Michigan Governor Signs Historic Expungements Bill into Law

Expungements in Michigan

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed into law an expansion of the state expungement statute making more people eligible for expungement as well as making some expungements automatic. An expungement is a legal process where a court will remove one or more criminal convictions from your permanent record. You are not able to expunge every type of criminal conviction, so it is important to understand the new law as it applies to you. A 2019 University of Michigan study found that only 6.5% of people who are eligible for an expungement get their records cleared within five years. So, 93.5% of people who have a criminal record and are eligible for an expungement to remove the criminal conviction don’t get it done within the first five years they are eligible to do so. These convictions can hurt your ability to find good employment, can limit where you are able to live, and can otherwise be a black mark on you that limits your opportunities. These startling statistics symbolized the need for an expansive change in the expungement process leading to new Michigan expungement laws.

Major Changes in New Expungement Laws

The first and most notable change in the new Michigan expungement laws is the introduction of automatic expungements. Going forward, misdemeanor convictions will automatically be expunged seven years after the end of any sentencing. If you did not serve any jail time and were only sentenced to probation, then you will be eligible for an automatic expungement for a misdemeanor conviction at the end of your term of probation. Under the new law, Michigan will be the first in the country to have automatic expungements for low-level felonies. If you have a low-level felony conviction, then you are eligible for an automatic expungement after 10 years has passed since the end of your sentence. The new law allows for up to four misdemeanor convictions and up to two felony convictions to be expunged automatically. Automatic expungements do not apply across the board. Your conviction has to fit within certain guidelines to be eligible for an automatic expungement. Automatic expungements that are not available include:

• Serious misdemeanors,
• Crimes that allege assaultive behavior,
• Crimes of dishonesty,
• Felonies that have a maximum of 10 or more years in prison,
• Crimes that involve a minor,
• Crimes that involve a vulnerable adult,
• Crimes that result in injury or serious impairment
• Crimes that result in death
• Crimes that involve human trafficking
If your conviction involves one of the above-listed factors, then it is important to speak to an experienced expungements attorney to help guide you with the process to expunge one or more convictions from your criminal record.

Important changes in the new expungement law also include expanding eligibility to most traffic offenses. OWI convictions and traffic offenses that caused injury or death, however, remain ineligible for expungement in the state of Michigan. The process to remove marijuana convictions was also made easier under the new measures. Other major changes include the ability to apply for up to three felony offenses and an unlimited number of misdemeanors to be expunged from your criminal record. No more than two assaultive crimes can be expunged and no more than one conviction for the same offense can be expunged if the offense has more than a maximum of ten years in prison. The waiting period for expungements now has a range of 3-7 years, whereas before the waiting period was a standard five years from the end of sentence.

How Does This Affect Me?

If you have a criminal conviction that you would like to remove from your record, then this can affect you directly. While these changes to Michigan expungement law will be beneficial to some who are looking to clear their criminal records, these changes do not affect everyone equally. If you have a conviction for an offense that is not eligible for an automatic expungement, then you will need to go through the expungement process through the appropriate court. To find out if you are eligible for an expungement of one or more criminal convictions from your record, then call us at Grabel & Associates today.

Any Further Questions?

If you have criminal convictions that you would like to remove from your permanent record, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or for postconviction help. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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