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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.
High Volumes of Calls and Email Correspondence
The Department of Attorney General expungement team is currently experiencing high volumes of phone calls and email correspondence pertaining to the Expungement process. We are working diligently to respond to everyone. All correspondence will be answered in the order in which it was received.
Please be advised, we may not be available on Tuesdays due to staff working on the current Expungement backlog.
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.
Expungement Process: What to Expect
What is an expungement?
An expungement is a way to remove past offenses from your public record. Expansions under the “Clean Slate” laws include eligibility for up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanors, excluding certain assault or weapons offenses and felonies that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Currently, the entire expungement process can take up to eight months.
- Applicant submits application. All expungement applications can be found in the "Applications & Checklists" section on the expungement website.
- Michigan State Police (MSP) process expungement applications. Once MSP has the required documentation, please allow up to two months for your Criminal History Report to be processed.
- The Department of Attorney General's response will be processed up to three months after the Criminal History Report has been completed.
- Expungement hearing
- All offenses punishable by life imprisonment
- Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct
- Child sexually abusive material or activity offenses
- Felony domestic violence if the person has a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence
- Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (committed after January 12, 2015)
- Human-trafficking related offenses
- Second-degree child abuse
- Second-degree criminal sexual conduct
- Some traffic offenses such as: convictions for driving while intoxicated, traffic offenses that cause injury or death, and commercial driver’s license violations
- Terrorism-related offenses - includes convictions for attempts to commit any of these offenses
- Third-degree criminal sexual conduct
- Using a computer to commit sex crimes offenses
Submit an Application
- Please remember to review the Checklist and Instructions before you begin the process.
- The Convicting Court and Case number must be listed for your application to be processed.
- Only include your CURRENT attorney on your application if applicable
- If you have convictions in multiple courts, you must complete a separate application for each court
Check the Status of Your Application
- If the MSP Criminal History Report is not complete, please check the status of your application after the report is finalized.
- If you are being represented by an attorney, the application can only be discussed with the retained attorney. Please contact your attorney for more information.
- Unless an attorney has been retained, we can only discuss information regarding a person's Application to Set Aside Conviction with the actual applicant.
- Once calls are returned, we cannot leave a message if there is no identifying information such as the legal name of the person we are trying to reach on your voicemail.
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.
A person convicted of 1 or more misdemeanor or local ordinance marijuana crimes may petition the convicting court to set aside the convictions if they were based on activity that would not have been a crime after December 6, 2018, when a 2018 voter-passed initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Michigan went into effect.
Filing requirements: MCL 780.621e(2) provides an application to expunge a misdemeanor marijuana conviction must contain all of the following information:
- The full name and current address of the applicant; and
- A certified record of each conviction that the applicant is seeking to expunge.
The application must be filed either by mail or in person in the court where the conviction occurred.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) First Time
- Only one operating while impaired/intoxicated offense can be set-aside in a person's lifetime;
- If a person has more than one operating while intoxicated conviction, they are ineligible to set aside any of those convictions, including their first-time operating while intoxicated conviction;
- If the operating while intoxicated caused an injury or death it is ineligible to be set aside; and
- The waiting period to have a first-time operating while intoxicated offense expunged from your record is 5 years.
While some traffic offenses can be expunged, an order expunging a conviction for a traffic offense cannot require that the Michigan Secretary of State remove or expunge the conviction from the person's driving record.
Exceptions to Number of Convictions That May Be Expunged
A person convicted of 1 or more criminal offenses including felonies and misdemeanors, but not more than a total of 3 felony offenses, may file an application with the convicting court to expunge all of his or her convictions, with the following exceptions:
- A person cannot seek to expunge more than 2 "assaultive crime" convictions during his or her lifetime; or
- A person cannot seek to expunge more than 1 felony conviction for the same offense if it is punishable by more than 10 years' incarceration.
- When seeking to expunge one or more serious misdemeanor convictions or one felony conviction, at least 5 years from the latest of the following events: date of the sentencing, completion of a term of probation, discharge from parole, or completion of any term of imprisonment.
- When seeking to expunge more than one felony conviction, at least 7 years from the latest of the following events: date of the sentencing, completion of a term of probation, discharge from parole, or completion of any term of imprisonment.
- When seeking to expunge one or more misdemeanor convictions (other than serious misdemeanors and any misdemeanor conviction for an assaultive crime), at least 3 years from the latest of the following events: date of the sentencing, completion of a term of probation, or completion of any term of imprisonment.
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).