When a minor receives a criminal conviction, parents rightly have concerns about his or her future. How will this charge affect college, employment and life as an adult?
In Michigan, the court will seal many juvenile offenses, which means information about the crime is no longer public record.
Eligibility for sealing
The state allows a juvenile to petition for the court to seal or “set aside” a criminal record provided that he or she:
- Did not commit an excluded offense as detailed below
- Has fewer than three juvenile convictions
- Has no felony conviction
- Has waited at least a year since serving a court-ordered sentence and/or has reached 18 years old (whichever is later)
The court will not seal certain juvenile offenses. These includes:
- Misdemeanor or felony traffic offenses
- Offenses that involve physical assault or use of a weapon
- Offenses that would result in at least 10 years in prison if an adult received a conviction
The application process
The individual must petition the Department of State Police for sealing with a document that includes his or her full name, current address, record of adjudication, documentation that he or she has no other adjudicated or pending juvenile offenses in the U.S. or elsewhere, indication of whether he or she has petitioned for sealing of this conviction before, and consent for the court to use the nonpublic record. The person must also submit two complete sets of fingerprints and a filing fee of $25.
Hearing and determination
The court will schedule a hearing once the application is completely submitted with all supporting documents. The prosecutor and attorney general will have the chance to contest the sealing of the offense. The judge will review evidence to decide whether setting aside the juvenile record is in accordance with public safety and welfare.
If the court agrees to seal a juvenile record, it becomes illegal to share that information except in certain limited circumstances. The person can truthfully answer on job applications that he or she has never committed a crime.