Michigan Updated Expungement Laws to Take Effect

Michigan’s clean slate legislation

As indicated in a previous blog, the Michigan Clean Slate Legislation was signed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in October 2020. The Clean Slate Legislation is now set to take effect on April 11, 2021. This sweeping change in the area of expungements in Michigan is set to make a major change in both the ability to expunge certain criminal offenses and making expungements automatic for certain cases. The Clean Slate Legislation amended Michigan’s expungement laws under MCL 780.621, and now allows:

  • An individual to petition to set aside an unlimited number of eligible misdemeanor convictions. Previously, an individual could only petition to remove up to two eligible misdemeanor convictions through expungement. 
  • An individual to petition to set aside up to three eligible felony convictions. Previously, an individual could only petition to remove a maximum of one eligible felony conviction through expungement. 
  • An individual a maximum of two convictions for assaultive crimes be expunged during his or her lifetime.

It is important to know that under the Clean Slate Legislation, a provision known as the “one bad night” provision allows for multiple convictions to be considered as one conviction if they were all committed within the same 24-hour period. An individual cannot have more than one felony conviction for the same offense expunged under the Clean Slate Legislation if the conviction has a maximum punishment of more than 10 years in state prison. Drunk driving (DUI/OWI) convictions and other criminal traffic offenses remain ineligible for expungement as Governor Whitmer exercised a “pocket veto” on that provision, removing it from the version of the Clean Slate Legislation that she ultimately signed. 

HOW AN EXPUNGEMENT WORKS

An expungement is a legal process to set aside or remove a conviction from someone’s criminal record. The main benefit of an expungement is that your prior conviction(s) are no longer viewable on a public record. The prior conviction(s) will only be available as part of a nonpublic record that law enforcement and other governmental authorities can still see. Prior expunged convictions can still be used by prosecutors to charge a second or subsequent offense or to use in sentencing as a habitual offender. If you are successful in your expungement petition, then it is important to understand that you will not get back any fines or fees that you have already paid, and you will still have to pay any outstanding restitution if you still owe any money. The main functions of Michigan’s Clean Slate Legislation are to allow a wider range of criminal convictions to be expunged and to make the process easier, in some cases automatic. If you have questions about getting an expungement to remove a criminal conviction from your record, then it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME?

If you are one of the thousands of Michigan residents that will be eligible for an expungement under Michigan’s Clean Slate Legislation, then this can affect you directly. A University of Michigan study showed that less than 7% of people get an expungement within five years of being eligible. The provisions of the Clean Slate Legislation seek to increase this number substantially and to allow people to no longer face the collateral consequences of convictions. A criminal conviction can prevent you from getting certain jobs, living in certain places, and can cause long-lasting embarrassment. While most of the provisions of the Clean Slate Legislation are set to go into effect on April 11, 2021, the provisions allowing for automatic expungements will not take effect until later. It is estimated that it will take two years or more for the automatic expungements to start under the Clean Slate Legislation. If you have questions about potentially expunging one or more convictions from your criminal record, then call us at Oakes Law Group so we can help.

OAKES LAW GROU PROUDLY OFFERS A FREE CONSULTATION

If you are considering filing for an expungement, 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. We will help you determine whether or not an expungement is available to you under Michigan law. Feel free to contact us anytime at 1-888-886-5711 or by email. Our advice is free, and our discussions will always be protected by the attorney-client privilege. Make your first choice towards freedom with a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Oakes Law Group today.

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