Mistakes happen and there’s no reason why a minor offense or one bad night should change your life forever. The Michigan legislature agrees and has passed the new “Clean Slate Act.” But what’s in this law and how could it change your life? Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Clean Slate Act?
The Clean Slate Act went into effect in April 2021. This law helps those who were not previously eligible for expungement in Michigan not only have their records expunged but also have those records automatically sealed.
From a practical perspective, the Clean Slate Act’s greatest change is allowing people to have multiple convictions expunged. However, there are certain criteria that must be met when it comes to eligibility for expungement.
Who Can Apply?
Michigan residents with serious misdemeanor or felony convictions can apply to have the record expunged after five years as long as they have not had any major convictions during the waiting period. The same rule applies to residents who have more than one felony conviction, except they must wait seven years to file for record expungement.
That said, there are some cases where Michigan residents would not be allowed to apply to have their records expunged. These includes individuals who:
Have charges pending against them
Have been convicted of other crimes during their waiting period
Have than one conviction for a crime involving an assault or an attempt to commit an assault.
What Can Be Expunged?
The new Clean Slate Act allows those convicted of one or more marijuana offenses to apply to have their record expunged, but only for marijuana offenses after December 6, 2018, the date that recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan.
The new law also applies to those with multiple felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions that all occurred during the same offense. The biggest caveat to this, however, is that none of the convictions can be considered assaultive or aggravated.
Additionally, there is a limit on how many charges can be expunged. Typically, someone cannot have more than four misdemeanor convictions and two felony convictions expunged throughout their life.
Also remember that expunged convictions may be out of the public record, but they are still available to the court. This could potentially have an impact on sentencing in a future case.
What Records Can’t Be Expunged?
While there are many convictions that can be expunged, there are others that cannot be. These are typically serious or violent offenses, such as:
Crimes punishable by life in prison
Assault and intent to commit a criminal sexual act
Possession of child pornography
Acts of child sexual abuse
Felony domestic violence
Human trafficking offenses
Some traffic offenses including operating a vehicle while intoxicated, traffic offenses that caused injury or death, and Commercial Drive License violations
What are the Advantages of Having Records Expunged?
Having your record expunged can be life-changing and can make finding a way forward much easier. Advantages of having records expunged include:
Better employment opportunities - it can be more difficult to get a job if you have a criminal record. By having your record expunged, you’re opening the doors for more employers to take a chance on you.
Better housing opportunities - just as with employment, when applying to rent an apartment or home, property managers often require a background check. That background check could result in you not being accepted to a new living space if the property manager discovers you have a criminal record. Property managers are more likely to rent to someone with a “clean slate” than someone with past convictions.
Opportunities to volunteer - even volunteer organizations may request a background check. Having a clean background check makes you more likely to be welcomed into volunteer groups and other club organizations.
You can avoid having to worry about convictions expunged altogether if you have your charges dismissed in court. At Levine & Levine Attorneys at Law our team of attorneys will work for you to have the best possible outcome. When you’re facing tough charges contact our team right away to see how we can help.
To schedule an appointment with an experienced Kalamazoo criminal attorney from Levine & Levine Attorneys at Law, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (269) 218-8880.