On Wednesday evening, July 25th, New Galilee Baptist Church in Detroit was the site of an expungement and federal pardon seminar hosted by Third District Court Judge Deborah Thomas and others. The seminar was designed to help the thousands of convicted felons in the Detroit area with having their records expunged, essentially giving them a “clean slate.”
Michigan criminal defense lawyers know the negative impact of a criminal record on individuals lives. Those who have been convicted of even a single felony offense often carry a stigma with them for life, making it difficult to secure employment or federal housing aid. Many cannot open their own business or carry a gun. In short, a criminal record can be a life-long burden, impacting lives of those convicted decades after the fact.
Unfortunately, many convicts aren’t aware that they may be able to have their records expunged in some situations. If an individual has received only a single felony and the offense doesn’t carry the possibility of the maximum sentence of life in prison, that individual can file to have his or her record cleared (expunged) five years following the conclusion of the individual’s imprisonment, parole or probation.
Thomas explained at the seminar that convicts can improve the chances of having their criminal record expunged by “giving back” to the community. For instance, those who work to become leaders in the community or who hold down a steady job and work to reform their lives are more likely to have their request granted by a judge.
The fact is, many of those convicted on felony charges are young, and their lives are essentially ruined forever. Many of these individuals end up living with grandparents, and although they may have a skill, they cannot find employment because of a criminal record. Currently, individuals who are convicted on multiple charges during a single incident are not eligible to have their records expunged. Thomas would like to see that change.
Michigan criminal defense attorneys know the devastating impact a criminal record has on an individual’s life, and believe that most deserve a second chance to be a productive citizen, rather than live in poverty for the rest of his or her life. It is critical that you seek the guidance of a skilled, aggressive lawyer if you have been charged with a felony offense, so that a conviction can be avoided if possible.