CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Michigan Expungement Laws

Representing Clients In Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee County, and all over the State of Michigan.

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Expungement in Michigan offers a fresh start by sealing past criminal convictions from public view. This significantly enhances an individual’s ability to secure employment, housing, and educational opportunities. With the enactment of new laws in recent years, particularly the comprehensive reform introduced through the Clean Slate Act, the process has become more accessible for many.

Benefits of Expungement

Expungement is the process of sealing past criminal convictions so that the public cannot see them. It’s like erasing a previous offense, making it easier to obtain employment, housing, education, and professional licenses. In Michigan, expungement can provide a crucial second chance for individuals burdened by past mistakes.

Key Changes in the Expungement Laws

Recent legislative changes have significantly expanded the scope of Michigan’s expungement laws. Key changes include:

  1. Increased Eligibility: Individuals can now expunge up to three felonies and an unlimited number of misdemeanors from their record.
  2. Reduced Waiting Periods: Certain convictions are now eligible for expungement after shorter waiting periods.
  3. Automatic Expungements: Some misdemeanor and low-level felony convictions are eligible for automatic expungement without the need for an application.
  4. Inclusion of Traffic Offenses: Some traffic offenses can now be expunged.
  5. Marijuana Misdemeanors: No waiting period is required to expunge previous marijuana misdemeanors.

How Expungement Works in Michigan

Petition-Based Expungement

For convictions that do not qualify for automatic expungement, individuals can still petition the court. The process involves submitting an application, paying a fee, and attending a court hearing. Crimes such as first-time drunk driving offenses and certain assaultive crimes require this traditional expungement method.

Eligibility Criteria for Expungement

To qualify for expungement under Michigan’s Clean Slate Law, the following criteria generally apply:

  • Misdemeanors: Unlimited number of misdemeanor offenses can be expunged.
  • Felonies: Up to three felony convictions can be expunged, provided no other felonies exist on the record.
  • Excluded Offenses: Crimes punishable by life imprisonment, certain child abuse offenses, possession of child pornography, and specific sex offenses are not eligible for expungement.

Why you should Expunge your Record:

The Impact of Expungement

Expungement can lead to immediate and long-term benefits. Studies indicate that individuals who have their records expunged see significant improvements in employment prospects and earnings. For example, research from the University of Michigan shows a 23% increase in income within the first year after expungement.

Studies have shown that individuals with expunged records experience higher employment rates and better job stability. This is partly because expungement removes the barriers that often prevent individuals from being considered for jobs, particularly those that require background checks. 

Higher employment rates among formerly convicted individuals lead to increased consumer spending, which can stimulate local economies. Moreover, higher employment rates reduce the burden on public assistance programs, as more individuals are able to support themselves and their families financially. Additionally, expungement can lead to better access to housing and educational opportunities, further contributing to an individual’s economic mobility and overall quality of life. 

By enabling more people to participate fully in the workforce and pursue higher education, expungement helps to create a more skilled and competitive labor force. This, in turn, can attract businesses and investors to communities, fostering economic growth and development. Thus, the benefits of expungement extend far beyond individual rehabilitation, playing a crucial role in the economic health and prosperity of society as a whole.

Importance of Legal Representation

Navigating the expungement process can be complex, and having a knowledgeable defense attorney is crucial. Experienced lawyers understand the intricacies of the law and can provide invaluable assistance in filing petitions, presenting cases, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements. They can also help identify the best strategy to maximize the chances of a successful expungement.

Recent Successes and Continuing Challenges

While the Clean Slate Act has made significant strides in improving the expungement process, challenges remain, particularly in processing times and the automatic expungement system’s full implementation. Advocacy groups continue to push for improvements to make the system more efficient and accessible to all eligible individuals.

Contact Our Expungement Attorney

Expungement in Michigan offers a valuable opportunity for individuals to clear their criminal records and improve their future prospects. The recent changes in the law, particularly the Clean Slate Act, have made the process more accessible and comprehensive. However, the journey to expungement can still be complex, making the support of an experienced attorney crucial to navigating the process successfully and securing a second chance at a better life.