Introduction to Michigan’s Recent Expungement Law
July 26, 2023
As of April, Michigan joined three other states in the mission to expunge specific criminal records automatically. The other states include Pennsylvania, California, and Utah. The four states expect these automatic expungements to increase their residents’ employment and housing opportunities significantly. Helping the affected individuals also improves employers’ hiring efforts.
Michigan’s Clean Slate legislation states that its automatic expungement program scans in-state databases for qualifying criminal records.
According to the law, Michigan’s state police rolled out the process. As such, they created a system that reviews the offense, checks the time elapsed since the conviction, and whether the individual has reached the maximum number of allowed expungements.
Before the Clean Slate’s enactment in 2020, eligible residents could apply for an expungement if they had two or fewer eligible misdemeanors or one felony conviction. However, residents only qualified if they did not commit more offenses for a minimum of five years. In addition, few non-violent crimes, such as traffic offenses, qualified for expungement.
Furthermore, having records expunged proved difficult and expensive. These challenges have left many eligible individuals unable to request expungements. According to research by the University of Michigan, of the individuals eligible for expungement, only 6.5% received an expungement within five years of their eligibility.
These complications and numbers led to the Clean Slate law passing in 2020 and changing the expungement process. This law allows individuals to expunge up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanors.
Individuals may have up to two felonies automatically expunged if they have not committed additional crimes in that time. The same applies to misdemeanors, allowing a maximum of four after seven years. However, these offenses cannot involve vulnerable adults or minors or be sex crimes, violent crimes, or other serious offenses. Some crimes do not qualify for automatic expungement; individuals can petition a judge to expunge these records.
This program has helped many people improve their employment, housing, and educational opportunities, and many expect it to improve more lives. Some have expressed interest in improving the process further. They suggest informing individuals of their eligibility and whether the courts have expunged their records.
These expungements could help many individuals get better job opportunities, helping employers to obtain more good workers. However, employers must ensure their policies comply to take the most advantage of the law. The best way to ensure compliance is by partnering with a trustworthy background screening provider. The right partner will use their experience in second-chance hiring to deliver accurate and informative reports for hiring needs.
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