Legal Update: New Automatic Expungements in Michigan
Michigan’s automatic expungement law, also known as the “Clean Slate” law, allows certain criminal records to be automatically expunged or cleared from your criminal record without the need for a court hearing or petition. Expungement means that the conviction is “set aside,” and in most cases, it is as if the conviction never happened. The record of the conviction is sealed from public view, although law enforcement agencies and certain other organizations may still have access to it.
Under the law, certain eligible criminal offenses, including some non-violent misdemeanors and some felonies, can be expunged if you has not been convicted of any other offense for a specified period of time.
Once the waiting period has passed, and you meets the other eligibility requirements, the Michigan State Police will automatically expunge your criminal conviction without the need for any further action from you.
The Clean Slate Act is intended to help individuals with criminal records obtain better employment, housing, and other opportunities by allowing them to move on from past mistakes. The Clean Slate Act is part of a broader criminal justice reform effort in Michigan aimed at reducing barriers to employment and reducing recidivism.
It went into effect on April 11, 2021, and is considered one of the most comprehensive automatic expungement laws in the country. Although the law went into effect in 2021, it had a two-year implementation period, meaning people were not impacted by the change of the law until now (officially as of April 11, 2023).
How does the automatic expungement process work?
Michigan State Police launched a program that will do a daily search of the state’s criminal history record database. In the daily search, it will identify all eligible convictions to be expunged. Michigan State Police will then pass information about any convictions that have been automatically expunged to the relevant courts.
What will automatically be expunged and when?
Michigan State Police will automatically erase:
- Up to two eligible felony convictions.
- Up to four eligible misdemeanor convictions that are punishable by 93 days or more in jail.
- Unlimited eligible misdemeanor convictions that are punishable by less than 93 days in jail.
There is a waiting period for the criminal convictions to be expunged off your record. For felony convictions, the waiting period is ten years. For misdemeanor convictions, the waiting period is seven years.
Are my criminal convictions eligible for automatic expungement?
Convictions for committing or attempting to commit certain crimes are not eligible for automatic expungement under the law:
- Assaultive crimes
- Crimes of dishonesty
- Crimes relating to human trafficking
- Crimes punishable by 10 or more years in prison
- Crimes involving a minor or vulnerable adult
- Crimes involving injury or death
- Serious misdemeanors, such as:
- Domestic violence
- Indecent exposure
- Fourth-degree child abuse
- Breaking and entering
- Traffic offenses such as:
- Driving under the influence (I.e. OWI, DUI, etc.)
- Commercial motor vehicle violations
- Crimes involving vehicle crashes causing injury or death
It is also important to note that in even if you conviction does not fall within the above list, you may not have any criminal charges pending with the state police in order to qualify for the automatic expungement. There are other factors that may stop your eligible criminal conviction to be expunged, such as owing restitution for the underlying case.
What if my criminal convictions are not eligible for automatic expungement?
If your criminal convictions are not eligible for automatic expungement, you may still be eligible for expungement through the traditional petition process (link: https://rnlegalgroup.com/expungement-of-criminal-record-oakland-mi-defense-attorney/).
How do I know if my criminal convictions have been automatically expunged?
Because the process is an automatic one that does not require any involvement on your part, it is possible that you may have criminal convictions expunged without your knowledge. If you believe your convictions are eligible for automatic expungement and would like to check, you may request a copy of your public criminal history here for $10.