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Expungement Of Criminal Offenses In Michigan
The laws regarding expungement of criminal offenses in Michigan are changing in major ways beginning in April of 2021 and beyond-- changes that Attorney General Dana Nessel has supported.
This site is designed to help applicants navigate their way through the new laws, help them determine if they are eligible to have convictions expunged, to answer frequently asked questions about the new laws, and to provide links for resources and assistance. This site will be updated regularly as new parts of the laws go into effect.
You may not need an attorney to represent you to expunge criminal offenses. Many applicants filed applications on their own without the help of an attorney. If you would like to hire an attorney or need legal help, please refer to the "Legal Services" section of this website.
Applications And Checklists
What Is An Expungement?
Michigan Law has long provided that individuals convicted of most state criminal offenses could be expunged or set aside, under certain circumstances and if certain pre-conditions are met. Offenses that could not be expunged or set-aside included offenses like murder, criminal sexual conduct or any traffic offense. When a record is expunged or set aside it no longer becomes accessible to public records so employers and others cannot locate them, however, the records are still accessible in a non-public record which is available to law enforcement agencies.
Big changes to the Expungement Laws took place in 2021 when the Clean Slate Act went into effect. The Clean Slate Act expands on the types and numbers of offenses that can be expunged and will eventually provide for the “automatic” expungement of certain convictions without the need for anyone to affirmatively petition or apply to the convicting court for such an action.
With the expansion of the Expungement Laws, it is believed that hundreds of thousands, in not millions, of people are now eligible for their records to be expunged. In 2021 the amount of expungement petitions filed were over two times the amount of the preceding year. The Attorney General's role in the expungement is to determine whether an applicant is statutorily eligible to have the conviction(s) expunged from their record.
What Are The New Michigan Laws On Expungements?
- Expanded number of convictions that can be expunged to 3 felonies and unlimited misdemeanors;
- Reduced the waiting time required to expunge a conviction in certain circumstances;
- Certain traffic offenses can now be expunged;
- First Time Operating While Intoxicated offenses are now eligible for expungement;
- Misdemeanor Marijuana convictions can now be expunged for past conduct that is now legal with no statutory waiting period;
- “One bad night” provision which combines separate, but related, offenses into one offense for the purpose of counting convictions; and
- The automatic expungement mandate which will allow for certain convictions to be expunged without an application.
Commonly Used Words, Phrases And Their Definitions Used On This Site
Application To Set Aside ConvictionIs the formal title of an applicant's pleading seeking expungement of a criminal offense in the State of Michigan.
These are Michigan crimes that include:
- an element of assault (e.g., murder, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder);
- prisoner taking hostage;
- threats against an employee of the Family Independence Agency;
- criminal sexual conduct (rape violations);
- armed robbery;
- unarmed robbery;
- carjacking; or
- terrorism violations.
ConvictionIs a judgment entered by a court upon a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or nolo contendere, or upon a jury verdict or court finding that a defendant is guilty or guilty but mentally ill. See MCL 780.621a(a).
ExpungementAnother word for the act of setting aside a conviction, meaning that a public record of the conviction is no longer available to members of the public including employers and anyone going to the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) maintained by the Michigan State Police.
Felony OffensesAny state crime punishable by imprisonment in the state prison system (e.g., the Michigan Department of Corrections).
Offenses punishable by up to a maximum of life imprisonment include, but are not limited to, the following offenses or attempts to commit these offenses:
- first-degree arson;
- arson of insured property with the intent to defraud the insurer;
- assault with intent to commit murder;
- assault with intent to rob while armed;
- attempted murder (by poisoning, drowning, strangling, or any other means not constituting assault with intent to murder);
- first-degree child abuse;
- solicitation to commit murder;
- send or deliver explosives, causing serious impairment/death;
- placement of explosive, causing serious impairment/death;
- intentional discharge of firearm from motor vehicle, snowmobile or off-road vehicle, causing death;
- intentional discharge of firearm at dwelling or occupied structure, causing death;
- first-degree murder;
- second-degree murder;
- delivery of certain schedule 1 or 2 controlled substances, causing death;
- prisoner taking a hostage;
- perjury in a capital case;
- human trafficking involving kidnapping/attempt, first-degree criminal sexual conduct/attempt, or an attempt to kill, or death;
- first-degree criminal sexual conduct;
- armed robbery; or
Again, this is not a complete list of all felonies in Michigan for which life imprisonment is possible. Please consult the Michigan Penal Code and/or the conviction documents in your case to determine if the felony you are seeking to expunge is a life offense.
MisdemeanorAny state crime that is not a felony (e.g., not punishable by imprisonment in the state prison system, but rather is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail system or is not punishable by imprisonment, but by a fine or other penalty).
Non-Public RecordA record that is kept by the Michigan State Police and is accessible to courts, police agencies, and prosecutors (including the Attorney General) for the purposes listed in MCL 780.623(2), but which is not available to members of the public including current or potential employers.
Prosecuting AgencyThis refers to the agency that prosecuted the case leading to the conviction at issue. Depending on the circumstance, it could be a county prosecutor’s office, a city/village attorney’s office, or the Attorney General.
These are Michigan misdemeanors that include the following crimes:
- assault and battery;
- aggravated assault;
- domestic violence;
- aggravated domestic violation;
- illegal entry;
- fourth-degree child abuse;
- contributing to the delinquency of a minor;
- using the internet to make a prohibited communication;
- intentionally aiming a firearm without malice;
- discharge of a firearm intentionally aimed at a person;
- discharge of an intentionally aimed firearm resulting in injury;
- indecent exposure;
- injuring a worker in a work zone;
- leaving the scene of a personal injury accident;
- operating while impaired offenses , if the violation involves an accident resulting in damage to another individual’s property or physical injury or death to another individual;
- selling or furnishing alcoholic liquor to an individual under 21 years of age, if the violation results in physical injury or death to any individual; or
- A violation of a local ordinance substantially corresponding to any of these violations.
Traffic OffensesAny offense that is a violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code or of a local ordinance substantially corresponding to that act, which violation involves the operation of a motor vehicle and at the time of the violation is a felony or misdemeanor. See MCL 780.621a(b).