Bills to expunge criminal records passes legislature

The new laws would make it easier and cheaper for people who have served their time to have a clean slate.

State legislators have passed a series of bills that would change how people with criminal records can have their records expunged.

The bills would make it easier for people who served sentences for various misdemeanors and felonies to have those crimes wiped from their records, in some cases making it automatic after a certain amount of time.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

A criminal record often makes it difficult for people to get a job or acquire housing. Supporters of the bills say they would help a lot of people.

“Making expungement cheaper, easier and available to more residents than ever before will remove the barriers that hold too many people back,” said Representative Graham Filler, R-DeWitt, in a statement to Bridge Michigan.

The new rules would automatically clear a person’s criminal record if they have not committed another crime. Misdemeanor records would be cleared after seven years and felonies after ten years or after the person’s criminal sentence has ended, whichever is later.

Some crimes would not be eligible for expungement. In particular, violent crimes, crimes punishable by more than ten years in prison, and serious crimes like human trafficking would be exempt.

The bills would do several other things:

  • Create a process that would allow people convicted of marijuana crimes to have their record cleared if it would not have been a crime following the legalization of marajuana in 2018
  • Shorten the waiting time for people to be able to apply for expungement
  • Allow crimes committed in the same 24-hour period to be considered at the same time for expungement

The bills are now headed for the governor’s desk where she is expected to sign them.

You can read the full story here.

Support local. Donate today to Kalamazoo's only locally owned and independent daily news organization.