Michigan Clean Slate Laws

In April of 2023, Michigan implemented a new “Clean Slate” law that puts emphasis on expunging old criminal records for those who have remained crime-free for years (seven years for misdemeanors, 10 years for felonies). The first of its kind in the country, Michigan will automatically expunge non-violent, low-level felony and misdemeanor offenses that fit specified conditions.

Previously, Michigan’s expungement process was expensive and confusing to navigate which meant even those who qualified weren’t attempting to obtain one. As this is now an automated process, there is no need to file an application to expunge records, but residents who believe they qualify are encouraged to check their public record online.

The goal behind the law is to assist individuals in finding good paying jobs and affordable housing while simultaneously strengthening families, communities, and economies. This is a huge step forward for those with a criminal history who have been crime-free for years but continued to face discrimination from future employers, landlords, and even colleges. The impact on residents is massive; according to a study by Michigan State University, wages rose an average of about 25% within two years post expungement.

Convictions that are ineligible for expungement include:

  • Assaultive offenses
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Those punishable by 10 or more years imprisonment
  • Those involving that of a minor or vulnerable adult
  • Those involving injury or serious impairment of a person
  • Those involving death of a person
  • Any conviction under new MCL 780.621c

Expungements will mask those certain eligible convictions and offenses from public view, but they remain visible to the courts and police.

Are you running background checks in Michigan and if so, how do you feel about this new “Clean Slate” Law?

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