what is an expungement

Michigan HB 4980

Thousands of Michigan residents with past criminal convictions could soon have more options to clear their records by working with an expungement attorney — or automatically get their records expunged after a period of time for certain low-level offenses.

“Clean Slate” legislation designed to simplify and expand expungement options for people who have gone several years without committing another offense passed the Michigan Senate with wide bipartisan support Wednesday. The main bills in the package passed the House last November and will be returned to the House for final approval of Senate changes before heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for consideration

Under current law, people in Michigan with one felony conviction or two or less misdemeanors for certain crimes are eligible to ask a judge to clear their record if they haven’t committed other offenses for five years or more.

That currently doesn’t apply to many nonviolent crimes, and criminal justice reform advocates say the process is often costly and complex. According to the Alliance for Safety and Justice, only 6.5% of people eligible for expungements are able to successfully get them.