LANSING — An updated webpage from the state’s attorney general wants to improve the process to expunge a criminal record, following a significant increase in the number of applications submitted to set aside a prior conviction.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said in a press release this week that the state’s expungement webpage, Michigan.gov/ag/initiatives/Expungement-Assistance, has been updated to provide a description of the application review process, the anticipated timeline for review and a webform that residents can use to seek information on the status of their applications.
“Increased demand is a good thing because it means more eligible Michiganders are taking advantage of our state’s expanded Clean Slate Law,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “My expungement team is diligently working to review every application in a timely manner and I am committed to maximizing department resources to streamline and expedite the process.”
In 2020 Michigan’s Clean Slate Law expanded eligibility for those seeking to expunge their criminal records.
Applications for expungement more than doubled from 3,325 in 2019 to 7,037 in 2021, the first year the new law was in effect. So far this year, the department has reviewed 5,373 and is in the process of reviewing thousands more, the AG’s Office said.
Information regarding eligibility for expungement, as well as checklists and links to applications to set aside a conviction, are also available on the improved expungement webpage.
The expungement process
By law, expungement applications are first processed by the Michigan State Police (MSP). Once the MSP has completed a thorough background check of the applicant, the Department of Attorney General must review applications prior to court appearances.
As of April 11, 2021, a person convicted of one or more criminal offenses, including felonies but not more than a total of three felonies, may petition the convicting court to set aside the convictions. By visiting the state’s expungement webpage, Michiganders can access the filing and service requirements and a checklist specifically designed for this part of the expungement law.
A person convicted of one or more misdemeanor or local ordinance marijuana crimes may petition the convicting court to set aside the convictions if they were based on activity that would not have been a crime after December 6, 2018 – when a 2018 voter-passed initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Michigan went into effect.