What is Michigan’s Clean Slate Act?

The Clean Slate Act is a new law that went into effect on April 11, 2021. MCL § 780.621. The Act expands eligibility for Michigan residents to expunge criminal convictions and get a fresh start.  Recent legislation makes Michigan a national leader in helping residents more easily set aside criminal records and get a “clean slate.”  Expungement is automatic for eligible misdemeanors after seven years, and after ten years for non-violent felonies; however, the automatic set-aside provision does not go into effect until 2023. Some convictions will not be automatically removed and require filing a petition for expungement with the Court. 



Am I eligible to expunge my criminal record?

Michigan’s Clean Slate Act gives hope for a new future to individuals who previously faced barriers to employment, housing, and other opportunities who were held back by the stigma of a criminal conviction. Under the new law, a person convicted of certain misdemeanor and felony offenses in Michigan may apply or have them automatically removed from their public record.  Up to three felony convictions are eligible for expungement. 


How many convictions can be expunged under Michigan’s Clean Slate Act? 

The number of convictions eligible for expungement depends on whether they are misdemeanors or felonies and the time when they occurred. You cannot ask a judge to set aside any convictions if you have more than three felonies and/or high misdemeanors.  However, there is an exception in the law called the “One Bad Night” rule, which treats multiple convictions that occur within 24 hours as one for purposes of expungement.


If you are unsure whether you qualify for an expungement, or would like to discuss your options, contact one of our Michigan expungement attorneys to learn whether you meet the requirements to set aside your convictions.


Are all convictions eligible for expungement?

Most misdemeanors are eligible for expungement. Convictions for high misdemeanors are treated as felonies, and convictions for operating while intoxicated or visibly impaired by alcohol or drugs are ineligible for expungement.


Only one felony conviction that is punishable by more than ten years imprisonment may be set aside.  And only two convictions for an assaultive crime may be set aside.  In addition, the following offenses are not eligible to be set aside:


  • Felonies punishable by life in prison
  • Child abuse
  • Crimes committed during the operation of a commercial vehicle
  • Criminal sexual conduct (CSC)
  • Operating while intoxicated/operating while visibly impaired by drugs and alcohol
  • Domestic violence in cases where there is a previous misdemeanor conviction for the offense
  • Traffic offenses causing injury or death
  • Human trafficking and/or forced labor


How long to wait to expunge a criminal record?

The waiting period to set aside your conviction depends on how many convictions you have. The time begins from the date of completion of any term of probation, discharge from parole, or release from imprisonment, whichever is latest for the conviction being expunged.


Conviction Classification

Waiting Period

One felony

5 years

More than one felony

7 years

One or more serious misdemeanors

5 years

One or more non-serious, non-assaultive misdemeanors

3 years


What happens if my application for expungement is denied?

If your application is denied, you must wait three years to file another petition with the convicting Court asking them to set aside your conviction. In some cases, the Court can specify an earlier date for filing a subsequent application, which must be included in the Court’s Order denying your request.


Steps to set aside a conviction in Michigan:

Our lawyers can get you a “clean slate” by helping you complete the following required steps to have your convictions expunged:


(1)        Determine if your convictions qualify for expungement.


(2)        Help you get fingerprinted.


(3)        Obtain certified copies of your convictions from the Court.


(4)        Prepare and file your application with the Court.


(5)        Serve your application on the Prosecutor, Attorney General, and Michigan State Police.


(6)        Work with the Court clerk to schedule a hearing date for your petition.


(7)        At the hearing, you will be required to share your story and explain why the Judge should grant your request for a set-aside. We will prepare you for Court and represent you at the hearing.        


(8)        Notify the appropriate agencies when your application has been approved to ensure your record is clear.


How much does a Michigan expungement lawyer cost?

The cost to hire an expungement lawyer varies depending on the number and classification of convictions, the location of the Court that will be reviewing the petition, and the individual circumstances of each case.  If you are interested in clearing your criminal record, contact Garrison Law to speak with an experienced attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people rebuild their lives after suffering the consequences of a criminal conviction.