A Kalamazoo Criminal Defense Attorney on Expunging a Criminal Conviction

Expunging a Michigan criminal conviction has its pitfalls whether your a Battle Creek Criminal Defense Attorney in Calhoun County or a City of Kalamazoo Criminal Defense Attorney in Kalamazoo County.

The minutia of the respective statutes has pit falls. Too often individuals seek to have their convictions set aside to early or seek to have convictions set aside when the have a conviction that will not permit the Court to grant the relief. This can result in a loss of time and money. If the Court denies your petition, the default rule is that you will not be able to file for an additional three years. An expungement attorney can help avoid these outcomes.
Michigan criminal convictions can follow an individual to other states. Heckman Law, PLLC has helped individuals across the United States set aside their Michigan convictions.
Beyond the direct consequences, such as jail and fines, a criminal conviction (or adjudication) can have numerous collateral consequences. It can affect your ability to find and maintain employment, can result in Child Protective Service involvement with your child, could result in the forfeiture of real or personal property that are the fruits of or instrumentalities of the crime, can affect your ability to expunge past convictions or adjudications, could be used against you in a family law preceding (divorce, child custody, etc.) or other criminal or civil proceeding, can affect your ability to possess a firearm for felonies, or misdemeanors where the facts are related to domestic violence or where it evidences that you are a user of controlled substances, could result in eviction, can affect your ability to get or keep getting government assistance, can affect your ability to get or maintain professional or business licenses, from contractors’ licenses to medical licenses, can affect your driver license, can affect your ability to pay child support and alimony (you should notify FOC immediately and file a motion to modify your support obligation), can affect your ability to immigrate and may result in deportation, may result in your having to register as a sex offender, can prevent you from enlisting in the military, can prevent you from sitting on a jury, can prevent you from voting, can affect your ability to get loans and financial aid, and more. This list is not exhaustive and simply represents some common consequences of a criminal conviction (or adjudication).
Having a conviction set aside will prevent some of these collateral consequences.
This post does not create an attorney client relationship and does not contain legal advice. Prior to taking or refraining from any action you should consult an attorney. This post references Michigan Law only.

Collateral Consequences as told by a Criminal Defense Attorney from Kalamazoo, Michigan

Whether you’re talking to a Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney or a Grand Rapaids, Kent County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney, collateral consequences need to be explained.

Often, a defense attorney will be able to negotiate a positive resolution for their clients. Do not plead guilty unless you are sure that is what you want to do after consultation with an attorney. It may be possible to withdraw your plea after you have plead guilty. However, it may be difficult to impossible. Therefore, make sure your attorney fully explains the direct (typically jail/fines/costs) and collateral consequences of a criminal conviction.

Why should you be concerned with the collateral consequences? A criminal conviction (or adjudication) can impact several areas of one’s life. It can affect your ability to find and maintain employment, can result in Child Protective Service involvement with your child, could result in the forfeiture of real or personal property that are the fruits of or instrumentalities of the crime, can affect your ability to expunge past convictions or adjudications, could be used against you in a family law preceding (divorce, child custody, etc.) or other criminal or civil proceeding, can affect your ability to possess a firearms, can affect your ability to get or keep getting government assistance, can affect your ability to get or maintain professional or business licenses, can affect your driver license, can affect your ability to immigrate and may result in deportation, may result in your having to register as a sex offender, can prevent you from enlisting in the military, can prevent you from sitting on a jury, can prevent you from voting, can affect your ability to get loans and financial aid, and more. This list is not exhaustive and simply represents some common consequences of a criminal conviction (or adjudication). You need to look inquire into whether any of these could affect you. For instance, if you get government benefits, you need to look into whether it will be cancelled.

You are technically required to pay fines, costs, fees, and other assessments, including attorney fees, at the time of sentencing or immediately upon plea taken under deferment or a delayed sentence. However, many Courts will allow you to set up a payment plan, either after sentencing or after the plea into deferment or a delayed sentence.

Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice. Prior to taking any action or refraining from any action you should consult with an attorney. This post references Michigan law only.

Looking for an attorney in Allegan or Calhoun County Michigan?

The following is not meant to cover all topics one deals with when charged with a criminal offense. It is not intended as legal advice. You should contact an attorney before taking or refraining from any action. This post references only Michigan Law.

Things to look for in an Allegan, Berrien, or Calhoun County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney.
Your attorney will need to explain the maximum jail and fine for the crime or crimes you are charged with. If you are charged with a felony, he’ll need to explain the sentencing guidelines. In Michigan, the Court will look to the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines in determining your felony sentence. Those guidelines take your prior criminal record and offense facts (variables) to establish an appropriate sentencing range. While the guidelines are now advisory, your attorney should still discuss them with you. You’ll need to know if there is a mandatory sentence and specific collateral consequences.
You attorney should go over any potential defenses, what evidence will be used against you, and what evidence you may have to defend yourself. The attorney should explain your rights including the right to subpoena witnesses and testify on your own behalf.
In most Courts, if you plead guilty to a felony, immediately after the plea go to the probation department and schedule a presentence investigation interview. You will need to comply with all bond conditions, avoid any misconduct. I often tell clients to be a model citizen and not even get a speeding ticket. You’ll have to show up to the Presentence Investigation interview that you schedule. If you do not, the prosecutor (or judge if there is a Cobb’s agreement) may take the plea offer back, even after you have pled guilty. If that happens you may be forced to proceed to sentencing without the benefit of the sentencing agreement. That means if you pled to a 20 month minimum sentence and you engage in misconduct, the Court can make your minimum sentence more than 20 months.
If the Judge or Prosecutor takes back their plea or sentencing agreement after you plea, you will be back at square one and facing the original charges with the potential original punishment. Additionally, the prosecution may also bring other charges that they neglected to bring originally, could supplement you as a habitual offender (if you have prior felony convictions) which increases the potential range that your minimum sentence will fall into, or may take other adverse action.
Similarly, if you plea to a misdemeanor and are not sentenced the day of the plea, you may need to go to the probation department to set up an interview.
If you had a sentencing agreement and the Court forces you to proceed to sentencing, you will not get the benefit of the agreement.

Whether you need a Battle Creek, St. Joseph, or Allegan Criminal Defense Attorney, you need Heckman Law.

Minor in Possession (MIP) and Possession of Marijuana Attorney

MCL 436.1703 states “[a] minor shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor, or have any bodily alcohol content, except as provided in this section.”
MCL 333.7403 states in part “[a] person shall not knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance, a controlled substance analogue, or a prescription form unless the controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, or prescription form was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of the practitioner’s professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this article.”
An experienced St. Joseph, Berrien County, Michigan, Criminal Defense Attorney may be able to avoid the direct and collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. They may be able to fight the charge or arrange for a program that keeps the conviction off your record.
There are several programs available to avoid a conviction: 7411, MIP Diversion, HYTA, amongst others. You need to speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney in Berrien County, Michigan, or another county, to determine whether you should enter the program.
Many people feel that misdemeanors are not a big deal. However, there are several collateral consequences to criminal convictions that can even occur for misdemeanors. A common collateral consequence is a driver license sanction. However, one has to be aware of the other consequences in order to properly assess one’s case. For instance, marijuana convictions can impact one’s ability to work in the health care field and hold a CCW permit.
This firm will be your Allegan County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney. While based in Van Buren County, Michigan, this firm has practiced extensively in southwest Michigan, including Allegan County, Michigan. This post should not be construed as legal advice. You should contact an attorney upon reading this post.

Kalamazoo Attorneys, Battle Creek Attorneys, and East Lansing Attorneys that practice Criminal Defense should be aware of changes to the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, MCL 762.11, formerly allowed an individual convicted of a crime they committed before there 21st Birthday to avoid a conviction by pleading into a diversionary probation. If the H.Y.T.A. probationer successfully completes probation, they’ll end up conviction free. The caveat to that was the conviction was available to certain government entities for limited purposes such as determining whether an individual had previously been sentenced under the statute and for employment purposes for law enforcement offices.
On August 18, the amendment to the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act will go into effect. The amendments will now allow an individual that committed the crime before their twenty-fourth birthday to be sentenced under this diversionary probation. There are some other modifications and you should familiarize yourself with the amendments. Criminal Defense Attorneys in Ingham and Calhoun Counties can help you to understand those modifications.
For individuals twenty-one to twenty-four years of age, the prosecuting attorney will have to consent to placing the individual under the diversionary probation. Also, the list of offenses that are not allowed to be placed on Holmes Trainee Status as well as the offenses that can result in a revocation of that status have been modified.
Holmes Youthful Trainee Act or H.Y.T.A. is a common offer from prosecutors for first time offenders. While they do not have to consent, an agreement for Holmes Youthful Trainee Status from the prosecutor will often get the Judge to go along with it.
You’ll want to consult with an attorney regarding H.Y.T.A. eligibility and whether it’s a good idea. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, including its impact on occupational licenses, driver licenses, student loan eligibility, etc., are great. You’ll have to weigh those consequences and the direct consequences to determine whether a H.Y.T.A. plea would be a good option for you.
This posts references Michigan Law only. It is not intended as legal advice. Acting based on the limited information contained herein is dangerous.