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Automatic expungements for many convictions go into effect for more than a million Michiganders

Dana Nessel
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

A new automatic criminal offense expungement program in Michigan went into effect on Tuesday, April 11.

The program will automatically expunge many non-violent criminal records for certain misdemeanors and felonies — if the person who was convicted maintained a clean record seven to 10 years after the original offense.

State Attorney General Dana Nessel said the program will help both the individuals affected and society.

"Expungements have been proven to help residents find better housing and employment, increase their income on average 22% within the first year, and contribute to a significantly reduced chance of re-offending," she said.

The program will expunge offenses for more than a million people in the state, Nessel said, "400,000 of whom will end the day completely conviction free. And those numbers will just continue to go up as the program continues to run."

Offenses that are ineligible for automatic expungement include:

- aggravated assault or felonious assault,
- serious misdemeanors such as domestic violence or driving under the influence
- felony embezzlement
- offenses punishable by 10 or more years such as first degree home invasion or unarmed robbery
- any human trafficking violation, and,
- crimes involving harm to a minor or vulnerable adult.

Safe and Just Michigan has a list of which offenses are eligible for automatic expungement here. Safe & Just Michigan works to advance policies that end Michigan’s over-use of incarceration and promote community safety and healing.

There are still some non-violent convictions that don't qualify for automatic expungement -- but for which the offender can still seek expungement through the courts.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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