How to Determine if you are Eligible for Expungement per Michigan Law

Michigan Governor Signs Bill Updating and Expanding Expungement Law


An expungement is the legal process to have a conviction removed from your criminal record. Not all crimes are eligible for expungement, but many are. Historically, you would only be able to seek expungement for a single conviction after a specific amount of time has passed (typically five years). In recent years, expungement law has expanded in Michigan allowing people to seek expungement of more than one criminal conviction. Even while access to expungements slowly increased, a 2019 University of Michigan study showed that less than 7% of people who are eligible for an expungement actually get one within five years of being eligible. Since so much time has passed, people usually have moved on and adapted to whatever difficulties a conviction has resulted in. Those who don’t get expungements when they are eligible are often hurting their employment and earning opportunities, and generally limiting where they can live because of the inability to pass a criminal background check. This has led to a bipartisan effort in Michigan to introduce automatic expungements and expand the number of crimes that can be removed from an individual’s criminal record.


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed new expungement legislation into law which introduced automatic expungements for many crimes. Most misdemeanor convictions will now be automatically expunged once seven years has passed since the end of sentencing. This clock would start at the end of a jail term or the end of probation. The new expungement laws also allow for a nation-first automatic expungement for certain low-level felony convictions once 10 years have passed since the end of any sentence. Individuals are allowed to expunge up to four misdemeanor convictions and up to two felonies automatically. A number of criminal convictions remain ineligible for automatic expungement and still require the proper paperwork to be filed and argued in front of a judge in order to clear your record; the crimes that are not eligible for automatic expungement include:

  • Assaultive crimes,
  • High-level misdemeanors,
  • Crimes of theft of dishonesty,
  • Felony convictions that carry a maximum sentence longer than 10 years,
  • Crimes that involve a minor or vulnerable adult,
  • Crimes that result in an injury, serious impairment, or death,
  • Crimes that involve human trafficking.

If you have a conviction for a crime that does not qualify for automatic expungement, then make sure you speak to an experienced criminal expungements attorney who can help you determine your eligibility and file the right paperwork to help you clear your criminal record.

Note: While many traffic offenses are expungable under the new laws, drunk driving convictions and traffic convictions that caused an injury or death remain ineligible for expungement under Michigan law.


If you don’t qualify for an automatic expungement, then you still may qualify for an expungement through the regular expungement process. The waiting periods for the expungement of different criminal convictions has also changed under the new laws. The law used to require a waiting period of five years after the end of your sentence before seeking expungement. The new law allows for waiting as little as three years at the end of a sentence before allowing someone to seek expungement on certain offenses. To best understand what expungement options are available to you, it is important to have pulled a copy of your criminal record to verify what conviction(s) you have, and when they were entered on your record. You will also need to know when your sentence was fully completed and when you were discharged by the court. To fully understand your eligibility for the expungement of a single conviction or multiple convictions, call us at Oakes Law Group today.


If you have one or more convictions on your criminal record that you are looking to expunge, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Oakes Law Group, we are proud to offer FREE consultations to all prospective clients. If you are in the process of choosing your attorney or are looking for an honest assessment of your legal situation, then our attorneys are available to help you now. Feel free to contact us anytime at 1-888-886-5711 or email. Our advice is free, and our conversations will always be protected by attorney-client privilege. Make your first choice towards a clean record with a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Oakes Law Group today.

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