FAQ ABOUT MICHIGAN'S ‘CLEAN SLATE’ LAWS
April 21, 2021
As of April 11, 2021, Michigan’s “Clean Slate” laws are effective, making it easier for convicted individuals to expunge serious misdemeanors and non-violent felonies committed in the past from public records. The legislation outlines new rules for criminal record expungement and allows specific convictions to be automatically set aside after a certain time.
"On June 2, 2021, an expungement fair was held in Genesee County, MI that allowed for individuals who were eligible, to have the opportunity to meet with an attorney to get information as to how the new Clean Slate Legislation works. Over 1,000 people registered for the fair and I enjoyed meeting with people to help provide some insight as to how the new laws work.
Further, it is super important for people who are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity created by the legislature. But, keep in mind, an expungement is a privilege, not a right! Therefore, when filing an Application to Set Aside, a Judge will consider all that has taken place since you were originally convicted in making its’ ruling.
Having handled expungements prior to the new Clean Slate Laws going into effect, I can provide knowledgeable representation in helping you get a charge set aside that may have been a hinderance in your life. All in all, I recommend consulting and/or retaining an attorney to represent you for an expungement; especially for assaultive type convictions.
I plan on attending as many expungement fairs as I can to continue to spread the word about this opportunity that I believe people should try and take advantage of." - Attorney Cameron Bell
Click here to learn more about the fair and watch Attorney Bell's statement.
The following is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about Michigan’s new expungement laws.
How Does the Law Work?
Under House Bill 4980, individuals who were convicted of an eligible misdemeanor offense will have their conviction set aside automatically after seven (7) years have passed from serving their sentences. Those who were convicted of a non-assaultive felony will have their conviction automatically set aside after 10 years beginning in April 2023.
When Will My Conviction Be Automatically Set Aside?
While these new laws are now effective, state courts and police departments were given two years to create a system and coordinate plans to allow for automatic expungement for some crimes. In other words, the state will start automatically setting aside eligible offenses on April 2023, at the earliest.
In the meantime, individuals who were convicted of a serious misdemeanor or non-violent felony can apply to have their convicted expunged after five (5) years have passed since the sentence was completed. Those seeking to have more than one felony conviction set aside can seek expungement after seven (7) years.
When it comes to marijuana-related convictions, individuals who have been convicted of one or more misdemeanor marijuana offenses can now apply to have the conviction set aside. So long as the offense would not be considered unlawful if it were to occur after December 6, 2018 – when recreational cannabis was legalized in Michigan.
Who Is Not Eligible for Expungement?
Michigan residents who have pending charges against them, who have been convicted of another offense within the seven- to ten-year requirement period for expungement, or who have been convicted of more than one assaultive offense or attempt to commit an assaultive offense are not eligible to have their convictions set aside.
What Criminal Offenses Are Not Eligible?
Certain criminal convictions cannot be expunged under the new state laws.
The following convictions not eligible for automatic set-asides include:
Assault-related offense or attempted assault-related offense
A serious misdemeanor or an attempt to commit such an offense
A felony or an attempted felony that is punishable by life imprisonment
Any offense which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence
A felony domestic violence offense, if the individual has a prior misdemeanor conviction for such an offense
Any traffic offense resulting in injury or death
Any traffic offense in which the individual has a professional or specialty license while operating a commercial vehicle
Any offense involving dishonesty
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you are interested in getting your conviction set aside, you must fill out the necessary paperwork and make a court appearance. The process can be extensive and time-consuming, which is why it is wise to seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.