Due to recent legislation, Michigan now leads the nation in expungement and criminal justice reform. As of April 11th, the Clean Slate law (which was signed by Gov. Whitmer last October) has officially gone into effect, expanding expungement eligibility for hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents.

So, what is expungement? Expungement simply means to remove or erase completely. In law, according to the American Bar Association, “Expungement is the process by which a record or criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record.” Once a criminal conviction has been expunged from a defendant’s record, the court must treat the conviction as if it never happened. Laws determining which offenses qualify for expungement vary state by state.

For Michigan, the Clean Slate law works to expand the number and types of convictions that qualify for expungement. While Michigan legislators are still working to implement automatic expungement for certain misdemeanors and felonies after a specific period of time, newly eligible citizens must undergo an application process.

Highlights of the changes to the expungement process outlined in the Clean Slate legislation include:

  • Number of eligible offenses
    Up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanors may be expunged from a criminal record.
  • Waiting period
    Once no longer monitored by the justice system, the period of time a person must wait to apply for expungement has been adjusted to 3 to 7 years, depending on the conviction.
  • Traffic offenses
    Expungement eligibility has been expanded to include most traffic offenses.
  • Marijuana misdemeanors
    Allowing a person to apply for expungement of misdemeanor marijuana use and possession that would have been considered legal after legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan.
  • Multiple offenses
    Multiple offenses committed within a 24-hour period will be treated as one conviction for purposes of expungement.

With an expunged record, citizens can gain access to better jobs, housing, and financial aid.

If you or someone you know is in need of more information about expungement, eligibility, or the application process, Kendal Law Group PC can help.