10 Questions to Ask When You Need To Clean Up Your Criminal Record

10 Questions to Ask When You Need To Clean Up Your Criminal Record

Are you interested in getting your criminal record cleared?

Not sure what steps to take as you plan to apply for expungement?

Having a criminal record in this day and age can be debilitating. It can keep you from making more of yourself, from that job that pays more money, and from gaining experience as a volunteer.

This information is tailored for the state of Michigan. These questions are meant to help inform readers on the process of getting a criminal record cleared.

10 Questions to Ask To Help Clear Your Name

  1. What Do You Mean By Expungement?
    Expungement is the legal process of destroying records of criminal charges. The criminal charges are made nonpublic to criminal background checks. Certain agencies will have access to them. You may also see “set aside a conviction” as a term referring to expungement.
  2. Which Convictions Cannot be Expunged?
    There are some convictions that cannot be expunged. These include:
    • Some criminal sexual conduct or attempted and criminal sexual content convictions.
    • Traffic offenses.
    • A felony conviction punishable by life imprisonment, even in the case you did not actually receive a life sentence.
  3. Will My Record Disappear?
    While the word “destroy” may lead to believe that the record is completely gone, it is not. In truth, your record is made nonpublic in any criminal background check. The conviction will be visible to law enforcement, the courts, and some licensing and government agencies.
  4. How Many Convictions Can I Get Expunged?
    Michigan law allows you one conviction expungement.
  5. How Do I Find Exactly What I Was Convicted Of?
    Internet Criminal History Access Tool also referred to as ICHAT, allows you to print off your criminal record. Suppressed records and warrant information are not available through ICHAT and if the conviction is in another state it you will need to correspond with that state. There is a cost of $10 per search.
    Another reason to add why you may want to get your record expunged is that anyone can perform a search on ICHAT. All they need is $10 along with the person’s full name and date of birth.
  6. Do I Qualify?
    The Michigan Court’s website has put together a list of 7 questions to determine if you qualify for getting your record made nonpublic. The goal is to answer ‘no’ to all of those questions.The questions and more information about qualifying for expungement can be found in Do You Qualify to Get Your Criminal Record Wiped Clean?https://www.novilaw.com/2014/10/qualify-get-criminal-record-wiped-clean/
  7. What Happens if Convicted Again After Getting Expunged?
    As we’ve already discussed, your criminal record has been removed from the public view. It has not been removed from the courts or the Michigan State Police. If you are convicted of another crime in the future, the previous conviction could be used in sentencing.
  8. How to Apply
    The Michigan Courts website has an easy-to-follow 8 step process for applying. You can find that information and more in How to Get Your Criminal Record Expunged Part 3.
  9. Do I Really Need An Attorney?
    No, technically you do not need to hire an attorney. You can choose to represent yourself.
  10. Why Should I Hire An Attorney?
    You may want to consider hiring an attorney because getting a criminal record set aside is not a simple task.

    There are many rules, regulations and mandates. For example, there is a mandate that you must attend at least one hearing. During that hearing you might have to face the victim and their objections to your petition. You may come face to face with prosecutor or even the Attorney General of the state of Michigan.

    Applying for expungement is a big deal. While you can choose to represent yourself, you may find it helpful and reassuring to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side.


Having a criminal record may be keeping you from the life you have always wanted and deserved. Do not let the mistakes of the past disrupt your life today. If you or someone you know is facing a life shadowed by a criminal record, please call my office. I am here to help. Call my office today:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000

Is your name on the Sex Offender Registry list? Please see, How to Remove Your Name from the Sex Offender Registry.