone listed on the sex offender registry.

On the other hand, Michigan vital records, which are found in the vital records office, include things like property records, death records, and other information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. These are public records and not the same as criminal records.

Getting Help with Having Your Criminal Record Set Aside in Michigan

Michigan public records are created to help the public know about risks when hiring someone, renting property, lending money, and more. However, for those with a criminal record after an arrest by the Michigan state police or another law enforcement agency, it can be life-changing.

You have legal options! Contact Blank Law, PC to learn about your rights and options in these situations.

You can call any time, day or night, at (248) 515-6583.

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Attorney Nicole Blank Becker and her legal team can review your situation and help you with having your criminal record set aside.