Expungement of Criminal Records in Michigan

With today’s technology, your criminal record is reviewed by many more people than it would have been in the past. Employers, landlords, professional organizations and many other agencies run routine background checks. You may need to pass a background check before you begin a new job, lease a new apartment or become licensed by a state agency.

At the Baldwin Legal Services PLLC, our expungement attorneys know that just because you are convicted of a crime does not mean it has to ruin the rest of your life by remaining on your permanent record.

While there are many laws that govern who can and cannot have their convictions expunged, and which types of charges are eligible for removal from your record, our expungement lawyers provide a no-nonsense approach to delivering results. We know that your livelihood may depend on your re-establishing a clean record, and we can help deliver solutions that focus on that becoming a reality.

Michigan’s New Expungement Laws

On Oct. 12, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed “Clean Slate” Bills, House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 into law to expand and simplify the state’s criminal record expungement process. The bills will take effect April 11, 2021. The Clean Slate expungement law creates an automatic expungement system for qualifying criminal convictions, in other words, no application is filed in court and there is no hearing before a judge. However, Clean Slate still allows the application procedure, like in the past. Under the Clean Slate expungement law, if a person is convicted of a qualifying crime, then the person experiences several years of crime-free life, the conviction will be expunged automatically, or it falls off of the person’s criminal history.

How it Works

Michigan residents who have committed certain crimes can file an application to have their criminal record expunged.

Under House Bill 4980, a conviction for a misdemeanor offense will be set aside automatically after seven years have passed from the sentencing or imprisonment served. A conviction for a non-assaultive felony will be set aside automatically after 10 years have passed from the sentencing or imprisonment served. Instead of waiting for automatic expungement, individuals seeking to have a serious misdemeanor or felony conviction set aside can submit an application after five years. Individuals seeking to have more than one felony conviction set aside can submit an application after seven years.

The bills also declare that multiple felonies or misdemeanors that arise within the same 24-hour period count as one conviction for expungement, except for assaultive crimes, offenses involving the use or possession of a dangerous weapon, or crimes that carry a maximum penalty of 10 or more years in prison.

Michigan courts will communicate with arresting law enforcement agencies to notify them of convictions eligible to be expunged. The state will develop and maintain an online program to facilitate criminal record expungement.

Individuals cannot have more than two felony convictions or four misdemeanor convictions set aside during their lifetime. Courts will still have access to criminal records that have been expunged.

Once a conviction has been set aside by the state, the individual will not legally be considered to have been previously convicted of that crime. However, a conviction that is set aside can still be considered a “prior conviction” by courts, law enforcement agencies and attorneys for the purpose of charging an individual with a second or subsequent offense.

Individuals who have a conviction set aside are not entitled to refunds of any fines or costs paid as a consequence of that conviction, according to House Bill 4980. An individual who has a conviction set aside is not excused from paying restitution owed to a victim of a crime.

The changes proposed by House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 include the following:

  • Creating an automatic process (within 2 years of the law’s effective date of April 11, 2021) for setting aside eligible misdemeanors after 7 years and eligible non-assaultive felonies after 10 years.
  • Expanding eligibility for various traffic offenses and a greater number and scope of felony offenses. (Increased eligibility does not apply to assaultive offenses, offenses involving a dangerous weapon, felonies carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison, or driving under the influence.)
  • Revising the waiting periods before being eligible to apply for expungement.
  • Treating multiple felonies or misdemeanors arising from the same transaction as a single felony or misdemeanor conviction, so long as (1) the offenses happened within 24 hours of one another and (2) the offenses do not involve assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, or carry a penalty of 10 or more years in prison.
  • Permitting a person to apply to set aside one or more marijuana misdemeanor offenses if the offense would not have been a crime if committed after the use of recreational marijuana by adults became legal in the state.

After April 10, 2021, up to three (3) felony offenses and an unlimited number of misdemeanors can be expunged through the application process (an Application to Set Aside Conviction can be filed before that date; however, the hearing before the judge cannot be scheduled until that time).

If applying for expungement, no more than two assaultive crimes can be expunged and no more than one felony conviction for the same offense if the offense is punishable by more than ten (10) years imprisonment.

Assaultive Crimes Include:

  • Threats, assaults, and batteries against family independence agency employees,
  • Any felony or misdemeanor assault of any type,
  • Carjacking and Robbery,
  • Offenses involving explosives, harmful chemicals, biological substances, radioactive material, electronic or electromagnetic devices, offensive or injurious substances or compounds, combustible substances,
  • Offenses related to terrorism,
  • Murder, Homicide, Assault with Intent to Murder, and Mayhem,
  • Kidnapping, Unlawful Imprisonment, or taking an adult or child hostage, Stalking,
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), Molestation, Child Abuse, and Rape,
  • A crime resulting in miscarriage, stillbirth, or death or harm to an embryo or fetus,
  • Home Invasion, and
  • Felonious Discharge of a Firearm.

The new laws go into effect on April 11, 2021.  The full text of the Clean Slate Bills can be found in the links below.

Who is Not Eligible?

Michigan residents are not eligible to have a conviction(s) set aside if:

  • there are charges currently pending against them;
  • they have been convicted of another crime(s) during the 7- or 10-year time requirement for expungement eligibility; and/or
  • they have more than one conviction for an assaultive crime or attempt to commit an assaultive crime.

If charges are pending against an individual, they are not eligible to have their criminal record expunged — even if their convictions meet the state’s criteria.

Individuals are not eligible to have their convictions set aside if they have been convicted of other crimes during the 7- or 10-year time limits required for expungement.

What Crimes Are Not Eligible for Expungement?

Convictions for certain crimes cannot be set aside in Michigan under the new laws.

According to the state, convictions of the following crimes are not eligible for automatic expungement in Michigan:

  • A violation, or an attempted violation, of engaging in child sexually abusive activity or producing, distributing, or possessing child sexually abusive material, MCL 750.145c
  • A violation, or an attempted violation, of using a computer to solicit a minor, MCL 750.145d
  • A violation, or an attempted violation, of first degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), second degree CSC, or third degree CSC, MCL 750.520b, 750.520c, or 750.520d
  • A violation, or an attempted violation, of an assault with the intent to commit CSC involving penetration, MCL 750.520g
  • A violation, or an attempted violation, of first or second degree child abuse, MCL 750.136(b)(2) or 750.136(b)(3)
  • A violation, or an attempted violation, of child abuse in the presence of another child, MCL 750.136d(1)(b) or 750.136d(1)(c)
  • A traffic offense, including Operating While Intoxicated
  • A felony conviction for domestic violence when you have a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence
  • A violation of human trafficking, MCL 750.462A to 750.462J and 750.543A to 750.543Z
  • Any felony offense that is punishable by life in prison (even if your actual sentence was shorter)
  • A conviction for fourth degree CSC, MCL 750.520e, on or after 01/12/15 cannot be set aside. Any fourth degree CSC convictions prior to 01/12/15 can be set aside so long as you have no other convictions, other than up to two minor offenses.

Juvenile Expungements

Being convicted of a crime as a minor is known as a juvenile adjudication. Setting aside adjudication clears your juvenile public record (this may also be known as expungement.) If your adjudication is set aside, you will not have to disclose it to potential employers.

Pursuant to the statute, an application to set aside eligible juvenile offenses may be filed 1 year after imposition of the disposition, or 1 year following detention, or when the person becomes 18 years of age, whichever is later. There are several legal requirements which must be satisfied which are mandated by the statute.

ELIGIBLE: Juvenile Offenses Which May Be Set Aside

  • Up to 3 eligible misdemeanors, or
  • 1 eligible felony and 2 eligible misdemeanors, or
  • Multiple offenses (adjudications) constitute 1 offense which arise in a continuous 12
    hour time frame with a single  intent and goal

INELIGIBLE: Juvenile Offenses Which May Not Be Set Aside

  • An assaultive crime as defined by MCL 770.9a (including all CSC offenses)
  • An offense involving the use or possession of a weapon
  • An offense with a maximum penalty of 10 or more years
  • An offense under the Michigan Vehicle Code, or corresponding ordinance

How an Attorney Can Help

It is true that you could file for an expungement on your own. However, there are a number of rules and requirements to successfully file your expungement. The filing can be tedious and time consuming if you are not well versed on these requirements. We have substantial expertise in getting your Michigan expungement filed as quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently as possible.

Reasons to Choose a Licensed Expungement Attorney

Using a lawyer firm saves you money, saves you time and gives you the best chance to succeed. Here are just some of the benefits.

  • When you add up the hidden fees, a real lawyer is usually less expensive.
  • A lawyer will make sure it gets done right the first time so you avoid months of delay or becoming ineligible.
  • An attorney is the only one who can handle everything for you.
  • An attorney is trained in the law and will make sure you are making the best possible decision
  • An attorney is the only one who can go to court for you.
  • An expungement attorney can handle objections from the District Attorney and go to court on your behalf to answer questions from the judge.

What if My Record is Not Eligible for Expungement?

What if you have one or more offenses that are not eligible for expungement? Clients who have too many convictions are in a difficult, although sometimes not an impossible situation. We have handled many cases for clients in this position, and we have successfully cleared their records. 

Some form of post-conviction motion would have to be filed on one or more of the prior offenses to either get them dismissed, reduced, or changed in some way to make the client eligible for an expungement. This process can be an uphill battle and often requires the prosecutor’s acquiescence. The only way to know if we can help you is for you to call.

Michigan Expungement Defense Attorney

If you have one or more convictions on your record and you want a fresh start with no criminal history, please call us today for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation.  Attorneys at Baldwin Legal Services PLLC have decades of experience winning expungement motions in felony and misdemeanor cases for clients throughout Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and throughout Michigan.

If you would like to learn more about how a prior felony or misdemeanor can be expunged, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Please call 877-886-1441 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.  We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  We will keep your information confidential.

Baldwin Legal Services PLLC represents clients throughout Michigan in Detroit, Troy, Southfield, Warren, Livonia, Novi, Royal Oak, Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Sterling Heights, Waterford, Farmington, Pontiac, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Saginaw and communities in Wayne, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb counties.