Michigan Eases Record Expungement
Published on 09/16/2011 -
According to sources, a new Michigan law makes it slightly easier for those with multiple criminal offenses to clear their records. The law, signed by Governor Rick Snyder in June, took effect immediately. Its provisions include these:
- Multiple offenses can now be cleared: Prior to passage of the new law, judges were permitted to expunge only those records that included a single minor crime. With this law in place, people may now have up to three small crimes expunged from their records.
- Age limits apply: Only those offenses committed before a person's 21st birthday are eligible for expungement.
- Serious offenses are not eligible: Serious crimes (felonies and certain misdemeanors), along with those that require reporting to the Secretary of State (including, notably, DUIs) are not eligible for expungement. Minor crimes eligible for expungement are defined as those for which the penalty totaled less than 90 days in jail or a fine of less than $1,000.
The changes have reportedly been met without many legal questions by the state, largely because most people don't seem to think they go far enough. Reports indicate that the new law will apply only to a small minority of people with criminal records.
The law cannot help, for example, those who committed minor crimes after turning 21 or who have reformed themselves since being convicted (but don't meet the other requirements).
Some critics of the legislation have apparently called for a more significant piece of legislation that would allow judges to work within certain limits to make expungement decisions on a case-by-case basis.Criminal Record Expungement Laws in Other States
Expungement laws differ widely across the country. For individuals with felony expungement questions, here's a look at a few notable state laws.
- Arizona: Here, those convicted of crimes can apply to have the convictions "set aside," after a sentence is complete. This can relieve the person of certain penalties; however, the conviction may be referred to in any future criminal cases.
- California: After completing a sentence, a person convicted of a crime may apply to have the decision dismissed. The dismissal may be reversed if any future criminal cases occur.
- Florida: This state requires people to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the state before they can apply for expungement.
- Missouri: Here, there are two types of expungement, one of which is reserved for convictions of minors in possession of alcohol.
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