A Fresh Start

Fresh Start" cloud word on sky

When you were just starting out into adulthood, you may have made some bad decisions that you didn’t realize would affect you throughout your life.  Perhaps you got into a bar fight and were charged with assault and battery.  Or maybe you were driving a friend’s car which had no brake lights and after the police pulled you over, they discovered a gun under the driver’s seat which didn’t belong to you.  

Your lawyer may have told you not to worry about it too much.  It could be handled by getting you a plea bargain from carrying a concealed weapon, down to attempt possession.  And then you were told what a great deal it was, and how you would probably get non reporting probation.  And you, being just in your late teens or early 20’s years old, agreed.  Not that big of a deal.  Anyway, you did your probation and moved on with your life.  And you forgot about it.

In the blink of an eye, or so it seems, you’re 35 years old with one kid, and another on the way.  It’s time to settle down.  You want to buy a house, have a nice car, and provide for your family.  You’re serious and willing to work hard to do whatever it takes to succeed.  First on the list is to get a good job with potential.  But then you find out that’s probably not going to happen.  Why?  Because of your past conviction for attempt possession of a concealed weapon –though not a big deal at the time- was listed as a felony.  And as you are now finding out, many employers with good jobs to offer have a policy of not hiring convicted felons– not today, never.  What are you going to do?  You are far removed from the young adult who was wild and reckless.  Now you are sober and serious and can’t understand why the past is holding you down.

Until recently, you would be out of luck in Michigan.  That’s because you would have been ineligible to expunge or erase your criminal record.  So no matter how much you’ve changed for the better, your past would always drag you down.  However, that recently changed earlier this year.  Now, the Michigan expungement statue allows you to expunge a felony conviction even if you have two misdemeanor convictions.  Now the expungement is not automatic, and there is a waiting period, but at least you have a chance for a fresh start.

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