A Quirk in the New Expungement Law

There is a funny quirk in the new expungement law that took effect on January 14, 2015
Until about 5 years ago, if you had more than one conviction, either felony or misdemeanor, you could not set aside or expunge your conviction. About 4 years ago the law was changed to allow individuals to who also had two minor misdemeanors between the ages of 17 and 21 in addition to a felony, to expunge that felony. The January 14, 2015 change removed the age requirement and removed the word “minor”. So now, if you have a felony and up to two misdemeanors on your record you could expunge the felony. The new change also allows a person with two misdemeanors the ability to set aside both misdemeanors at the same time.

Recently I had a call from someone who had two misdemeanors and then committed a felony. The prosecutor reduced that charge to a misdemeanor, which at the time seemed like a good idea and gave the defendant a break so he would not have a felony on his record. Because of that deal, that individual now has three misdemeanors on his record that unfortunately under the new law, makes him unable to set aside any of these convictions.

In my mind, having a felony plus two misdemeanors or three convictions, is probably more serious than having three misdemeanors, but the law, as it is written, does not think that way. Bottom line, I think this is an example of the legislature not really thinking this out.