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What You Should Know About Michigan’s New Clean Slate Law

Oct 23, 2020, by Maurice Davis in Expungement
What You Should Know About Michigan's New Clean Slate Law

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a landmark Clean Slate Law into effect, marking an important turning point for expungement systems around the country. Expungement of one’s criminal record allows past convicted criminals to find gainful employment, rent and/or buy a house, and enjoy other liberties without negatively impacting public safety. In fact, research in one study found that ex-convicts who have their records expunged earn wages that are 23% higher the following year. In a word, expungement works.

If you’ve been denied employment or housing because of a past criminal record, you understand the pain and shame that comes with trying to simply reintegrate into society. Not only does it create more obstacles for you, but it may even jeopardize your safety if you’re unable to find a place to live or earn money. Fortunately, our team of expungement lawyers have the legal know-how and courtroom experience to help guide you through the complicated process. To schedule your consultation, call us today at (313) 818-3238.

How the Clean Slate Bill Will Help

“For too long, criminal charges have created barriers to employment, barriers to housing and others for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. These bipartisan bills are going to be a game-changer,” Whitmer said in an interview. It’s true that expungement has been shown to increase convicted criminals’ chances of earning higher wages or finding a better job without posing excess danger to the public.

University of Michigan researchers have discovered that only 6.5% of convicted criminals successfully expunge a conviction from their record within five years of becoming able to do so. The current application process to expunge convictions from one’s record is expensive and complex, but the Clean Slate Law would streamline the process dramatically.

This new law would allow people to get four misdemeanors and two felonies automatically cleared from their record, making Michigan the first state to include low-level felonies in the automatic expungement process. The Clean Slate law would automatically expunge misdemeanors seven years after sentencing and felonies 10 years after sentencing or when they get out of prison (whichever happens first). However, there are some convictions that would be ineligible for expungement: violent crimes, crimes punishable by more than 10 years in prison, human trafficking, “crimes of dishonesty” (e.g. forgery), and other serious crimes.

The Clean Slate bill was a part of a multi-bill package that includes another bill which would expand the current expungement application system to include more charges. This bill in particular would allow for an endless number of misdemeanors and up to three felonies to be expunged, with an important exception: no more than one felony if it can earn a prison sentence of more than 10 years and no more than two assaultive crimes.

Other Bills in the Package

Some other bills included in the package will go into effect in a little less than 180 days (April 10, 2021).

One will shorten the waiting time for expungement, allowing for misdemeanors to be expunged after three years, a single felony or serious misdemeanor after five years, and multiple felonies after seven years.

Another bill will allow felonies or misdemeanors committed in the same 24-hour period to be lumped together as a single conviction, with some lawmakers calling it the “one bad night” bill. This excludes assaultive crimes, crimes punishable by 10 or more years in prison, and crimes where a dangerous weapon was involved.

Last but not least, another bill will make certain crimes ineligible for any kind of expungement, like domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, traffic crimes where someone got seriously injured or died, and crimes that can earn a life sentence in prison.

How Davis Law Group Can Help You

At Davis Law Group, we know how difficult a past criminal conviction can be when looking for better-paying jobs or somewhere to live. However, our team of knowledgeable and compassionate expungement lawyers can help guide you every step of the way. What’s more, we can help you make sense of all the details of the current expungement system and the Clean Slate bill, so you’ll never have to worry about facing these legal troubles on your own. Call us today at (313) 818-3238 to learn more about how we can best serve you.