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How Much Does an Expungement Cost in Michigan?

November 21, 2023 John Engman & Associates

How Much Does an Expungement Cost in Michigan?

cost of expungement

The repercussions of a criminal conviction in Michigan extend far beyond the completion of a sentence, exerting a lasting impact on various facets of an individual’s life. In the United States, the pervasive use of publicly accessed background checks by employers, landlords, and colleges creates formidable obstacles for individuals with criminal records. Shockingly, statistics reveal that nine out of 10 employers, four out of five landlords, and three out of five colleges routinely screen out applicants based on their criminal history. This underscores the enduring challenges faced by those who have fulfilled their legal obligations, maintained a conviction-free status, and aspire to forge ahead with their lives.

Recognizing the complexity and gravity of these challenges, seeking counsel from a qualified Grand Rapids expungement attorney becomes not just a prudent choice but a vital necessity. Navigating the legal intricacies of the expungement process requires the expertise of a professional who understands the nuances of Michigan’s legal landscape.

A seasoned expungement attorney can provide invaluable guidance, assess the eligibility for expungement, and develop a strategic approach to help individuals overcome the formidable barriers posed by a criminal record. Before making any decisions about the path forward, consulting with a legal professional can empower individuals with the knowledge and insights needed to pursue a brighter future unburdened by the shadows of the past.

Michigan took a significant stride in 2020 by becoming the third state in the nation to enact comprehensive Clean Slate laws, aimed at facilitating individuals’ post-conviction progress by expunging their criminal records from public access. The Clean Slate package in Michigan is notably one of the most extensive in the country, providing relief to individuals who previously faced limited options for expungement. The new provisions introduced by the Clean Slate Act include an expanded range of convictions eligible for expungement, reduced waiting times in certain circumstances, the inclusion of certain traffic offenses, eligibility for first-offense OWIs, and the possibility of expunging misdemeanor marijuana convictions with no waiting period.

Recent Changes of Expungement Laws in Michigan

The recent legislative reforms in Michigan have ushered in a transformative era for expungement, introducing a range of progressive provisions designed to expand access to a clean slate for individuals with past convictions. These new provisions represent a significant departure from the previous expungement landscape, offering a more inclusive and forgiving approach. The requirements for expungement can be pretty simple for some but complex for others, it will all depend on your situation. Some of the key changes include:

  1. Expanded Eligibility: The scope of convictions eligible for expungement has been significantly broadened. This expansion allows a greater number of individuals to seek relief from the burdens of a criminal record, fostering opportunities for reintegration into society.
  2. Reduced Waiting Time: In certain circumstances, individuals seeking expungement may benefit from a reduced waiting time. This adjustment acknowledges the rehabilitative efforts of individuals and facilitates a quicker path to a clean record, promoting a more efficient reentry into various aspects of life.
  3. Inclusion of Traffic Offenses: The updated laws now permit the expungement of certain traffic offenses. This inclusion recognizes that individuals with minor traffic violations should not face enduring consequences that impede their progress and opportunities.
  4. Eligibility for First-Offense OWIs: Individuals with first-offense Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) convictions are now eligible for expungement. This change reflects an understanding that a singular lapse in judgment should not cast a perpetual shadow on an individual’s record.
  5. Swift Relief for Marijuana Offenses: Misdemeanor marijuana convictions for past conduct that is now legal can be expunged without any waiting period. This provision aligns with evolving attitudes toward marijuana-related offenses and ensures that individuals are not unduly burdened by past convictions in a changing legal landscape.
  6. “One Bad Night” Provision: A novel provision combines separate but related offenses into one expungement-eligible offense under the banner of a “one bad night.” This recognizes that isolated incidents should be considered in a holistic context, preventing undue penalization for distinct but interconnected events.
  7. Automatic Expungement for Non-Violent Offenses: Certain non-violent offenses may be eligible for automatic expungement without the need for individuals to apply. This streamlined process, contingent on maintaining a conviction-free status for seven years for misdemeanors and ten years for felonies, offers a more accessible route to a clean record.

These forward-looking provisions exemplify Michigan’s commitment to second chances, acknowledging the potential for rehabilitation and reintegration into society for individuals with a history of non-violent offenses. The reforms aim to break down barriers, allowing individuals to move beyond their past and contribute positively to their communities.

As records expungement attorneys, we want to help our clients get their lives back by purging their past records and allowing them to start with a clean slate.

The Costs Involved with Expungement

Regarding the financial cost of expungement, the process incurs minimal fees, including expenses for fingerprinting, obtaining certified copies of convictions, and a $50 fee payable to the State of Michigan (via money order or cashier’s check). However, navigating the multi-layered expungement process correctly is essential. An incorrect application or lack of preparation can result in a denial by the court, necessitating a waiting period before reapplying. While it’s possible to pursue expungement without legal assistance, the court’s discretion in granting expungement underscores the importance of seeking guidance from an experienced expungement lawyer.

Call John Engman & Associates, P.C. – Your Grand Rapids Expungment Attorney

After you’ve been convicted of a crime in Michigan, it affects different parts of your life, making things difficult even if you’ve finished your punishment and stayed out of trouble. Employers, landlords, and colleges often check your background, and having a criminal record can make things tough. It’s crucial to get help from a qualified Grand Rapids expungement attorney who knows how to guide you through the process of clearing your record. This is important because it’s not just a good idea but something you really need to do. The legal process in Michigan can be tricky, and having a professional who understands it well is necessary.

Michigan has recently changed its laws to make it easier for people to clear their criminal records. The new rules are part of the Clean Slate laws, and they’re all about giving more people a chance for a fresh start. These changes include letting more kinds of convictions be cleared, making people wait less time before they can apply, allowing certain traffic offenses to be cleared, and even helping those with a first-time drunk driving charge.

The rules are also more forgiving for people with past marijuana offenses, and there’s a special provision for cases where someone had a tough night and made some mistakes. Michigan is also making it easier for certain non-violent offenses to be cleared automatically, meaning people don’t have to apply for it. These changes show that Michigan is serious about giving people a second chance and helping them become positive contributors to their communities.

While the financial cost of expungement is minimal, ensuring the process is completed correctly is crucial. An expungement lawyer can provide invaluable guidance, increasing the likelihood of success. The cost of hiring a lawyer varies based on factors such as the number and classification of convictions, the court’s location, and individual circumstances. For those considering expungement in Grand Rapids, consulting with the experienced team at John Engman & Associates, P.C. is recommended. Contact us at 616-454-5222 or through our website to schedule a free consultation and explore your expungement options, empowering you on the path to a brighter future unburdened by the shadows of the past.