Click any topic below to learn about automatic expungement (set aside) of Michigan adult convictions.
What is automatic expungement?
Automatic expungement is a new program to expunge (“set aside”) some Michigan adult convictions starting on April 11, 2023. This program is part of the Clean Slate laws passed in 2020.
You don’t need to apply for automatic expungement. The law says the courts and the Michigan State Police must process all eligible convictions. Automatic expungement will help some people clear their records who were not eligible before.
What about expungement by application?
Automatic expungement is not replacing expungement by application. They are two separate programs. They each have their own process and rules. The expungement by application process is not changing.
Some convictions can still only be expunged with an application. Other convictions cannot be expunged at all. To learn about expungement by application, visit Applying to Set Aside (Expunge) an Adult Criminal Conviction.
If you already expunged convictions with an application, they will stay expunged.
How many convictions can be automatically expunged?
The following number of convictions may be automatically expunged:
- Up to 2 felonies,
- Up to 4 misdemeanors punishable by 93 days or more in jail, and
- Any number of misdemeanors punishable by 92 days in jail or less.
But not all people or all convictions will qualify for automatic expungement.
Is my conviction eligible?
There are lots of rules about which convictions can be automatically expunged. For basic information from the Michigan State Police about which convictions are eligible, go to Michigan Clean Slate.
We are working on a summary of which convictions can be expunged, and will link to it here when it is ready.
If my conviction is eligible, when will it be expunged?
Eligible convictions may be expunged when they have passed the waiting period. The waiting period is different for felonies and misdemeanors. Other convictions can also affect the waiting period.
Felonies have a 10-year waiting period. The state plans to count the 10 years starting from whichever date is latest:
- Your sentencing date
- Date probation term ended (if any)
- Date jail or prison term ended (if any)
- Date parole ended (if any)
For example, let’s say you:
- Were sentenced to jail for an eligible felony conviction on January 31, 2020
- Got out of jail on February 28, 2022
- Never had probation or parole for this conviction
That felony may be automatically expunged on February 28, 2032.
For all eligible misdemeanors, there is a 7-year waiting period starting from the date you were sentenced.
For example, let's say you have an eligible misdemeanor conviction and you were sentenced on January 31, 2020. That misdemeanor may be automatically expunged on January 31, 2027.
The first set of automatic expungements
The first eligible convictions should start to be automatically expunged from the Michigan State Police (MSP) database on April 11, 2023. Only eligible convictions that already passed their waiting period will be expunged.
It may take about a week for the MSP database to be updated with the first set of expungements. It may take even more time for courts or arresting agencies to make their records non-public.
How does automatic expungement work?
Because this program is new, we don’t know everything about how it will work yet. There may also be some mistakes or delays as the program gets started.
Only Michigan convictions will be expunged. The program will work differently depending on the kind of conviction and where the record of the conviction is stored.
All felonies and most misdemeanors
Information about Michigan criminal convictions is usually stored in two main places:
- The court where the conviction happened, and
- The Michigan State Police (MSP) database.
The state built a computer program to automatically expunge some convictions from the MSP database. They will run the computer program for the first time on April 11, 2023. After that, they plan to run the computer program every day so that more convictions will be expunged as soon as they are eligible.
The public records in the MSP database are what show up in an ICHAT search. When a conviction is expunged by the program, it should become non-public. This means it should no longer show up in an ICHAT search.
The MSP will also tell the court that convicted you, and the court must make its record of the conviction non-public too.
Misdemeanors that are NOT in the MSP database
For some misdemeanors with 92 days or less of possible jail time, the records are not kept in the MSP database. The law says each court must make these convictions non-public if they qualify.
After the court makes a qualifying conviction non-public, it must tell the arresting agency to do the same thing. The arresting agency is the police department, sheriff’s department, or other law enforcement agency that filed a report leading to the conviction.
How can I check if my conviction was automatically expunged?
There are different ways to check if your conviction was expunged depending on the kind of conviction and your goals.
Convictions stored in the Michigan State Police (MSP) database
All felonies and most misdemeanor convictions are usually listed in the MSP database. These convictions should show up on an ICHAT search unless they have been expunged.
Option 1. You can run an ICHAT search for $10. If your conviction was expunged, it should not show up in your ICHAT results. If you have used more than one name, you may need to check all the names you have used.
Option 2. If you want a more detailed report showing your expunged convictions, you can ask for a personal records check from the MSP. This costs $30 and you must get fingerprinted. The report will show you convictions that are still public. The report will also show you expunged convictions that are non-public.
For instructions, go to MSP’s instructions page. Look for the second option, which is called: “Procedure to search criminal history records for visa, immigration, personal records check or adoption (fingerprints are required).”
Option 3. You can try calling the court that convicted you and asking if there is a public record of your conviction. There should not be a public record of your conviction if it was expunged. It may take the courts longer than the MSP database to update their records.
Convictions NOT stored in the MSP database
Some misdemeanors with 92 days or less of possible jail time are not listed in the MSP database. These convictions never show up on an ICHAT search.
For these convictions, call the court that convicted you and ask if there is a public record of your conviction. There should not be a public record of your conviction if it was expunged. Courts may have different processes for answering this question.
Can anyone stop or reverse an automatic expungement and make my conviction public again?
A court can stop or reverse an automatic expungement for only two reasons:
- A judge decides you have not tried hard enough to pay any restitution that was ordered, or
- Your conviction was expunged by mistake and was not eligible for automatic expungement.
The court has to try to tell you if it is going to make your conviction public again. You may want to contact courts where you have convictions to update your address.
The process is different depending on the reason.
For unpaid restitution, the court must send you a form called “Notice of Hearing on Reinstating Conviction(s) for Failure to Pay Restitution” before it makes your conviction public. The notice will have a hearing date.
At the hearing, you can explain how you are trying to pay the restitution. You can also ask the judge to let you set up a payment plan. Your conviction will stay expunged (non-public) if the judge agrees you are really trying to pay.
If the court decides your expungement was a mistake, you will get a form called “Order Reinstating Conviction(s) for Improper or Erroneous Set Aside and Objection to Order.” The court will send this order after it makes your conviction public again.
If you think your conviction is eligible for automatic expungement, you can object. Fill out the “Objection” section at the bottom of the order and file it with the court to ask for a hearing.
If a court tries to make your conviction public again, you may want to get legal help. You can contact the Counsel & Advocacy Law Line at 1-888-783-8190. You can also use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers, including no-cost options if you qualify.
What happens after a conviction is expunged?
After a conviction is expunged, it is non-public. In many ways it is like you were never convicted. But there are some things you should know.
Who can see expunged records
There are still some times when courts, law enforcement, or the government can see expunged records. Read An Overview of Michigan’s Expungement Laws to learn who can see an expunged conviction and what they can do with the information.
Restitution, fines, costs, and fees
After a conviction is automatically expunged, you must keep paying any restitution you owe for that conviction. A court might try to stop or reverse your automatic expungement if you don’t keep paying restitution. To learn more, read "Can anyone stop or reverse an automatic expungement and make my conviction public again?" above.
The law does not say that courts can keep charging you fees, costs, or fines for a conviction after it is automatically expunged. We don't know if courts will try to collect fees, costs, and fines for automatically expunged convictions. But courts cannot stop or reverse your automatic expungement based on fees, costs, or fines.
If you have a conviction related to driving a car, truck, or motorcycle, expunging the conviction will not take it off your driving record. Visit Restoring a Michigan Driver’s License for more information about your options.
Background check company mistakes
Sometimes a private company might include an expunged conviction in background check results. If this happens, you can contact the background check company to ask them to remove the expunged conviction from their records.
What if I need more help?
If you have low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area.
Many counties around Michigan have free expungement fair events where you can talk with a lawyer. Visit the Legal Clinics and Events page or the state Expungement Fairs page, or do an internet search to find expungement events.
Safe and Just Michigan created an Automatic Expungement Self-Assessment Test. (Scroll down near the bottom of the Safe and Just Michigan page and look for the "Start" button.) If it looks like you might qualify for automatic expungement, the tool will ask if you want to run your ICHAT for free. If you say yes, Safe and Just Michigan will run your ICHAT and contact you with the results. They will also use the results to advocate for the state to improve the automatic expungement program.
You can contact the Michigan State Police if you think your conviction was eligible but it has not been expunged. The Michigan State Police will be able to answer some questions, but they will not give out specific case information. You can call their Help Line at 517-241-0606 or email them at MSP-CRD-CSAAUTOMATIC@michigan.gov.
What about juvenile adjudications?
This article is only about adult convictions. Automatic expungement of juvenile adjudications is supposed to start in July 2023. We will add information about this soon.