If a past criminal charge is holding you back in life, a new law in Michigan may provide an easier path to having that obstacle removed. With the passage of the “Clean Slate” legislation, it is now easier to have some past criminal records expunged or set aside. This is good news for those who have seen many life opportunities pass them by because of a non-serious criminal offense that occurred in the past. The legislation, which was signed into law in the fall of 2020, went into effect on April 11th.
What has changed?
Key elements of the bill include:
- Michigan residents who were convicted of certain marijuana crimes can now petition to have those convictions set aside, provided the once-criminal act would have been legal after December 6, 2018, when the state legalized recreational use of marijuana.
- Multiple offenses can be expunged as a single offense, only requiring one application, provided those offenses were non-assaultive and charged at the same time. There is still a limit on how many total offenses a person can have expunged—two felony convictions and four misdemeanor convictions.
- Some criminal records are now automatically set aside after a certain time period. Convictions for misdemeanor offenses will be automatically expunged after 7 years have passed. For expungeable felony offenses, the waiting period is 10 years.
A ray of hope for many
For those who have been held back for years by a past criminal incident, the law offers hope of a brighter future. A criminal record can hold you back from certain employment opportunities, acquiring a professional license, finding housing and more. By having these charges set aside, you can move on with your future without any further hindrance. An experienced criminal law attorney can give you the best chance of obtaining this important second chance.