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Automatic Expungement in Michigan

A new expungement legislation, signed into law by Governor Whitmer in 2020, has expanded the opportunity for expungement for offenders in Michigan. It has put into place an automatic process for some offenders to be granted expungement for their felony and misdemeanor offenses. This groundbreaking legislation opens the door for more opportunities in employment, housing, and other sectors for individuals with past offenses. It allows them to have their records expunged without having to go through the cumbersome legal application process.

While expungement of past felony and misdemeanor offenses has required petitioners to initiate and complete a legal process, the new legislation in Michigan will start the expungement process for some offenses automatically. This process will start seven years after the imposition of sentence for most qualifying misdemeanors and ten years after the completion of the terms of probation for the felony conviction.

This policy allows for up to two qualifying felonies and four qualifying misdemeanors to be automatically expunged from an individual’s record. There are some offenses that do not qualify for automatic expungement under this new legislation. These include:

• Assaultive crimes
• Serious misdemeanors
• Crimes of dishonesty
• Violations related to human trafficking
• Offenses involving serious injury or death
• Offenses involving a minor or vulnerable adult

In addition to these offenses, offenses that would not qualify for expungement through the typical expungement process would also not qualify for automatic expungement under this legislation. The process of automatic expungement is due to start on April 11, 2023 for the qualifying offenses.

While not all offenses qualify for automatic expungement, this legislation has expanded the number and type of offenses that qualify for expungement by application. The bill allows for an unlimited number of qualifying misdemeanors and up to three qualifying felonies to be expunged during an individual’s lifetime. This legislation also expands opportunities for expungement for individuals with marijuana-related offenses. Even if your offense does not qualify for automatic expungement under this legislation, there is still the possibility of qualifying for expungement by petitioning the sentencing Michigan court.

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