GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 9, 2021 — A major portion of the Clean Slate expungement reform package passed by the Michigan Legislature with bipartisan support and signed into law by Gov. Whitmer last year will take effect on April 11. Included in the changes is expanded expungement eligibility covering up to three non-violent felony convictions and an unlimited number of qualifying misdemeanors which was in legislation proposed by state Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids). Estimates on the exact number of Michiganders who could benefit from the new law vary, but it could be as high as one million.
“Far too often, we ignore the impact a past conviction can have on someone’s life after they’ve proven they are law-abiding citizens. They can be denied access to housing, employment, and education. These are the three things we know help people build the foundation for good and successful lives,” said LaGrand. “I first proposed this package over two years ago and am extraordinarily pleased that it will have a profound and positive effect on countless Michiganders. I want to thank all my partners in the Legislature, the Executive branch and all the citizens who stepped forward to tell their stories and support Clean Slate. I am looking forward to continuing the work to make our system more just and equitable.”
In addition to the expansion of eligibility, the following provisions of the Clean Slate package will also be taking effect this month:
- Multiple convictions that arise out of the same event will count as one for purposes of the new conviction limits if the convictions: (a) were not assaultive, (b) did not involve use of a dangerous weapon, and (c) are not punishable by more than ten years in prison.
- The waiting period to petition for a misdemeanor expungement has been reduced to three years and permits expungement applications for multiple felonies after seven years.
- Most traffic offenses, which are 50 percent of all criminal cases in Michigan, are now eligible for the first time, although DWIs or traffic offenses causing injury or death are excluded.
- A special process was created for people with marijuana convictions to apply for expungement if the conduct at issue is legal under current law.
The second part of this package will take effect in October 2022 and create an automatic expungement process for certain non-violent offenses and ensure those with a set-aside record will no longer have to divulge that information on a job or housing application.