Michigan law allows an individual convicted of certain criminal offenses to clear their record if they meet specific requirements. When a record is expunged in Michigan, it generally means it is no longer accessible to public record searches, such as by employers and universities.
In Michigan, various criminal offenses cannot be expunged because they are too serious to be erased from someone’s record. Crimes that cannot be expunged include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Murder and other offenses punishable by life in prison
- Human-trafficking related offenses
- Child pornography
- Second-degree child abuse
- Second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct
- Traffic offenses that result in an injury or death
The Clean Slate Act
In 2020, Michigan passed several laws known as the Clean Slate Act. Under this Act, Michigan became one of the most expansive jurisdictions in the country by increasing eligibility and the number of crimes that be expunged from someone’s record. Under the new laws, individuals with Michigan criminal records can have up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanor convictions expunged.
What Is The Bad Night Provision?
The “One Bad Night” provision allows someone to combine separate offenses that are related into one single offense that can be expunged. For example, under this provision, if someone was charged with two felonies for one crime, they may be able to combine them for expungement. It would only count as one felony expungement, leaving two expungements available for the future if necessary.
Waiting Period For Expungement
There is a waiting period for all expungements before someone can apply for expungement. Generally, the waiting period will start to run on one of the following dates:
- When the defendant was convicted or sentenced
- When the defendant completed their probation
- When the defendant was discharged from parole
- When the individual seeking expungement was released from prison
However, the waiting period depends on the crime committed that the individual seeks to be expunged. The waiting periods are as follows:
- Multiple Felonies: Seven Years
- One Felony: Five Years
- Serious Misdemeanor: Five Years
- Non-Serious Misdemeanor: Three Years
Serious Misdemeanor Definition In Michigan
Under Michigan law, a serious misdemeanor means that one or more of the following occurred:
- Assault that inflicted a serious injury, including aggravated domestic battery or assault
- Breaking and entering
- Fourth-degree child abuse
- Contributing to the neglect or delinquency of a child
- Using the internet to participate in prohibited communication
- Aiming a firearm without malice and with no intent to kill
- Discharge of a firearm intentionally aimed at a person or firing a weapon resulting in the injury of another person
- Indecent exposure
- Injuring a worker within a work zone
- Leaving the scene of an accident where someone was injured
- Driving while intoxicated, resulting in damage to property or injury to another person
- Selling or giving alcohol to an individual that is under 21 years of age
It is estimated that there will be an automatic expungement process beginning sometime in April of 2023; certain records can be expunged without application. Under this automated system, up to two felony convictions will likely be automatically expunged ten years after the individual is released from custody, or up to four misdemeanors will be automatically expunged seven years after the individual was sentenced.
Read more in our blog: Are Misdemeanors Actually a Big Deal?
Currently, an individual may not be eligible for expungement if they have a current charge pending, if they have been convicted of another crime within the waiting period requirement for expungement, or if they have more than one conviction for assault or attempted assault. As a result, it is crucial to understand that the waiting period can be reset if another conviction occurs since the person was released from prison for the crime they are attempting to get expunged.
Benefits Of Expungement
There are several benefits of having a criminal record expunged because criminal records can be used for various reasons. For example, a background check, which includes a criminal record check, can be requested by potential employers, potential landlords, and even potential colleges. Having a criminal record can make it more challenging to get a job, find an apartment, and be accepted into a good school that you desire.
Once a criminal record is expunged, the only people that can access that record are law enforcement officers. This makes it much easier to put mistakes behind you and move forward because the record will not be hanging over your head for years after you have served your time and paid your dues.
How Long Does The Expungement Process Take?
Generally, once an application is submitted and the Michigan State Police receive all required documentation, it can take up to two months for a Criminal History Report to be processed. Once the Criminal History Report is processed, the Attorney General’s office will notify the individual whether they are eligible for an expungement hearing. This notification will usually occur within three months of the Criminal History Report being processed and sent to the Attorney General. As a result, it can take about six months or more from the application submission to the expungement hearing.
Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney In Michigan
If you or someone you know has a criminal record in their background, it is important to contact an experienced expungement attorney. While individuals can handle their own expungement, it can be a complex process, and working with an experienced criminal defense attorney will improve the likelihood of a successful expungement. The attorneys at George Law are highly experienced criminal defense attorneys who can review your case and determine if you are eligible for expungement. To have an attorney determine if your record can be expunged, contact us for a free consultation at (248) 247-7459 or online.