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New ‘Clean Slate’ Laws Expand Michigan Expungement

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2020 | Firm News

On October 12, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Witmer signed a series of bills expanding criminal record expungement in Michigan. Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders are now eligible to have certain criminal convictions automatically cleared from public access, or are eligible for expungement via the application process.

Previously, expungement was available for individuals with a criminal record consisting of only one felony or two misdemeanors (not including traffic offenses). Additionally, seeking expungement was an arduous process, which could take months to complete and involved court hearings and potential challenges from prosecutors and victims.

The following blog post is an overview of the new “Clean Slate” laws.


According to the automatic record-clearing law, a misdemeanor conviction will be automatically cleared after seven years have passed from the imposition of a sentence, and a “non-assaultive” felony will be set aside automatically after 10 years have passed from the imposition of the sentence or the completion of a prison term for the offense, whichever occurs last. Up to two felonies and four misdemeanors can be automatically expunged.

Michigan residents are not eligible for expungement if:

  • They are currently facing criminal charges
  • They have been convicted of another criminal offense(s) during the seven- to ten-year period for expungement eligibility
  • They were convicted for more than once for an assaultive crime (e.g., assault, manslaughter, murder, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism, and any offense involving bombs and explosives) or for an attempt to commit an assaultive crime.

According to HB 4890, convictions of the following crimes are not eligible for automatic record sealing:

  • An assaultive crime
  • A serious misdemeanor
  • A crime of dishonesty (e.g., counterfeiting and forgery)
  • A crime involving human trafficking
  • DUI/OUI conviction
  • A crime involving a minor, vulnerable adult, or resulted in serious injury or death
  • Any other crimes that carry a prison sentence of 10 years or more


This law makes most traffic offenses eligible for expungement.

A Michigan resident is not eligible to apply for expungement for a conviction involving any of the following:

  • A felony that is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment
  • A felony conviction involving domestic violence (if the person has a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence)
  • A traffic offense involving alcohol/drug consumption, a commercial vehicle, or a serious injury or death


This law creates a process to expunge marijuana-related sentences for conduct that would have been legal after the 2018 referendum, which legalized recreational cannabis. Starting on January 1, 2020, a person who is convicted of one or more misdemeanor marijuana offenses may apply for expungement.


This law reduces the misdemeanor expungement application waiting period to three years and the felony expungement application waiting period to five years. Furthermore, HB 4983 allows petitions to expunge two felonies to be filed after seven years.


This law expands the number of offenses eligible to be set aside from the current limit of one felony and two misdemeanors to two felonies and up to four misdemeanors or more if none of the convictions are assaultive.


This law allows multiple convictions for certain offenses that occurred during “one bad night” to become eligible for expungement as a single offense.

If you or a loved one has now become eligible for Michigan expungement in Grand Rapids, contact Brandon Gardner & Associates, PLC today and let us help you get your life back on track.