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New Michigan law to wipe clean misdemeanors, minor offenses

Scales of Justice photo
Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0

New legislation under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will allow thousands of Michigan residents to get their misdemeanors removed from public record.

The seven-bill package, the “Clean Slate” laws, was passed by both the state House and Senate with bipartisan support. Under the legislation, misdemeanors will be automatically expunged seven years after sentencing, with felonies handled the same way 10 years after sentencing or the end of a sentence, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Supporters say the change will allow Michigan residents to seek better employment, apply for housing and have access to previously off-limits opportunities.

Drunken driving offenses, as well as crimes involving minors, vulnerable elders, assaults, forgery and embezzlement, and other more serious felonies and misdemeanors will not be automatically expunged, according to a governor’s office release.

Only up to two felonies and four misdemeanors are eligible for automatic expungement, and up to three misdemeanors will be eligible to be wiped after an application is submitted to the sentencing court.

Leelanau County Prosecutor Joe Hubbell said expungements do not free an individual from owed fines, costs and restitution, nor do they allow for resentencing in related convictions. However, “if they can turn their life around in a good way, they should then have the ability to pursue that and get expungements where appropriate,” he said.