Everyone has a past. For some, however, carrying that past everywhere they go can make it almost impossible to transcend and move on to a better life. The state of Michigan has moved a step in the right direction with its new “clean slate” law and expungement eligibility.
The Michigan expungement law will allow thousands of the state’s residents to qualify to have their records set aside or cleared once they have met eligibility requirements. This provides new hope for those who struggle to leave behind a record that prevents them from obtaining new jobs or opportunities.
The Michigan Expungement Law Offers a Clean Slate
A study conducted by the Harvard Law Review and two Michigan Law professors set out to investigate the evidence and potential of expungement laws. The researchers obtained criminal records from the Michigan State Police of people who’d received expungement and the data of another group that had not.
Among other research, they matched these details with wage and employment data to show that the expungement of records results in a favorable wage and employment trajectory. The study also suggested that although the benefits of expungement were clear, many individuals refrained from getting them because of the complicated legal process, strict eligibility requirements, lack of legal counsel, and associated expenses.
The state set out to change that. The recent legislation places Michigan in a leadership position on the matter by making it easier for residents to achieve a ‘clean slate.’ The news laws took effect on April 11, 2021. It allowed for the automatic set aside or expungement of certain offenses.
Specifics of the Law that Affect People With Criminal Records
Having a criminal record can be a real hindrance to applying for jobs, financial assistance, education programs, etc. The rationale behind the law is to make it easier for Michigan residents to set aside criminal records once they meet eligibility and begin a new life. Some of the provisions include but are not limited to:
- Automatic set aside of certain misdemeanors. In an attempt to make expunction easier, the state has put in place a process by which certain misdemeanors can be automatically expunged after 7 years and 10 years for non-assaultive felonies (this goes into effect 2023).
- Expands the number of eligible misdemeanors and felonies. More of these types of crimes will be eligible for expungement via an application.
- Revising the waiting periods involved. One of the hurdles in previous laws was the long waiting periods.
- Expands eligibility for certain traffic offenses. Certain traffic violations will not be eligible for complete set-aside.
When Does the Law Take Into Effect?
The governor signed the bills on October 12, 2020. That means that in April of 2021, many of the provisions took effect. There are some, however, that will take longer to kick in. H.B.4980 referring to automatic expungement, for example, takes effect in December of 2022. So the answer might differ depending on your particular situation.
Ready for a Clean Slate? Contact KGP and Find Out What to Do Next
The Michigan expungement law will help many in the state. Regardless of expanded eligibility, the process and details can still get confusing as circumstances differ. Seeking trusted legal counsel ensures that you are properly informed. Take advantage of this new opportunity to rebuild your life and your family with someone you trust. Supporters of the law believe this legislation will help people that have paid their debt to society reach atonement and reintegrate back into their communities. Think this might apply to you or someone you love?
Are you wondering whether you’re eligible for expungement of records? Call Kecskes, Gadd & Parker, and let us help!