How should I answer questions on my job application regarding my criminal history?
Guilty pleas are an admission of blameworthiness by a person accused of a crime. Sometimes guilty pleas are made as part of a plea bargain in which the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges or the punishment in exchange for the guilty plea. A guilty plea saves the time and expense of a lengthy trial. Before accepting a plea of guilty the court address the defendant and inform him and make certain he understands the nature of the charge; the range of punishment for the offense; the right to be represented by an attorney, including the fact that defense counsel will be appointed if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer; the right to a jury trial, including the right to cross-examine witnesses and the right not to be compelled to incriminate oneself; he fact that all of these rights are given up (except having a lawyer present) if a plea of guilty is made. The court must also determine that the plea is not the result of force, threats or promises, other than a plea bargain agreement, and is, on the whole, a knowing, voluntary and intelligent act of the defendant. The lack of a voluntary and knowing plea may be the basis for a later plea withdrawal. Finally, the court must determine that there is a factual basis for the defendant's admission of guilt. The entire guilty plea proceeding must be conducted in open court and recorded by a court reporter.
Although the charge or punishment may be reduced in exchange for a guilty plea, a person will be considered guilty of the crime to which he or she pleads guilty, and must generally disclose that crime when asked for information relating to criminal offenses or convictions on an employment application.
You may also be able to seek expungement of your criminal record.
The following are Michigan statutes:
780.621 Application for order setting aside conviction; setting aside of
certain convictions prohibited; time and contents of application;
submitting application and fingerprints to department of state police;
report; application fee; contest of application by attorney general or
prosecuting attorney; notice to victim; affidavits and proofs; court
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who is
convicted of not more than 1 offense may file an application with
the convicting court for the entry of an order setting aside the
(2) A person shall not apply to have set aside, and a judge shall not
set aside, a conviction for a felony for which the maximum punishment is
life imprisonment or an attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum
punishment is life imprisonment, a conviction for a violation or attempted
violation of section 520c, 520d, or 520g of the Michigan penal code,
1931 PA 328, M.C.L. 750.520c, 750.520d, and 750.520g, or a conviction for a
(3) An application shall not be filed until at least 5 years following
imposition of the sentence for the conviction that the applicant seeks to
set aside or 5 years following completion of any term of imprisonment for
that conviction, whichever occurs later.
(4) The application is invalid unless it contains the following
information and is signed under oath by the person whose conviction is to
be set aside:
(a) The full name and current address of the applicant.
(b) A certified record of the conviction that is to be set aside.
(c) A statement that the applicant has not been convicted of an
offense other than the one sought to be set aside as a result of
(d) A statement as to whether the applicant has previously filed
an application to set aside this or any other conviction and, if
so, the disposition of the application.
(e) A statement as to whether the applicant has any other criminal
charge pending against him or her in any court in the United States or in
any other country.
(f) A consent to the use of the nonpublic record created under
section 3 to the extent authorized by section 3.
(5) The applicant shall submit a copy of the application and 2 complete
sets of fingerprints to the department of state police. The department of
state police shall compare those fingerprints with the records of the
department, including the nonpublic record created under section 3, and
shall forward a complete set of fingerprints to the federal bureau of
investigation for a comparison with the records available to that
agency. The department of state police shall report to the court in which
the application is filed the information contained in the department's
records with respect to any pending charges against the applicant, any
record of conviction of the applicant, and the setting aside of any
conviction of the applicant and shall report to the court any similar
information obtained from the federal bureau of investigation. The court
shall not act upon the application until the department of state police
reports the information required by this subsection to the court.
(6) The copy of the application submitted to the department of state
police under subsection (5) shall be accompanied by a fee of $50.00
payable to the state of Michigan which shall be used by the department of
state police to defray the expenses incurred in processing the
(7) A copy of the application shall be served upon the attorney general
and upon the office of the prosecuting attorney who prosecuted the
crime, and an opportunity shall be given to the attorney general and to
the prosecuting attorney to contest the application. If the conviction
was for an assaultive crime or a serious misdemeanor, the prosecuting
attorney shall notify the victim of the assaultive crime or serious
misdemeanor of the application pursuant to section 22a or 77a of the
crime victim's rights act, 1985 PA 87, M.C.L. 780.772a and 780.827a. The
notice shall be by first-class mail to the victim's last known address.
The victim has the right to appear at any proceeding under this act
concerning that conviction and to make a written or oral statement.
(8) Upon the hearing of the application the court may require the
filing of affidavits and the taking of proofs as it considers proper.
(9) If the court determines that the circumstances and behavior of the
applicant from the date of the applicant's conviction to the filing of the
application warrant setting aside the conviction and that setting aside
the conviction is consistent with the public welfare, the court may enter
an order setting aside the conviction. The setting aside of a conviction
under this act is a privilege and conditional and is not a right.
(10) As used in this section:
(a) "Assaultive crime" means that term as defined in section 9a of
chapter X of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, M.C.L. 770.9a.
(b) "Serious misdemeanor" means that term as defined in section 61
of the crime victim's rights act, 1985 PA 87, M.C.L. 780.811.
(c) "Victim" means that term as defined in section 2 of the crime
victim's rights act, 1985 PA 87, M.C.L. 780.752.
Sec. 1a. As used in this act:
(a) "Conviction" means a judgment entered by a court upon a plea
of guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or nolo contendere, or upon a
jury verdict or court finding that a defendant is guilty or guilty
but mentally ill.
(b) "Traffic offense" means a violation of the Michigan vehicle code,
Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being sections 257.1 to 257.923
of the Michigan Compiled Laws, or a local ordinance substantially
corresponding to that act, which violation involves the operation of a
vehicle and at the time of the violation is a felony or misdemeanor.
780.622 Entry of order; effect.
(1) Upon the entry of an order pursuant to section 1, the
applicant, for purposes of the law, shall be considered not to have been
previously convicted, except as provided in this section and section 3.
(2) The applicant is not entitled to the remission of any fine,
costs, or other money paid as a consequence of a conviction that
is set aside.
(3) If the conviction set aside pursuant to this act is for a listed
offense as defined in section 2 of the sex offenders registration act,
the applicant is considered to have been convicted of that offense for
purposes of the sex offenders registration act.
(4) This act does not affect the right of the applicant to rely upon
the conviction to bar subsequent proceedings for the same offense.
(5) This act does not affect the right of a victim of a crime to
prosecute or defend a civil action for damages.
(6) This act does not create a right to commence an action for damages
for incarceration under the sentence that the applicant served before the
conviction is set aside pursuant to this act.
780.623 Sending copy of order to arresting agency and department of state
police; retention and availability of nonpublic record of order and other
records; providing copy of nonpublic record to person whose conviction
set aside; fee; nonpublic record exempt from disclosure; prohibited
conduct; misdemeanor; penalty.
(1) Upon the entry of an order pursuant to section 1, the
court shall send a copy of the order to the arresting agency and
the department of state police.
(2) The department of state police shall retain a nonpublic record of
the order setting aside a conviction and of the record of the arrest,
fingerprints, conviction, and sentence of the applicant in the case to
which the order applies. Except as provided in subsection (3), this
nonpublic record shall be made available only to a court of competent
jurisdiction, an agency of the judicial branch of state government, a law
enforcement agency, a prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, or the
governor upon request and only for the following purposes:
(a) Consideration in a licensing function conducted by an agency
of the judicial branch of state government.
(b) To show that a person who has filed an application to set aside a
conviction has previously had a conviction set aside pursuant to this
(c) The court's consideration in determining the sentence to be imposed
upon conviction for a subsequent offense that is punishable as a felony or
by imprisonment for more than 1 year.
(d) Consideration by the governor if a person whose conviction has
been set aside applies for a pardon for another offense.
(e) Consideration by a law enforcement agency if a person whose
conviction has been set aside applies for employment with the law
(f) Consideration by a court, law enforcement agency, prosecuting
attorney, or the attorney general in determining whether an individual
required to be registered under the sex offenders registration act has
violated that act, or for use in a prosecution for violating that act.
(3) A copy of the nonpublic record created under subsection (2) shall
be provided to the person whose conviction is set aside under this act
upon payment of a fee determined and charged by the department of state
police in the same manner as the fee prescribed in section 4 of the
freedom of information act, Act No. 442 of the Public Acts of 1976, being
section 15.234 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(4) The nonpublic record maintained under subsection (2) is exempt
from disclosure under the freedom of information act, Act No. 442
of the Public Acts of 1976, being sections 15.231 to 15.246 of the
Michigan Compiled Laws.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person, other than the
applicant, who knows or should have known that a conviction was set aside
under this section and who divulges, uses, or publishes information
concerning a conviction set aside under this section is guilty of a
misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a
fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
780.624 Setting aside of convictions; limitation.
Sec. 4. A person may have only 1 conviction set aside under this