Michigan’s Clean Slate Legislation: What You Need to Know

Michigan State Capitol building depicting Michigan's Clean Slate Legislation

Do you have a felony on your record from earlier in your life? Have you ever wished you could have it removed and have a clean slate?

Soon, in Michigan, you might get that chance. Last week, Michigan’s Senate passed expungement legislation that would simplify the process and expand the options for people who have criminal records but haven’t committed any crimes for several years.

The package includes bills that passed Michigan’s House last year. The Senate approved the bipartisan legislation. Now, it is headed for Governor Whitmer’s desk. 

Michigan’s Current Expungement Laws

Right now, Michigan residents who have one felony conviction or up to two misdemeanors for only certain crimes may seek to clear their criminal record. They must have a clean record for at least five years to be considered. Additionally, it doesn’t apply to very many types of crimes even though they are nonviolent.

Expungement can be time-consuming and costly. Then, only a small percentage of people who seek them end up receiving an expungement. 

Automated Expungement Process – Clean Slate

Michigan’s clean slate House bills would change the way expungement happens in Michigan. House Bills 4980, 4981 through 4985, and 5120 each deal with different aspects of the process. 

House Bill 4980 – If this bill gets passed into law, your expungement process could be automated. That means, if you have a conviction on your record and the required time has passed without any crimes, your low-level crime would be dropped from public record automatically. Moreover, there is no need to file an application or attend a hearing. 

Here’s how it would work:

  • The process would begin seven years after your eligible misdemeanor conviction or ten years after an eligible felony conviction if you are not convicted of any further crimes.
  • In any person’s lifetime, he or she could be eligible for two felony expungements total, and four misdemeanor expungements total.
  • You would not be eligible if your conviction is for a violent crime, a serious misdemeanor, crimes of dishonesty, or crimes involving minors or vulnerable adults. 

Utah, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey have passed similar laws.

Marijuana and Traffic Convictions

House Bills 4981, 4982, 4983, 4984, 4985, and 5120 deal with various aspects of expungement:

  • Low-level marijuana convictions open to expungement.
  • Many traffic offenses expunged.
  • Allow consolidation of multiple convictions if they occurred within the same 24 period.
  • Increase the number of expungements someone could receive.
  • Companion legislation would give more options to those convicted as minors.

Recap & Takeaway

One encouraging thing is that these new bills are supported by both Democratic and Republican legislators. If they get passed into law, they could dramatically increase your ability to move on with your life and get a good job after you have been convicted of a crime – even a felony.

Things you did when you were young would no longer hamper your chances as an adult. For example, getting in a fight or driving way too fast.

Expungement Attorney in Michigan

Finally, if you have any questions about having your record expunged, call my office today. We’re always here to help. 

Let’s get started!

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