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Five Dept. of Attorney General Expungement Fairs in Five Weeks to Conclude this Week in Saginaw County
November 16, 2023
LANSING – Saturday, November 18th, the Department of Attorney General will host its fifth expungement fair in as many weeks across the state, capping events that have served over 700 Michigan residents thus far, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Saturday’s expungement fair will be held at the Saginaw County Community Action Center in Saginaw from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Expungement fairs offer Michigan residents an opportunity to review their criminal convictions with on-site volunteer attorneys for potentially expungable convictions. Having criminal convictions expunged can aid a resident in securing employment, housing, and other benefits available to those without a criminal record.
The five fairs in five weeks began in Muskegon, where attorneys helped 52 residents review their criminal records. Of the attendees screened, 35 were eligible to have convictions expunged.
In Lansing, 91 residents received conviction screenings, at an event in partnership with Cooley Law School, and of those screened, 50 were eligible to receive expungements.
In Detroit, at Wayne State University and in partnership with the Wayne State Law School, 396 residents were screened for eligible convictions. 201 had convictions eligible for expungement.
In Dearborn Heights, 192 Michigan residents had their criminal records screened for eligible offenses. 115 residents were found eligible for expungements. The success of this event was bolstered by exceptional support from attorneys, law students, and legal support volunteers from the National Arab American Bar Association’s Michigan chapter.
“I am thankful to our many partners and volunteers who make these programs a success,” said Nessel. “Attendance at these events often exceeds expectations and the expungement fairs this autumn have been no exception. An expungement can offer new opportunities and a sense of relief to Michigan residents with eligible, non-assaultive convictions, and my Department will continue hosting screening and resource events like these around the state.”
Expungements are not processed or awarded at these events. Screened residents are advised by attorneys at the fair on the process to obtain expungement of eligible convictions.
While there are numerous steps involved in requesting an expungement, residents should not be deterred. The Department of Attorney General expungement webpage provides resources to explain the details of the law, clarify eligibility, and provide checklists for necessary application steps and materials. The webpage also lists upcoming public expungement events.
In Michigan, a person convicted of one or more criminal offenses, including felonies, but not more than a total of three felonies, may petition the convicting court to set aside the convictions. The process for review of applications includes the Michigan State Police, the Department of Attorney General, the local court, and the prosecutor where the conviction occurred. The Department of Attorney General does not award expungements.
This year, the Michigan State Police launched a new automatic expungement program in accordance with the Clean Slate legislation enacted in 2021. The program searches the State’s Criminal Historical Record database daily for eligible convictions to automatically expunge. Eligible residents may have up to four eligible misdemeanors or two eligible felonies automatically expunged once seven years (for misdemeanors) or ten years (for felonies) have elapsed since the imposition date of a sentence or the completion of a term of imprisonment, whichever occurs later. There are several additional requirements for a conviction to be eligible for automatic expungement, including the requirement that the resident not have any criminal charges pending against them. Automatic expungement may account for the 93 residents screened at these recent expungement fairs found to have no convictions on their record.
Those residents with convictions which do not qualify for automatic expungement may still be able to go through the traditional expungement application process, provided that the requirements for that process are met.
A list of crimes ineligible for expungement include assaultive crimes, any crime punishable by a life sentence, criminal sexual conduct, human trafficking, terrorism-related offenses, child sexual abusive material, and more.