Michigan Expungement Bills
November 9th, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate
On October 12 and 13, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of six bills (the “Amendments”) into law to expand criminal record expungement in the state. Effective 180 days after signing (April 11, 2021), the Amendments serve to advance the trend of “Clean Slate” or “Second Chance” initiatives which have similarly been enacted in states including North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
See below for a brief summary of each bill.
HB 4980 enacts an automated process for setting aside conviction records. Beginning two years after the effective date of the Amendments, certain misdemeanors and felonies will be set aside without the need for an application. Misdemeanor convictions are to be set aside seven years after the imposition of their sentence and felony convictions are to be set aside ten years after the imposition of their sentence or completion of imprisonment, whichever occurs latest. Convictions that are not eligible for these expungements include crimes of an assaultive nature, serious misdemeanors, crimes of dishonesty, offenses punishable by imprisonment of 10 years or longer, crimes involving minors, vulnerable adults, injury, serious impairment, or death, and violations related to human trafficking. The bill further clarifies that no more than two felony and four misdemeanor convictions may be set aside during the individual’s lifetime, with the exception of misdemeanors that are automatically expunged by this bill. The full text of HB 4980 can be found here.
HB 4981 identifies convictions which may not be set aside, which includes felonies or attempts to commit felonies which carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, felony domestic violence if the individual had a previous domestic violence misdemeanor, and convictions related to child abuse, most criminal sexual conduct offenses, driving while intoxicated, and traffic offenses which caused injury or death. The full text of HB 4981 can be found here.
HB 4982 amends the expungement process for marijuana offenses by allowing individuals with one or more misdemeanor marijuana offenses to apply for expungement. This includes the rebuttable presumption that the conviction was based on activity that would have been legal after Michigan legalized marijuana in December 2018. The full text of HB 4982 can be found here.
HB 4983 amends the time periods individuals are required to wait in order to apply to set aside certain convictions. Applications to set aside one or more misdemeanor convictions or one felony convictions may be filed five or more years after the imposition of a sentence, completion of probation, discharge from parole, or the completion of imprisonment, whichever occurs latest. Applications to set aside more than one felony convictions may be filed after seven or more years, and applications to set aside misdemeanor convictions that were not serious misdemeanors or assaultive in nature may be filed after three years. In order for convictions to be set aside after the required amount of time has elapsed, the applicant may not have any criminal charges pending against them, nor any convictions during that time. The full text of HB 4983 can be found here.
HB 4984 increases the number of convictions which may be expunged. Individuals convicted of one or more offenses may apply to have all convictions expunged that meet the following criteria: if they do not have more than three felony convictions in the state, if not more than two were of an assaultive nature, and if they do not have more than one felony conviction for the same offense punishable by ten or more years imprisonment. The full text of HB 4984 can be found here.
HB 4985 allows for the expungement of multiple convictions if they arose out of the same circumstances. If more than one felony or more than one misdemeanor occurred within 24 hours of another and were part of the same criminal transaction, they will be treated as one conviction for the purposes of expungement. This does not apply to any offenses that were assaultive in nature, involved the possession of a dangerous weapon, or carry a maximum penalty of ten or more years imprisonment. The full text of HB 4985 can be found here.
Michigan employers should review their hiring and screening practices in consultation with their legal counsel accordingly. Employers should be aware of laws regarding the expungement and setting aside of convictions as they review their policies around criminal self-disclosure and establish hiring criteria as it relates to certain types of criminal history. Sterling clients with questions about our reporting practices and what options are available to assist with regulatory requirements should contact their account representative.
The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.
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