What Is Expungement, and Who Qualifies in Michigan?

In the United States, criminal records can have a negative impact on one’s job prospects, social life, and even housing options. This can create a problematic situation for those convicted of even minor crimes, leading to more punishment than was originally intended. As such, Michigan provides a few different methods by which one can have their criminal record expunged, also known as “sealing” the record.

Expungement is the process of expunging a criminal record or redacting it so that it is no longer visible to employers and the general public. Michigan allows the expungement of criminal records for certain offenses, including non-violent felonies, misdemeanors, and municipal ordinance violations. The process of expungement was also expanded in 2020 by Michigan’s “Clean Slate” laws, which seek to repair the damage to families and communities by offering a second chance to criminal offenders. These laws removed the limit on misdemeanors which you could expunge and raised the limit on felonies to three in a lifetime – with some exceptions. Only up to two convictions for assaultive crimes can be expunged, and more than one felony conviction for the same crime cannot be expunged if the possible sentence for that crime is more than ten years in prison. These laws also make the expunction process for certain lesser crimes easier, such as marijuana convictions.

In Michigan, certain crimes are not available for expunction. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Several forms of child abuse.
  • Any felony offense that is punishable by life in prison.
  • A felony conviction for domestic violence while also having a previous conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence.
  • Any traffic offense that caused injury or death.

Michigan also imposes a waiting period for expunction, which can be three to seven years from the date you were convicted, or from the date you were released from prison or probation. If you are eligible for expungement, you can begin the petition process by filing a petition. Because the process of expungement can be complicated, it is recommended that you contact a qualified Michigan lawyer to assist you. For more information on expungement in Michigan, or for assistance in determining your own eligibility, contact Carla D. Aikens today.

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