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A New Bill Package Would Make Michigan’s Expungement Requirements Easier

A picture of a clean, empty white board, signifying wiping the slate clean and starting over.
Being able to wipe the slate clean, as it were, will help a lot of Michigan residents get better jobs, go to school, and get into decent housing.

Bi-partisan bill packages are usually the ones that move through the House and Senate quickly, having garnered support from both sides of the political aisle. It is interesting to see that this particular collection of potential laws addressing expungement issues in Michigan has received such wide support, both within the legislature and within various communities around the state. 

Many local leaders in Michigan cities are behind the bills as well

State Representative Graham Filler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, unveiled the legislation in both Detroit and Kalamazoo last week. He and several of the other bill sponsors from the House and Senate, from both sides of the aisle, joined with local business leaders and county prosecutors. They were joined in each city by the local mayors as well in an unparalleled show of support for this pending legislation. So what exactly might these new laws offer Michigan residents with criminal convictions on their record?

The package creates punishments more proportional to the crime

Under current Michigan expungement law, people with certain very specific convictions can petition the court to have their record expunged. More specifically, their convictions are sealed from public view. Police, prosecutors, courts, and governments always have access to those criminal records. Under the proposed bill, those convictions include one felony (only certain types apply), two misdemeanors, and not having had any contact with the court system for a minimum of five years. Under the current system, the expungement request is sent to the Attorney General‘s office or a prosecuting attorney, where it is reviewed and then sent on to a sentencing judge that makes the final decision.

The new law would make the entire process easier and faster

If these bills are signed into law, people with no assault charges would be able to petition for up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanors to be expunged after three years. Also, anyone with low-level traffic offenses on their record, not including DUI and traffic crimes that caused severe injury or death, would be eligible for expungement. Plus, the new laws would shorten the expungement eligibility period for anyone with multiple felonies to seven years, and to five years for those with a single felony or serious misdemeanor. Some in the community have expressed a great deal of opposition to the proposed new law. 

Supporters are calling these bills “a complete bipartisan winner”

House Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo addressed the subject in a press release. “Under current law, those who’ve already taken accountability for their actions may still find it difficult to move ahead in life because of their record. Reforming our state’s expungement process will ensure eligible community members are able to access gainful employment, financing options for housing, and pursue or continue their education. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of legislation that has the potential to help so many Michiganders get a fresh start in building their future.”

The best way to avoid a criminal record is to avoid getting one in the first place

Obviously, the best way to not end up with a criminal record is to not break the law. BUt that’s a simplistic attitude when you consider the wrongful conviction rate in Michigan. So our advice is to make sure that, no matter what, you always get the best attorney you can afford. When you’ve been accused of a crime, regardless of your innocence, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 and talk to our experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to protect your rights and defend your future.

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