Current Michigan Expungement Law

New laws in Michigan permit the expungement of multiple felony convictions and unlimited misdemeanors. You have to prove you’ve been rehabilitated, and expungement is in the community’s best interest.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

“How does expungement work in Michigan?”

Under the amendments to Michigan’s Expungement law, MCL 780.621, the number of convictions that can be expunged has grown exponentially. Unfortunately, the new expungement laws are more complicated than ever. This guide will help you understand how expungement works in Michigan.

General Basic Principles

  • Only criminal convictions in Michigan are eligible for expungement
  • An application for expungement must be filed before the convicting court for each offense.
  • Charges that were deferred and then dismissed still count as convictions, but only as misdemeanor convictions, regardless of whether they were felonies or misdemeanors in Court.
  • No more than 2 “assaultive crimes” may be expunged in a person’s lifetime.
  • Not more than one felony conviction for the same offense can be expunged if the maximum penalty is greater than 10 years.
  • Multiple felony convictions from the same 24-hour transaction may qualify as only one conviction for expungement purposes.
  • This is a statute of exceptions, and you must be careful to evaluate whether a conviction can be set aside with those in mind.

“How many convictions can be expunged?”

Under the new law, a person can have an unlimited number of convictions set aside. Some can be set aside only by applying to the convicting court, while others will happen automatically over time. The revised statute indicates up to 3 felonies and unlimited misdemeanors by application. There are some significant caveats to that limitation, though based on the definitions of “felony” and “misdemeanor” that apply to this particular law and how a “conviction” is determined. It is possible to have more than 3 felonies expunged under the revised statute when multiple felony offenses were committed within 24 hours and were all part of the same transaction. If you have several convictions and you’re wondering, “how expungement works in Michigan?” you can call us for a free consultation.

“What can be expunged by Application?”

The following convictions cannot be expunged. Everything else can be expunged.

  • “Life” Offenses or Attempts – A conviction that has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or an attempt to commit a life offense.
  • Non “Life Offenses” – Child Abuse Second Degree (MCL 750.136b 10 years first offense, 20 years with prior conviction).
  • Child Abuse Second Degree in the Presence of Another Child (MCL 750.136d(1)(b) or (c) 10 years and 20 years, respectively)
  • Child Sexually Abusive Activity (CSAA) (MCL 750.145c 4 years, 7 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years)
  • Use of Computer or Internet to Engage in Child Sexually Abusive Activiety (CSAA) (MCL 750.145d 1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years)
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 2nd Degree (MCL 750.520c)
  • CSC 3rd Degree (MCL 750.520d)
  • CSC 4th Degree Offenses committed on or after January 12, 2015 (MCL 750.520e)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit CSC (MCL 750.520g)
  • Any of the Drunk Driving Offenses (MCL 257.625)
  • Any Commercial Motor Vehicle traffic offense, including CMV Drunk Driving (MCL 257.625m)
  • Any traffic offense that causes injury or death.
  • Felony Domestic Violence (MCL 750.81)
  • Human Trafficking (MCL 750.462f 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, life)
  • Terrorism (MCL 750.543f life)
  • Hindering Prosecution of Terrorism (MCL 750.543h 20 years, life)
  • Soliciting or Providing Material Support for Terrorism (MCL 750.543k 20 years)
  • Terrorist Threat or False Terrorist Threat (MCL 750.543m 20 years)
  • Use of Internet, Telecommunications or other Device to Disrupt Government Operations (MCL 750.543p 20 years)
  • Obtaining a Blueprint or Plan of Vulnerable Target with Intent (MCL 750.543r 20 years)

What Does an Application Look Like and What is the Procedure for Filing One?

If you are trying to figure out how expungement works in Michigan you want to know how an application should be completed, you’ll find the pleading is very complicated. An application must be filed in the Court where the original conviction(s) occurred and must be signed by the Applicant (not a lawyer) under Oath.

It must contain:

  • The applicant’s full name and current address and a certified record of each conviction to be set aside.
  • A statement that the applicant has not been convicted of a crime during the relevant time period (7 years, 5 years, 3 years, immediately in case of Human Trafficking exception MCL 780.621d(1), (2), (3), (6)).
  • A list of any prior convictions deferred and dismissed under any law or statute (e.g., HYTA, and these count as misdemeanors for expungement purposes).
  • Whether or not any previous expungement applications have been filed on the conviction(s).
  • Whether there are any pending criminal charges against the applicant in any court.
  • In a Human Trafficking case, a certification of qualification (MCL 780.621(1)(3).
  • Consent to use of non-public record.

Once the application is completed, it must be filed with the convicting Court, and a copy served upon the prosecuting attorney for the case, the Attorney General’s Office, and a copy with 1 set of fingerprints to the Michigan State Police along with a check for $50.00 made out to the “State of Michigan”.

What will be “automatically” expunged without the need for an Application, and when?

Under MCL 780.621g, up to a maximum of 2 felonies and 4 misdemeanors will be “automatically” set aside. The effective date of the “automatic expungement” process begins April 10, 2023.

Misdemeanors with a maximum possible penalty of less than 93 days, that are not recorded and maintained in the department of state police database, are automatically set aside 7 years after the imposition of sentence.

Misdemeanors with a maximum possible penalty of less than 93 days, that are recorded and maintained in the department of state police database, and that are not 1) an assaultive crime, 2) a “serious misdemeanor,” or 3) a “crime of dishonesty,” 4) Human Trafficking, 5) Subject to Sentencing Guidelines and involve a minor, vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment, or death, are automatically set aside 7 years after the imposition of sentence.

Misdemeanors with a maximum possible penalty of 93 days or more, that are recorded and maintained in the department of state police database, and that are not 1) an assaultive crime, 2) a “serious misdemeanor,” 3) a “crime of dishonesty,” 4) Human Trafficking, 5) Subject to Sentencing Guidelines and involve a minor, vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment, or death, are automatically set aside 7 years after the imposition of sentence. To qualify, the applicant must have no pending criminal charges and cannot have any criminal convictions within the 7-year period. Any person who has more than one conviction for an assaultive crime does not qualify for automatic expungement of 93 day or more misdemeanors or felonies.

The expungement process is so complex that many lawyers do not understand how expungement works in Michigan. The Expungement Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully representing clients seeking to clear their criminal history.

Some Felony Convictions Can Be Expunged Automatically or by Application

Felony convictions that could be expunged by application, and that are recorded and maintained in the department of state police, and that are not 1) an assaultive crime, 2) a “serious misdemeanor,” 3) a “crime of dishonesty,” 4) Human Trafficking, 5) Subject to Sentencing Guidelines and involve a minor, vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment, or death, 6) have a maximum penalty of 10 years or more, are automatically set aside 10 years after the imposition of sentence or completion of any prison sentence, whichever is later. In order to qualify, the applicant must have no pending criminal charges and cannot have any criminal convictions within the 10-year period.

Any person who has more than one conviction for an assaultive crime does not qualify for automatic expungement of 93 day or more misdemeanors or felonies.

It is important to note that convictions that don’t qualify for or exceed the maximum number for “automatic expungement” may still potentially be expunged through the application process.

“Are Marijuana Cases Treated Differently for Expungement?”

Yes. The difference is that an Applicant trying to expunge a “misdemeanor marijuana offense” has the benefit of a presumption that the facts of the case would not be criminal if committed on or after December 6, 2018. The Prosecuting Attorney can object to the application and bears the burden of proof by a preponderance that the behavior would be criminal after recreational marijuana use was legalized. An attorney who knows how expungement works in Michigan will know if you are eligible for an expedited marijuana expungement.

“Misdemeanor Marihuana offense” means Possession of Marijuana, Use of Marijuana, Sale of Drug Paraphernalia, or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to such an offense.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorneys Who Can Help You with How Expungement Works in Michigan

The new expungement laws are complex, and even lawyers are having a difficult time getting their client’s convictions set aside. The Expungement Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience and an unparalleled track record of success. We routinely are successful even with complex or severe cases and even with the most stubborn judges. Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation. If there is a way to help you, we will find it.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

Contact Us - Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Statutory Definition of “Assaultive Crime” For Expungement Statute

An “Assaultive Crime” in the context of the Expungement Statute is a crime against a person and includes:

  • Assault and Battery (MCL 750.81)
  • Domestic Assault and Battery (MCL 750.81)
  • Aggravated Assault (MCL 750.81a)
  • Assault and Battery Family Independence Agency Causing Serious Impairment (MCL 750.81c(3)
  • Resisting and Obstructing (MCL 750.81d)
  • Assault or Battery of Employee of Public Utility (MCL 750.81e)
  • Felonious Assault (MCL 759.82)
  • Assault Murder (MCL 750.83)
  • Assault GBH (MCL 750.84)
  • Torture (MCL 750.85)
  • Assault with Intent to Maim (MCL 750.86)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Felony (Catchall) (MCL 750.87)
  • Assault with Intent to Rob and Steal (Unarmed) (MCL 750.88)
  • Assault with Intent to Rob and Steal (Armed) (MCL 750.89)
  • Sexual Intercourse Under Pretext of Medical Treatment (MCL 750.90)
  • Assault Against Pregnant Individual (MCL 750.90a)
  • Assault Against Pregnant Individual Causing Death or Serious Injury to Fetus (MCL 750.90b)
  • Gross Negligence Against Pregnant Individual (MCL 750.90c)
  • OWI or OWVI Causing Miscarriage or Harm to Embryo (MCL 750.90d)
  • Careless or Reckless Operation Causing Accident Resulting in Miscarriage or Stillbirth (MCL 750.90e)
  • Infant Protection Act (MCL 750.90g)
  • Partial-Birth Abortion (MCL 750.90h)
  • Attempt Murder (MCL 750.91)
  • Home Invasion (MCL 750.110a)
  • Child Abuse (MCL 750.136b)
  • Common Carrier Transportation of Explosives (MCL 750.200)
  • Possession, Manufacture, Transport Harmful Substances (Radioactive, Chemical, Biological (MCL 750.200i)
  • Possession, Manufacture, Transport Chemical Irritant (MCL 750.200j)
  • Causing False Belief of Exposure to Harmful Substance (MCL 750.200l)
  • Transportation of Explosives Exploded by Concussion or Friction (MCL 750.201)
  • Marking Explosives for Shipment (MCL 750.202)
  • Sending/Delivering Explosives with Intent (MCL 750.204)
  • Possession, Transport or Placement of Fake Bomb (MCL 750.204a)
  • Storage of Explosives (MCL 750.204b)
  • Handling Explosives Under the Influence (MCL 750.204c)
  • Placement of Explosives (MCL 750.207)
  • Placement of Injurious Substances (MCL 750.209)
  • Possession of Explosive Device in Public with Intent (MCL 750.209a)
  • Possession of Explosive Combination with Intent (MCL 750.210)
  • Possession of Velarium (MCL 750.210a)
  • Possession of Molotov Cocktail (MCL 750.211a)
  • Making of High Explosives (MCL 750.212)
  • Violation of Section 200 Vulnerable Target (MCL 750.212a)
  • Intentional Discharge of Firearm from Motor Vehicle, Snowmobile or ORV (MCL 750.234a)
  • Intentional Discharge of Firearm at Dwelling or Occupied Structure (MCL 750.234b)
  • Intentional Discharge of Firearm at Emergency or Law Enforcement Vehicle (MCL 750.234c)
  • First Degree Murder (MCL 750.316)
  • Second Degree Murder (MCL 750.317)
  • Manslaughter (MCL 750.321)
  • Kidnapping (MCL 750.349)
  • Prisoner Taking Hostage (MCL 750.349a)
  • Unlawful Imprisonment (MCL 750.349b)
  • Taking a Child with Intent (MCL 750.350)
  • Mayhem (MCL 750.397)
  • Stalking Person Under 18 (MCL 750.411(h)2))
  • Aggravated Stalking (MCL 750.411i)
  • CSC 1st Degree (MCL 750.520b)
  • CSC 2nd Degree (MCL 750.520c)
  • CSC 3rd Degree (MCL 750.520d)
  • CSC 4th Degree (MCL 750.520e)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit CSC (MCL 750.520g)
  • Armed Robbery (MCL 750.529)
  • Carjacking (MCL 750.529a)
  • Robbery (MCL 750.530)
  • Terrorism (MCL 750.543f)
  • Hindering Prosecution of Terrorism (MCL 750.543h)
  • Soliciting or Providing Material Support for Terrorism (MCL 750.543k)
  • Terrorist Threat or False Terrorist Threat (MCL 750.543m)
  • Use of Internet, Telecommunications or other Device to Disrupt Government Operations (MCL 750.543p)
  • Obtaining a Blueprint or Plan of Vulnerable Target with Intent (MCL 750.543r)
  • A local ordinance substantially corresponding to any of the above.

Statutory Definition of a “Serious Misdemeanor” for Expungement in Michigan

  • Assault and Battery (MCL 750.81)
  • Domestic Assault and Battery (MCL 750.81)
  • Aggravated Assault (MCL 750.81a)
  • Breaking and Entering/Illegal Entry (MCL 750115)
  • Fourth Degree Child Abuse (MCL 750.136b(7)
  • Contributing to the Delinquency of Minor (MCL 750.145)
  • Use of Internet Computer Prohibited Communication (MCL 750.145d misdemeanor)
  • Intentionally Aiming Firearm without malice (MLC750.233)
  • Intentional Discharge of Firearm at Person (MCL 750.234)
  • Intentional Discharge of Firearm Resulting in Injury (MCL 750.235)
  • Indecent Exposure (MCL 750.335a)
  • Stalking (MCL 750.411h)
  • Injuring Worker in a Work Zone (MCL 257.601(b)(2)
  • Leaving Scene of Personal Injury Accident (MCL 257.617a)
  • Any of the misdemeanor Drunk Driving Offenses that involve an accident resulting in damage to persons or property (MCL 257.625)
  • Furnishing Alcohol to Minor resulting in injury or death (MCL 436.1701)
  • OWI and OWVI watercraft that involves an accident resulting in damage to persons or property (MCL 324.80176(1), (3)
  • A Felony/High Misdemeanor version of any of the above, reduced to or pled as a misdemeanor.
  • A local ordinance substantially corresponding to any of the above.

Statutory Definition of a “Crime of Dishonesty” in the Michigan Expungement Statute

For the Expungement Statute, felony versions of the following crimes:

  • Embezzlement (MCL 750.174)
  • Fraud as to Vulnerable Adult (MCL 750.174a)
  • Embezzlement by Public Officer (MCL 750.175)
  • Embezzlement by Executor/Guardian (MCL 750.176)
  • Embezzlement by Bank Employee (MCL 750.180)
  • Embezzlement of Jointly Owned Property (MCL 750.181)