Note: You can check the status of Michigan Court Delays here.
Michigan has implemented a new “Clean Slate” law which will significantly impact those who conduct background checks in the state.
Historically, Michiganians (or Michiganders) would have to submit an application to get a conviction cleared from their record, if eligible. With this new law in place, criminal records will be automatically expunged if specific conditions are met (details of the law are listed below). This adds Michigan to a small list of other states that allow for automatic expungement of records, including New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, and a few more.
On the positive side, it can give people with criminal histories a second chance, without the hassle of submitting an application. It opens doors to better housing, better jobs, and releases those impacted from the stigma and barriers associated with having a criminal record. However, this action creates significant risk for the state’s residents, employers and landlords by eliminating their ability to make informed decisions about prospective employees and renters.
It’s important to note that some counties have already started the expungement process early in 2023. Starting this month (April) it will start happening more rapidly, as all counties will be auditing and deciding on moving eligible cases to expungement.
Details of Michigan’s Clean Slate Law
Here are the details of the law, as outlined on the Michigan government site:
April of 2023 Moving Forward
An automated system for expunging convictions without the necessity of filing an application will be established.
Up to 2 felony convictions will automatically be expunged the later of 10 years after sentencing or the person's release from custody.
Up to 4 misdemeanors will automatically be expunged 7 years after sentencing.
The following convictions are not going to be eligible for automatic expungement:
- convictions for "assaultive offenses";
- convictions for "serious misdemeanors";
- convictions for offenses punishable by 10 or more years imprisonment;
- convictions that involve a minor, a vulnerable adult, injury or serious impairment of a person, death of a person;
- convictions that involve human trafficking; and
- any conviction that cannot be expunged under new MCL 780.621c.
What CRAs Should Keep in Mind
CRAs and their clients may start to see missing cases starting in April 2023, if not already. As the eligible cases start to be expunged and removed from the Predominantly Used Index PUI or PAT, your clients may find that they were expecting a case which has been decided under the new Michigan policy to have been removed from the system. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is the new Clean Slate law.
It’s important to make sure you and your clients are familiar with the specifics of the law to be able to identify why a case, or cases, may have been previously returned in Michigan, but is now missing. This can prevent the impacted background checks from having to go through a recheck process if it’s not needed, allowing CRAs and employers to sidestep unnecessary delays.
If you have questions regarding this change or any questions about conducting background checks in Michigan, contact us. We are happy to help.