Michigan Clean Slate Law
January 4th, 2022
Michigan’s clean slate law expands eligibility for expungement of your criminal record and creates a new process that will automatically seal certain records for non-violent offenders. The Michigan clean slate law is a combination of several different bills that have been passed and signed into law. Taken together, this package of laws significantly expands opportunities to have your criminal record expunged, or “set aside,” and makes it easier to seek employment, housing, education, and more after a criminal conviction.
The new laws are the most expansive clean slate laws in the country and allow people to set aside up to two felony convictions and four misdemeanor convictions. In addition, the law has expanded the number and type of crimes that are eligible for expungement.
Benefits of Expungement
Expungement is the legal process that allows you to shield a criminal conviction from public view during a criminal background check. Once your criminal record has been expunged, you can answer—in all but a few limited circumstances—that you do not have a criminal record.
Criminal record expungement allows you to regain many of the rights that you may have forfeited if you were convicted of a crime. For example, you may be able to regain your right to possess a firearm, to serve on a jury, and to hold public office.
A criminal record expungement also makes it easier to get a job, rent an apartment, or apply for college or technical school.
Overview of Michigan’s Clean Slate Laws
Michigan’s new clean slate laws have expanded the number and type of offenses that are eligible for expungement, reduced the amount of time you need to wait to have your record expunged, and provided for the automatic expungement of certain criminal offenses after a specified period.
Expanding the Number and Type of Crimes Eligible for Expungement
The new laws increase the number of crimes a person can have committed while still being eligible for expungement. People with up to two felony convictions and four misdemeanor convictions can seek expungement of their criminal records.
Expunging OWI / DUI Offenses
In August of 2021, Governor Whitmer signed into law two laws that allow Michigan residents to expunge first-time offenses for OWI / DUI convictions. To be eligible, you must wait until five years after the end of your monitoring period. Once the five-year period is up, you can seek to have your OWI conviction expunged.
Revised Waiting Periods Before Applying for Expungement
An application to expunge felony convictions can be filed 7 years after the end of your sentence. An application to expunge a serious misdemeanor conviction can be filed 5 years after the end of your sentence. An application to expunge a misdemeanor conviction can be filed 3 years after the conclusion of the terms of your sentence.
Automatic Set Aside of Certain Criminal Convictions
Starting in April of 2023, eligible misdemeanors will be automatically set aside after seven years. Non-violent felonies will be automatically set aside after 10 years.
One Bad Night Legislation
Multiple convictions for non-violent offenses arising from the same transaction or that occurred within a single 24-hour period are treated as a single conviction for purposes of expungement.
Expunging Marijuana Crimes
People who were convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving marijuana offenses can apply for expungement if the activity would not have been a crime if it was committed after Michigan legalized the use of marijuana for recreational use.
What Types of Convictions Are Not Covered Under the Michigan Clean Slate Law?
Life sentences and convictions for criminal sexual conduct are not eligible for expungement under the Michigan clean slate law.
What If I Don’t Want to Wait for Automatic Expungement?
If you do not want to wait until your criminal record is automatically set aside, you may apply for expungement under the current law. You are eligible for expungement if it has been five years since the end of your sentence and you have no more than one felony and two misdemeanors on your record.
How Elmen Legal Can Help
While Michigan has significantly expanded eligibility for expungement, working with an experienced expungement attorney like Robert Elmen can help ensure that your expungement paperwork is filed properly and in the correct jurisdiction.
At Elmen Legal, I will begin by reviewing your criminal record to ensure that you are eligible to seek expungement. I will also prepare and file the appropriate applications for expungement with the proper courts. If there are any objections to expungement, I will represent you in court and explain to the prosecutor and the judge why expungement is appropriate in your case.
Once your criminal record has been expunged, it will only be available to law enforcement personnel. However, other sources that may have published information about your arrest and conviction, such as newspapers or internet articles, will still be available.
To learn more about expungement and to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how I can help, contact Elmen Legal today.