How to get your criminal record expunged under Michigan’s new ‘Clean Slate’ laws

New Michigan laws went into effect April 11 that allow certain convictions to be expunged


New Michigan laws are making it easier for residents who have committed nonviolent crimes to get their records wiped clean.

Michigan’s new “Clean Slate” legislation, signed into law last fall, went into effect on Sunday, April 11, providing opportunities for some residents to apply to have their criminal record expunged.

You can find all the necessary paperwork and information on the state’s website right here to apply to set aside convictions.

Michigan residents seeking to have a serious misdemeanor or felony conviction set aside can submit an application after five years. Individuals seeking to have more than one felony conviction set aside can submit an application after seven years.

Michigan residents who have been convicted of one or more misdemeanor marijuana offense can now apply to have the conviction set aside -- only if the offense would not be considered illegal if it were to have been committed after December 6, 2018, when recreational marijuana use became legal for adults in the state.

The new laws also declare that multiple felony offenses or misdemeanor offenses must be considered one offense (if they occurred at the same time) in an application for expungement, so long as they are not categorized as assaultive. Individuals cannot have more than two felony convictions or four misdemeanor convictions set aside during their lifetime.

Courts will still have access to criminal records that have been expunged.

A thorough guide is available on the state’s website here that explains who is eligible to apply and what convictions are eligible to be expunged, in addition to the forms necessary to fill out to get the process started.

The state says that individuals may not need an attorney to represent them to expunge criminal offenses.

What kinds of convictions are not eligible to be expunged?

There are several convictions that are not eligible to be expunged under Michigan’s new laws.

According to the state, the following offenses are not eligible to be expunged:

  • All offenses punishable by life imprisonment
  • Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct
  • Child sexually abusive material or activity offenses
  • Felony domestic violence if the person has a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence
  • Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (committed after January 12, 2015)
  • Human-trafficking-related offenses
  • Second-degree child abuse
  • Second-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Some traffic offenses such as: convictions for driving while intoxicated, traffic offenses that cause injury or death, and Commercial Driver License violations
  • Terrorism-related offenses - includes convictions for attempts to commit any of these offenses
  • Third-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Using a computer to commit sex crimes offenses

Who is not eligible to apply?

According to the state, Michigan residents are not eligible to have a conviction(s) set aside if:

  • there are charges currently pending against them;
  • they have been convicted of another crime(s) during the 7- or 10-year time requirement for expungement eligibility; and/or
  • they have more than one conviction for an assaultive crime or attempt to commit an assaultive crime.

Automatic expungement

The state of Michigan has approved legislation that automates the expungement process for eligible residents and convictions. However, the state says that an automatic expungement process will likely not take effect until the year 2023.

The process will allow certain convictions to be set aside automatically after a certain time period. Michigan courts will communicate with arresting law enforcement agencies to notify them of convictions that are eligible to be expunged once they’ve surpassed the time limit.

According to the state, automatic processes for identification and expungement of convictions are currently being developed by “multiple state agencies.”

Click here to access the state’s complete guide for navigating Michigan’s new Clean Slate laws.

More: How Michigan’s new expungement law works

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.