Having a criminal record can have far-reaching effects on an individual’s life. Not only can it impact employment and housing, but it can also have an impact on child custody and other family legal matters.
An experienced Michigan expungement lawyer can assist in having certain criminal convictions on your records shielded from public view. Contact Michigan Defense Law at (248) 451-2200 today to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
What is the New Expungement Law in Michigan?
While our justice system is based on paying a debt to society, rehabilitating, and then moving on, many individuals are left with criminal records that force them to continue paying their debt throughout life. Those with criminal records may find themselves unable to get a job or rent an apartment. But there are proven social benefits to individuals being afforded second chances. According to a 2022 study conducted by the University of Michigan Law School, many who have criminal records expunged go on to experience better employment and wage opportunities.
What is Expungement?
Setting aside certain criminal records, often referred to as expungement, makes it possible for some with criminal records to get their records shielded from the public. Unfortunately, it was not available to many unless they had a very limited record. Many offenses were completely excluded from expungement eligibility entirely.
Even those who qualified for expungement faced complex rules, court appearances, fees, and months of waiting. Consequently, nearly 95 percent of those who qualified for expungement didn’t even bother to apply. The new legislation removes many of these barriers for those who are eligible to expunge their record.
Michigan’s New Clean Slate Laws
In Michigan, beginning in 2020, we began working to establish new “clean slate” laws that can help qualified individuals set aside certain criminal records. The clean slate package includes:
- An automatic process for expungement for eligible misdemeanors after seven years and non-assaultive felonies after 10 years under H.B.4980 – This will be implemented in April of 2023.
- Expansion and revision of the categories of misdemeanors and felonies eligible for expungement under H.B.4981-85 and H.B.5120
- Revision of the waiting period before an individual becomes eligible for an expungement
- Considering multiple offenses arising within 24 hours from a single transaction as a single conviction as long as they are non-assaultive, do not involve the possession or use of a deadly weapon, or are a crime that carries a 10-year prison penalty or more
- Expanding eligibility to particular traffic offenses
- Allowing an individual to petition for expungement for one or more marijuana offenses, providing the offense would not have been a crime after marijuana legalization in Michigan
Expungement will shield a criminal conviction from the public, but it will still allow law enforcement and courts access to the information.
Clean Slate for Juveniles
Furthermore, a Clean Slate for Kids package has been signed, providing a fresh start for juveniles exiting the juvenile justice system. This package has revised juvenile justice laws to seal juvenile offense court records from the public as well as create a process to automatically expunge juvenile records for individuals who don’t commit further offenses.
Understanding if You May Be Eligible
These new laws put Michigan at the forefront of important legislation giving people their lives back after a criminal conviction.
If you believe that you may qualify for an expungement under our new second chance laws, Paul J. Tafelski and the criminal defense team at Michigan Defense Law can help. Call us at (248) 451-2200 or contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and your options.