Senate Bill 681 — Applications to Set Aside an Adjudication

The first part of SB 681, effective July 2021, changes the way juveniles may apply to have their adjudications set aside. The second part, involving a dramatic change in juvenile law by making set-asides of juvenile adjudications automatic, takes effect in July 2023.

Since July 2021, under MCL 712A.18e, a juvenile may apply to have an adjudication set aside if he or she has three or fewer adjudications, not more than one of which may be a felony (if committed by an adult), and has had no felony convictions since the adjudication(s). All three of the adjudications may be set aside, but the juvenile must file an application for each adjudication. If the juvenile has more than three adjudications, he or she is not eligible to have the adjudications set aside.

The law limits the kinds of adjudications that may be set aside. It prohibits set-asides for assaultive crimes (defined by the statute), an offense involving the use or possession of a weapon, or an offense that would result in 10 years or more imprisonment if committed by an adult.

SB 681 changed the time that a juvenile must wait before seeking to set aside an adjudication. Beginning July 3, 2021, and until July 3, 2023, an application may be filed one year after the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile ceases. This would be, for example, the end of detention, probation, or when the juvenile turns 18. This is a change from prior law, which allowed an application one year after disposition of the adjudication, any term of detention, or when the juvenile turned 18.

  1. Senate Bill 681 — Applications to Set Aside an Adjudication
  2. Senate Bill 682 — Automatic Set Aside
  3. Senate Bill 682 — Sealing Juvenile Court Records

Senate Bill 681 — Automatic Set Aside

The remarkable change to juvenile law brought about by SB 681 is set forth in MCL 712A.18t, which takes effect Jul 3, 2023. Under this section, adjudications (with exceptions) are automatically set aside two years after the termination of court supervision or two years after the juvenile turns 18. There is no limit to the number of adjudications that may be set aside. The court does not evaluate the behavior or history of the juvenile; the set aside is automatic.

This part of the law provides juveniles with an opportunity to clear their delinquent pasts and start anew. Their juvenile records do not follow them to later job interviews, housing applications, or applications for professional licenses. This is a tremendous opportunity for juveniles who stay out of trouble as adults to erase their history.

Not all adjudications are set aside. SB 681 includes a long list of offenses that would disqualify a juvenile from receiving an automatic set aside. For example, if a juvenile was adjudicated for murder, certain assaultive offenses, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, bank robbery, kidnapping, hijacking, an offense that is punishable by life in prison if committed by an adult, or other serious offense, that adjudication would remain on the juvenile’s record.

Another major change to set-asides is the elimination of the attorney general’s and prosecutor’s right to oppose the set-aside. Previously, an application for a set aside had to be served on the attorney general and prosecutor, who then had 35 days to file an opposition. The automatic nature of set-asides makes opposition moot.

  1. Senate Bill 681 — Applications to Set Aside an Adjudication
  2. Senate Bill 682 — Automatic Set Aside
  3. Senate Bill 682 — Sealing Juvenile Court Records

Senate Bill 682 — Sealing Juvenile Court Records

SB 682 made all cases brought before a juvenile court closed to the general public. Previously such records were open to public view. While cases are closed to the general public now, persons with a “legitimate interest” may have access to the records. This includes:

  • The juvenile and his parents
  • The juvenile’s guardian or legal custodian
  • The juvenile’s guardian ad litem
  • The juvenile’s counsel
  • The Department of Health and Human Services or a licensed child caring institution or a child-placing agency under contract with the Department if related to an investigation of child abuse or child neglect
  • Law enforcement
  • A prosecutor
  • A member of a local child foster care review board
  • An Indian child’s tribe
  • A Michigan court

Combined, SB 681 and 682 give a clean slate to juveniles who have been involved in the juvenile court system. Their adjudications (with the exception of an adjudication for a serious crime referenced above) are set aside and the records sealed from the general public. Only persons with a “legitimate interest” can see the records. Schools and employers are not among those with a legitimate interest, giving the juvenile an opportunity to begin a new life without the weight of his or her juvenile conduct around his or her neck.

With our many years of experience the Spolin Law team is no stranger to the extreme hindrance a past conviction can be in an individual’s reintegration. We want all of our clients to break free from these chains and help them reach their greatest potential, which is why we are so excited for the opportunities these new bills may be able to bring. To learn more about these post-conviction options and similar services we provide, call our devoted Spolin Law team at (866) 963-7561 for a free consultation.