Category Archives: Keeping a Clean Record

Keeping A Clean Record: Juvenile Consent Calendar

The juvenile justice system allows those under sixteen years of age an opportunity to keep their childhood indiscretions off of their public records. One way the juvenile court does this is by putting a case on the “consent calendar.”

The consent calendar allows a judge to treat a juvenile case in an informal way. The court, the juvenile and the juvenile’s parents must all agree that the consent calendar is the best route for the case. Consent calendar is appropriate when “protective and supportive action by the court will serve the best interests of the juvenile and the public.”

By electing to take part in the informal consent calendar, the juvenile is waiving several important rights. Rights such as:

  • Formal notice of the charges;
  • Right to a court appointed attorney;
  • Right to a trial, before a judge or jury;
  • The presumption of innocence;
    • If the juvenile decides to take part in the consent calendar, they must admit responsibility for what they are being charged with. They are not allowed to maintain their innocence.
  • The presentation of proof beyond a reasonable doubt;
    • In an adult criminal case, a defendant (person accused) is presumed innocent until the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, and the defendant was the one that committed it. To proceed under the consent calendar, the prosecutor does not need to prove anything, and the juvenile must admit responsibility for whatever they are charged with.
  • The right to testify on his or her own behalf;
  • The privilege against self-incrimination;
  • The right to present witnesses;
  • The right to confront and cross-examine accusers;
  • The right to use the subpoena power of the court to compel witnesses to attend court.

In order to get the protection of the consent calendar, the juvenile must admit responsibility for the crimes they are charged with. The judge does not enter adjudication. The court then comes up with a case plan for each juvenile. The case plan normally involves providing services to the juvenile to help rehabilitate them, and teach them not to commit more crimes in the future. Once the case plan is successfully completed the court must close the case and can destroy all records of the proceeding.

If the juvenile does not follow the case plan, or for any other reason the court finds that the consent calendar is no longer in the best interests of the juvenile or society, the case will be transferred back to the formal calendar. Once the case is transferred to the formal calendar, the juvenile regains all of the rights they waived by joining the consent calendar.

The court may transfer the case from the formal calendar to the consent calendar, or visa versa, at any time before disposition.

The consent calendar is a good option for a juvenile when:

  • It is their first offense;
  • The incident was an isolated event and it is unlikely the juvenile will get in trouble again;
  • The juvenile admits they did what they are being charged with and shows a willingness to stay out of trouble in the future;
  • The juvenile needs services and monitoring by the court.

*Not all cases can be removed from the formal docket. Felonies and serious misdemeanors must be petitioned to be removed from the formal docket. The court must give notice to the prosecutor and the victim of the crime and allow them a chance to address the court about the removal before it can be done.

For more information on juvenile cases, contact Samantha Moffett at 248-624-5500 or

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Filed under Jury Duty, Juvenile Crime, Keeping a Clean Record

Keeping A Clean Record: Expungements

An expungement is a hearing that allows a judge to “clean” the record of someone who has only be convicted of one crime in their life. Michigan puts some pretty harsh limits on those who can apply for an expungement.

In order to petition the court for an expungement in Michigan, you have to meet all of these criteria:

  • Only have one adult conviction or juvenile adjudication. One conviction means one conviction. If you were convicted of two crimes, but they both stemmed from the same event, you are not eligible for an expungement.
  • If the conviction is a felony, it cannot be punishable by up to life imprisonment. Crimes like first degree murder, second degree murder, armed robbery, and bank robbery cannot be expunged.
  • If the conviction is a felony, it cannot be any degree of criminal sexual conduct or assault with attempt to commit criminal sexual conduct.
    The conviction cannot be a traffic offense or any other offense reportable to the Secretary of State. Crimes like Operating while Intoxicated , reckless driving, and speeding tickets cannot be expunged.
  • Five years have had to pass since your conviction, or your release from prison. Whichever date is later.
  • If you have a juvenile adjudication, you must be at least 24 years old.

If you meet all of these criteria, you must file a Motion to Set Aside Conviction in the court you were convicted in. There is also a laundry list of paperwork requirements that go along with it. The motion is usually scheduled for a hearing with the judge that sentenced you, or another judge if the original judge is unavailable.

At your hearing you are at the mercy of the court. Judges are not required to set aside convictions, and most will only do so with good cause. Having an attorney attend the hearing with you, or help prepare you for the hearing will increase your chances of being able to set aside your conviction. If your Motion is granted, be sure to pick up a copy of the Order that sets aside your conviction and get it to the State Police Central Records Division. Once they receive and process it, you will officially have a clean record again.

Expungements are time consuming and require strict compliance with the law and court rules. For expungement advice or representation contact Ambrose Law Group at 248-624-5500

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Keeping A Clean Record: Domestic Violence and 769.4a

As discussed in our HYTA and Michigan 7411 posts, the legal system does give some second chances, and it’s important you know what they are! Michigan has a law that allows first time domestic violence offenders the opportunity to still keep their record clean.

Domestic violence crimes are assaults or batteries committed against someone related to you, someone you live with, someone you have a child with, someone you are dating, or someone you have previously had a relationship with.

The Michigan law, MCL 769.4a, is usually just called 769, or pleading “under the statute.” The law allows a person who has no prior history of assaultive behavior a chance to keep their record clean. In order to get 769’s protection, you, the judge and the prosecutor (in consultation with the victim) all must agree to it.

Like HYTA and 7411 the second chance at a clean record is meant to be rehabilitative. If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the court will hold your guilt and put you on probation. If you successfully complete your probation the judgment of guilt will never be entered and the charge will be dismissed.

Probation under 769 is usually one year long, involves counseling, anger management and/or drug treatment, and having no contact or no assaultive contact with the victim. If you violate any of the terms of your probation the court will enter your judgment of guilt and sentence you for the crime of domestic violence. You can only get 769’s protection once, so be careful not to lose this “get out of jail free” card. Domestic violence is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, and/or up to $500 in fines.

Still have a question about 769 or domestic violence defense? Call Attorney Daniel Ambrose at 248-624-5500.


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Keeping a Clean Record- Michigan’s 7411 Law

We previously discussed how young people can keep their records clean, but what about everyone else?

Michigan has a law that allows first time drug offenders to keep their records clean as well. The law, Michigan Complied Laws 333.7411, is frequently just called “7411.” The law allows someone who is charged with use or possession of certain drugs (usually marijuana, but also includes cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs) to get a second chance at a clean record.

The penalties for possession or use of marijuana can include up to a year in jail, $2,000 in fines, a mandatory suspension of your drivers license for 30 days, and another 30 days of restricted driving. The state is serious about cracking down on people who use marijuana, even in small amounts. Use of marijuana for medical purposes is now legal in Michigan, for more information click over to our post on medical marijuana .

The protection of 7411 is only available to first time offenders. In order to get 7411 you must have no previous drug related charges on your record (and not just charges in Michigan, the law says that you cannot have drug charges in any other state either). Giving someone 7411 protection is entirely up to the judge. The prosecutor has no say in the matter.

Much like HYTA, 7411 is meant to be rehabilitative. The court would much rather see someone get treatment, and not get in trouble again, than put someone in jail, and have them get back out and do it again. In order to get the 7411 protection you have to plead guilty or be found guilty of the crime you are being charged with. Your admission of guilt is taken by the judge and held until you successfully complete the terms of probation the judge gives you.

Probation for a 7411 offenses is usually one year long, and includes rehabilitative treatment such as drug counseling, NA or AA, drug and alcohol testing (from once a month to several times per week) and not picking up any new charges. If you violate your probation by not attending counseling or testing positive for drugs the court can revoke the 7411 protection. This means that your plea of guilty will be entered; you will have a drug crime on your record, and then be sentenced for it.

If you successfully complete your probation, the charge will be dismissed and your guilty plea will be thrown out. A nonpublic record of the offense will be kept, and is only accessible by a court, a police agency or a prosecuting attorney. You can only get 7411’s protection once, so be careful not to lose this “get out of jail free” card.

For more information on Michigan’s 7411 Law, contactDan Ambrose at 248-624-5500 or visit our website

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Filed under Keeping a Clean Record, Marijuana

Keeping a Clean Record – HYTA

You’re in college. Or in high school. You did something stupid. You got caught. Now what?

Everyone wants to keep their criminal record clean. We’ve all heard about people applying for jobs and having something they did in the past surface and keep them from moving forward. The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, usually called HYTA, helps young people keep mistakes off their record, so they don’t have to worry about one lapse of judgement haunting them forever.

HYTA is available to someone who commits a crime after their 17th birthday, but before their 21st. Most crimes can be taken under HYTA, however “Capital Offenses” (like murder), some Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, major controlled substance (drug) charges and traffic offenses (drunk driving, driving while licenses suspended) are excluded.

Allowing a person to be a “trainee” is at the complete discretion of the judge. The prosecutor does not get to decide who qualifies, and even if they object to it, the judge can still allow it.

Now the bad news. In order to get HYTA’s protection, you have to plead guilty to the crime. How can you keep a clean record if you’re pleading guilty? The judge takes your guilty plea as an admission of your guilt, holds onto it, and sentences you. Usually, trainees are put on probation. If you complete probation with no problems, the judge throws away your guilty plea and never puts it on your record. The judge also has the discretion to put you in jail, but most judges don’t like doing that.

Probation can be as long as 3 years. Most of the time the terms of the probation include not picking up any more charges, drug or alcohol testing, community service and rehabilitative programs such as AA or NA.

If you pick up a new charge, or test positive for drugs, the judge will hold a probation violation hearing. You have the right to have an attorney represent you, and you should take advantage of that right. At the probation violation hearing the judge can decide to “revoke” your status as a trainee. If your HYTA protection is revoked, your guilty plea gets entered and the original charge will stay on your record.

Once you successfully complete your probation, the judge throws out your guilty plea and seals your records. No one will know that you were charged, convicted and plead guilty to a crime. Your record remains clean.

HYTA is usually a one time thing. Although there is no limitation to the number of times you can be granted HYTA, it is at the discretion of the judge. Most judges will not be willing to give you HYTA status more than one time.

So, if you’re between the ages of 17 and 21 and you find yourself facing criminal charges, be sure to ask your attorney about getting HYTA’s protection.

Still have a question about HYTA? Call Ambrose Law Group 248-624-5500


Filed under Drugs, Drunk Driving/OWI/DUI/OWVI/DWI, Keeping a Clean Record