Sweeping Expungement Bill Passed By Michigan Senate

The Michigan Senate has approved legislation that would automatically expunge thousands of criminal records for low-level crimes and even some felonies.

Full story after the jump.

Michigan’s Senate has passed legislation that would allow thousands of state residents to expunge criminal records for low-level criminal offenses and some felonies, MLive reports. Current state law allows for expungement; however, according to the Alliance for Safety and Justice, just 6.5 percent of people eligible for expungements actually get their records cleared.

The measure would automate the expungement process for many criminal offenses. The bill includes language allowing a court could reinstate a conviction if the record was expunged in error or if the person didn’t meet court-mandated requirements, the report says.

Under the bill, the expungement process would begin seven years after an eligible misdemeanor conviction or 10 years after an eligible felony conviction, so long as the offender has not been convicted of a crime since. Automatic expungement would be capped at two felony and four misdemeanor convictions total. Violent crimes, serious misdemeanors, crimes of dishonesty, driving while intoxicated, and convictions involving minors or vulnerable adults would not be eligible under the program.

Other bills included in the reforms would open up the expungement process to low-level cannabis convictions and many traffic offenses, increase the overall number of expungements a person can receive, and multiple convictions that occurred in the same 24-hour time period to be consolidated.

The main bills in the package passed the House last November and the chamber still needs to approve the changes made by the Senate before heading to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) for final approval.

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