Michigan Expungement: Access to Justice Clinic

Court and University Join Hands To Give Convicts a Second Chance

In a rare but highly anticipated move, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids are joining hands to create the “Access to Justice” Clinic.  The Clinic is aimed at helping a number of convicted criminals here in Michigan get a second chance through possible expungement.

In January, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law House Bill 4186. This expanded the existing expungement criteria and made it possible for certain convicted individuals to have their criminal records expunged. However, it is believed that many people still don’t even know it’s an option. Those that do, often don’t know whether or not they are eligible. And if they are, how to go about the expungement process.

Which is where the Access to Justice Clinic comes in. From 9 am to 3 pm on Friday, November 6th in the Kent County Courthouse, a number of legal experts will be available for one-on-one consultations. During the consultations it will be determined whether or not someone is eligible, and if so, what they need to do in order to apply.

Prior Michigan law allowed for individuals with a single conviction to request that the court expunge their record five years after their release period. The new law, however, has expanded on that, allowing certain low-level offenders to have up to two misdemeanors and one felony removed from their records after a five year period.

Not all felonies, however, are eligible for expungement. A substantial list includes most crimes that are considered to be violent. Examples of felony crimes that are not eligible for expungement are murder, child abuse, terrorism, human trafficking, drunk driving, and domestic assault for individuals with prior domestic violence convictions.

But don’t lose hope. There are a number of crimes that the state is willing to consider for expungement. Felonies like larceny, bribery, assault and robbery are all examples of convictions that could very well be removed from your record.

And when you think about it, this is like a whole new lease on life. People convicted of felonies in Michigan struggle to get jobs, financial aid for school, and a number of other options available to people without criminal records. In addition, they cannot attend their children’s school field trips or obtain a license to possess a firearm.

If you would like to know about your eligibility for expungement in Michigan, don’t miss out on this upcoming Access to Justice Clinic in Grand Rapids. If you have any questions about the clinic, you can contact Tanya Todd (tanya.todd@grcourt.org) or call 616-632-5580. And if for some reason you are unable to attend but still would like to know about possible expungement, please download our expungement form today. We can help you.

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