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Michigan Bill Expands Criminal Record Expungement

Changes to legislation signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer will automatically clear certain convictions from public view, ultimately removing barriers to securing housing and employment for Michigan residents.

Following the changes made by Pennsylvania, Utah and California, Michigan too is adopting an automated system by which certain convictions will be cleared from public records after a specified time period. However, Michigan is the first state to automatically clear prior low-level felonies.

Details regarding the clearing process include:

  • Expunging misdemeanors seven years after sentencing
  • Clearing felonies 10 years after sentencing or the person's incarceration release date (whichever occurs last)
  • Automatic clearing eligibility for up to two felonies and four misdemeanors

Record entries not eligible for automatic expungement include:

  • Assault crimes (i.e. homicide, manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery)
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Crimes involving dishonesty (i.e. forgery, counterfeiting)
  • Offenses punishable by at least 10 years in prison
  • Crimes involving a minor, a vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment, death or human trafficking

Notable changes pertaining to this legislation include:

  • Expungement eligibility for most traffic offenses that do not involve other crimes of a more serious nature
  • A streamlined process to clear misdemeanor marijuana offenses that would not have qualified as crimes after recreational marijuana was legalized in the state
  • Expungement application waiting periods ranging from three to seven years after the criminal justice system's monitoring period ends and as dependent on the nature of the conviction
  • Unlimited misdemeanors and a maximum of three felonies can be expunged; however no more than two assaultive crimes and one felony conviction can be expunged for the same offense providing the offense is punishable by at least 10 years of prison time
  • Multiple felonies or misdemeanors arising within the same 24-hour period will be regarded as a single conviction as it applies to expungement eligibility providing none of the offenses are assaultive, involve the use or possession of a dangerous weapon or carry a penalty of at least 10 years imprisonment

This legislation affords the state two years to implement the automatic expungement process; remaining legislation in the bill package will take effect in 180 days. Changes incited by this new legislation will take effect retroactively.

Employers are encouraged to review changes in legislation with internal hiring teams. Business Information Group clients should contact their account management teams with any questions regarding these changes.

Posted: October 23, 2020


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