Michigan’s New Expungement Law

Prior to June, 2011, a person only could have a crime expunged from their criminal record more than five years had passed since conviction of the offense or more than five years from imprisonment, whichever was greater, and if that person had not been convicted of any other crime.  However, as of June 23, 2011, Michigan amended its expungement statute to allow for the setting aside of a criminal conviction even if a person has been convicted of two or less minor crimes in addition to the crime for which an application to set aside the conviction was submitted.  A minor crime is defined as a crime that has possible maximum penalties of less than ninety-one days in jail and a fine that does not exceed one thousand dollars.

Despite this very important change, some crimes still cannot be expunged.  They include: traffic offenses; crimes where the maximum possible sentence is life in prison; actual or attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third degrees, or actual or attempted assault with the intent to commit felonious criminal sexual conduct.   Furthermore, expungement remains discretionary to the sentencing judge.  Therefore, even if the criteria for filing an expungement are met, a judge could deny the application for expungement.

Expungement Law

If you are hoping to get your record expunged, contact a qualified expungement attorney to help you. Contact Wolverine Law today at 734.481.8911 or fill out our free consultation form to find out how we can assist you.

Michigan’s Super Drunk Driving Law

On October 31, 2010, Michigan’s new “super drunk” driving law went into effect, which changed several sections of the Michigan Vehicle Code. Previously, intoxicated drivers faced charges of Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), when their blood alcohol content (BAC) was less than 0.08 or equal to or greater than 0.08, respectively. Now, with the introduction of the “super drunk” classification, first-time offenders with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.17 retain the OWI charge, while those with a BAC greater than 0.17 are classified as “super drunk.” Along with this new classification, “super drunk” drivers face stricter regulations and penalties than drivers charged with OWI (see Table for first time offender penalty comparison). These penalties include larger fines, longer license suspensions, and mandatory alcohol treatment programs. If you have been charged with driving under the influence and have questions regarding your situation, please contact a local attorney.

First-time offenders OWVI OWI “Super drunk”
Statute 257.625(3) 257.625(1)(b) 257.625(1)(c)
BAC <0.08* 0.08-0.17* >0.17
Community service/jail time/fine 1 or more of the following: comm. serv. for not more than 360 h; up to 93 d jail; $0-300 fine. 1 or more of the following: comm. serv. for not more than 360 h; up to 93 d jail; $100-$500 fine. 1 or more of the following: comm. serv. for not more than 360 h; up to 180 d jail; $200-$700 fine.
Alcohol treatment program or a self-help program May have to attend May have to attend Must attend an alcohol treatment program or a self-help program for a period of not less than 1 yr(257.625(b)(5))
Points 4 points 6 points 6 points
Driver responsibility fee $500 per yr for 2 yr $1000 per yr for 2 yr $1000 per yr for 2 yr
License suspension 0/90 d susp/rest(257.319(8)(a)) 30/180 d susp/rest(257.319(8)(a)) 45 d/1 yr susp/rest(257.319(8)(c))
Ignition lock device NA NA Required- 1 yr(257.319(8)(h))
License reinstatement fee $125 $125 $125
Immobilization May order vehicle immobilization for not more than 180 days for first offense (257.904(d)) May order vehicle immobilization for not more than 180 days for first offense (257.904(d)) May order vehicle immobilization for not more than 180 days for first offense (257.904(d))

Domestic Violence and Michigan Landlord – Tenant Law

The Michigan Landlord Tenant Relationship Act (“LTRA”) regulates rental agreements between landlords and tenants of residential property. In 2010, this act was amended to include a clause that releases tenants from their payment obligations when the tenant has reasonable apprehension of present danger arising from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

In order to be released from their leases, the tenant must submit written notice via certified mail of his/her intent to seek a release and provide written documentation demonstrating that the tenant has reasonable apprehension of present danger to the tenant himself or to his/her child. Acceptable forms of written documentation demonstrating reasonable apprehension include:

  • a copy of a valid personal protection order or an order removing an abusive person from a home,
  • a valid probation order, conditional release order, or parole order that is still in effect ordering that the released person is to have no contact with the tenant or child,
  • a written police report that has resulted in charges being filed with the prosecuting attorney that has jurisdiction over the matter,
  • a written report from a qualified third party, such as a professional services provider, clinic, or protection agency, testifying to the factual basis for the tenant’s apprehension.

Landlords must be aware of the other burdens this amendment thrusts upon them. First, landlords are required to provide notice of this release clause to their tenants, either directly in their lease agreements or through personal notification, or indirectly through postings in their management office. Second, this release clause does not apply to prepaid rent, or release other tenants who are parties to the rental agreement. Third, the release is only effective upon the tenant vacating the premises, and is only applicable to leases entered into, renewed or renegotiated after October 5, 2010. Fourth, the tenant is released from his/her obligation to pay no later than the first day of the second month that rent is due after notice is given. Finally, to ensure the safety of tenants wishing to move an account of their reasonable apprehension of danger, landlords must not intentionally reveal forwarding addresses or documentation submitted by the tenant under this provision to the alleged aggressor. Importantly, this amendment does not prevent the landlord from withholding the tenant’s security deposit.

Landlords who are concerned with the implications of this law should consult an attorney.