Do you or someone you know have a criminal record?

You may be able to get rid of it! And there's an event coming up in Grand Rapids that can help.

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What is Expungement?

Having a criminal record can negatively affect all parts of a person's life: It can make it harder to advance in your career, get housing, insurance, student loans, and more.

New laws were passed recently that allow Michigan residents to erase eligible criminal records. The legal process to do that is called "setting aside" or "expungement". It can potentially be confusing and costly, so the City of Grand Rapids is hosting a "Clean Slate GR: Expungement Fair" in April to help with the process.

What is Michigan's Clean Slate Law?

Signed in fall of 2020, Michigan's Clean Slate Law made big changes to the expungement process in Michigan. Effective as of April of 2021, these are the new Michigan laws on Expungement:

  • Expanded number of convictions that can be expunged to 3 felonies and unlimited misdemeanors.
  • Reduced the waiting time required to Expunge a conviction in certain circumstances.
  • Certain traffic offenses can now be expunged.
  • First time Operating While Intoxicated Offenses are now eligible for expungement.
  • Misdemeanor Marijuana convictions can now be expunged for past conduct that is now legal with no statutory waiting period.
  • "One bad night" provision which combines separate, but related, offenses into one offense for the purpose of counting convictions.
  • The automatic expungement mandate which will allow for certain convictions to be expunged without an application. (Note: This part of the law won't go into effect until April 2023)

Not all criminal records can be cleared. These are some of the offenses that are not eligible for expungement in Michigan.

  • All offenses punishable by life imprisonment
  • Child sexually abusive material or activity offenses
  • Second-degree child abuse
  • Second-degree, third-degree, and fourth degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct

You can find more information on offenses that cannot be expunged here.

Grand Rapids Hosting Expungement Fair to Help Residents Clear Criminal Records

The City of Grand Rapids says they are committed to helping residents with the expungement process:

As with most legal processes, there are a lot of steps and paperwork involved in this process. We're committed to helping reduce these barriers. We work with partners to offer free attorney, notary, and fingerprinting services.

The Clean Slate GR: Expungement Fair is Saturday, April 2, 8:30a.m. to 4p.m. at the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation, 1530 Madison Ave. SE.

If you're interested in attending, you'll need to register here by March 28, 2022.

According to the City of Grand Rapids, the services provided at the event are valued at over $300:

    • application to set aside conviction
    • free attorney consultation
    • free certified copies of conviction - only for registered participants
    • free notary service
    • free fingerprinting service
    • a plan for next steps to take

Other resources provided at The Clean Slate GR: Expungement Fair:

    • job skill building
    • veteran services
    • voting rights
    • food pantries
    • substance abuse treatment
    • housing and shelter

The City of Grand Rapids is looking for volunteers to help at the event. If you or someone you know would be interested in volunteering, sign up here.

LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?

Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.