Michigan Misdemeanor and Felony Expungement2021-06-14T15:04:24-04:00

Michigan Misdemeanor and Felony Expungement

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Changes to Michigan’s Expungement Laws

Up until recently, expungement in Michigan was limited to one (1) felony and two (2) misdemeanors. This meant that two (2) felonies, no matter the circumstances, were ineligible for Michigan felony expungement. Additionally, all traffic offenses were ineligible for expungement. Quite simply, a lot has changed.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is defined as the process of setting aside a conviction and it’s now available to more people in Michigan than ever, thanks to new legislation known as Clean Slate.

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What’s in New Michigan Expungement Law?

The Clean Slate initiative is a bipartisan, seven-bill legislative package signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that dramatically improves the expungement process for criminal charges. This includes felony expungement and misdemeanor expungement.

most traffic offenses eligible for expungement for the first time.

a process to set aside certain marijuana-related offenses that are legal as of Dec. 6th, 2018 (the date adult-use marijuana was legalized in Michigan). The same law also creates a rebuttal presumption that non-violent marijuana offenses will be expunged; the burden of proof is on the prosecutors to show why they should not be expunged.

the waiting period to apply for the expungement of misdemeanors.

multiple convictions for certain offenses arising under the same set of circumstances, or “one bad night” to become eligible as one (1) offense.

Effective immediately, the Clean Slate legislation doubles the number of Michiganders eligible to immediately remove felony and misdemeanor convictions from their records; including misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

What Doesn’t Qualify for Felony Expungement and Misdemeanor Expungement?

Under the new Michigan expungement law, residents can expunge up to three (3) felonies and an unlimited number of misdemeanors from their criminal record. However, the types of offenses that do not qualify are…

  • OWIs/DUIs

  • If you have more than (3) felonies on different dates, you are not eligible for expungement

  • Felonies that carry a maximum punishment of life in prison

  • Attempt to commit a felony (in which the maximum punishment is life)

  • Felony domestic violence (if the person had a previous domestic violence misdemeanor)
  • Child Abuse
  • (Most) criminal sexual conduct offenses
  • Traffic offenses causing injury or death
  • We do not recommend applying for expungement if you have charges pending against you in any court or have been convicted of a crime in the last three (3) years.

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Automatic Expungement vs. Applying for Expungement

One of the most common misconceptions about automatic expungement is that it’s available right now. This is not the case. The state needs time to develop a system that can handle the volume of automatic expungements, which means that automatic expungement won’t be available until at least April 11th, 2023.

Additionally, the waiting period for misdemeanors and felonies to be automatically expunged is seven (7) to 10 years, whereas it’s a much shorter three (3) to seven (7) year waiting period should you apply for expungement. (Three [3] years for misdemeanors, five [5] years for 1 felony, and seven [7] years for multiple felonies.)

Under automatic expungement, only two (2) felonies and four (4) misdemeanors can be expunged, significantly less than the number eligible expungement starting April 11, 2021. Of those eligible for automatic expungement, only a handful of offenses qualify.

Waiting for automatic expungement means that you will miss out on the many immediate benefits for expunging your record with an attorney.

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These offenses may qualify when you apply for expungement, but do not qualify for automatic expungement:

  1. assaultive crimes
  2. a serious misdemeanor
  3. crimes of dishonesty
  4. any other offense punishable by 10 or more years’ imprisonment
  5. felony violation that involves a minor, vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment, death, or any violation related to human trafficking

Why Should I Expunge My Criminal Record?

According to a study in the Harvard Law Review, recipients of expungement have relatively low recidivism (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) rate, with only 6 percent of recipients re-convicted of crimes. The reason behind the low recidivism rate is relatively simple; felony expungement and misdemeanor expungement recipients enjoy the wide benefits of a clear criminal record, which include:

Despite these benefits, nearly 95 percent of people eligible for expungement don’t even apply for expungement. This problem primarily stems from lack of knowledge of expungement law as well as the daunting bureaucratic and judicial processes applicants are required to navigate.

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How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Michigan?

To expunge your criminal record in Michigan, there are many rigorous and time-consuming steps involved that include obtaining your record, getting fingerprinted, notarizing your application, and much more.

To begin the process, you first need to pull your Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) Record and Certified Court Records. Our firm covers the $10 fee necessary to pull your ICHAT, and will evaluate your eligibility based on your criminal conviction history alongside you.

Once we’ve determined that you are eligible for expungement, you will start the application. At this step, all that is needed is the date and charges of conviction. We will remind you to not sign the application yet; you will sign the application when it is notarized. (jump to step 4)

We will then instruct you to go to a local law enforcement agency and ask to be printed on a Michigan Applicant Fingerprint Card. These fingerprints are required to get your conviction expunged, and typically cost $25 or less.

For our expungement clients’ convenience, we offer free, in-house notarization at our firm.

We then will make at least five (5) copies of your notarized application and your certified record of conviction. This is to ensure that nothing is lost or misplaced when applying with the court in which you were convicted in and the state of Michigan.

Some courts prefer mailing in expungement applications, while others require filing it in person. After the application is filed with the court, we will schedule a hearing date.

The remaining copies (with your certified conviction records) are then mailed to the:

  • Michigan State Police (with your fingerprint card and a money order or check for $50)
  • Michigan Attorney General
  • Convicting County’s Prosecuting Attorney.

After sending your application in, we will direct you to fill out the Proof of Service section at the bottom of both of the remaining copies of your application. You will then be instructed to sign and date both copies of the Proof of Service, then to send one copy to the court clerk to show that you sent the application to all the required agencies.

This is the last step to freedom. Your attorney will assist you in preparing you for this important hearing, which will consist of discussing how you have contributed to society since your conviction. Your attorney should also have paperwork on-hand displaying your achievements since the conviction, such as employment history, evidence of drug or alcohol treatment, etc.

Your attorney will also advise you to be on time, and dress respectfully. Even if your hearing takes place on Zoom, it’s critically for you to make a good impression on the judge who will determine if your record should be expunged.

If you make any sort of mistake on these documents, you must wait three (3) years before applying again. Even if you apply again, the judge can use your previous expungement denial to fault your subsequent attempt, even if nothing is incorrect on your second application.

Even worse, a simple error or misunderstanding of the application’s language could lead to you being charged with falsifying documents, which is a felony. A conviction for falsifying documents typically results in extraordinary fines and prison time of at least one (1) year. Additionally, there are often lingering penalties such as job loss, financial stress, and more.

How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record


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Barton Morris

Principal Attorney

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Managing Attorney

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How Can a Michigan Expungement Lawyer Help?

We know firsthand that having a criminal record does not make you a bad person. In fact, our experience has shown us that most criminal convictions come from one set of circumstances, or “one bad night.”

Mistakes don’t make you a bad person; they make you human. Our firm recognizes that, and is dedicated to helping you start clean and live the life you want.

Attorney Barton Morris

Barton Morris

Principal Attorney

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Sheila Miller

Managing Attorney

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Associate Attorney

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How Can an Expungement Lawyer Help?

We know firsthand that having a criminal record does not make you a bad person. In fact, most of the time, our experience has shown us that most criminal convictions come from one set of circumstances, or “one bad night.”

Mistakes don’t make you a bad person; they make you human. Our firm recognizes that, and is dedicated to helping you start clean and live the life you want.

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