What is an expungement?
Expungement is the process of sealing past criminal convictions so that the public cannot see them. It’s like erasing a previous offense and there are many reasons some might want to do this. Michigan has had expungement laws in place for a long time. Most offenses have been able to be expunged or set aside. However, in 2021 news laws came into effect which expanded the number of charges, number of expungements, and changed aspects of the overall process.
How has expungement changed?
- Michiganders can now expunge 3 felonies and an unlimited amount of misdemeanors
- Certain convictions can now be expunged with a reduced wait time
- Some traffic offenses are eligible
- No waiting period to expunge previous marijuana misdemeanors
- Some expungements can now be ‘automatic’
- Some charges/convictions can be combined into one expungement application
The new laws explained:
Expungement laws are said to benefit individuals and communities tremendously. Those who have been convicted in the past know all too well what a criminal record can do to their reputation and prospects. Discrimination from jobs, housing, education, and other programs is an ever-present factor in many people’s decision-making. Over 150,000 Detroit residents are eligible for expungement under the expanding laws. The number rises to over 1 million if you look at the entire state.
Expunging previous convictions has proven benefits. Studies show that people can see an increase in wages and job opportunities if employers can’t see previous charges. When criminal records are set aside a person might expect to see at least a 10% increase in their earnings.
Most records are not able to be set aside or expunged until a certain amount of time has passed. Furthermore, some applications can still be scrutinized by the courts. In early 2022 an expansion of the law was set in place to have first-time, non-repeat, DUI charges set aside. Still, judges can deny applications.
If you want to find out more about what we can do for you check out our expungements page. Give us a call at 248 3712 1527 or fill out our form here.