While Michigan law allows for certain convictions to be kept off of your record entirely, many convictions become a part of your permanent history and follow you for the rest of your life—unless you take proactive measures to remove them. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to have your conviction cleared (expunged) from your record in some cases. Expungement can provide many benefits if you’re a former convict trying to make a fresh start and resume normalcy following your sentence.

Expungement essentially rewrites history and gives you a clean slate. The state deletes your criminal record so that it can never be accessed by the public. You are treated as though the expunged infractions never happened. This means, for example, that if you’re applying for a job, for admission to school or for housing, you are legally permitted to state that you have not been convicted of a crime.

Am I eligible?

In the state of Michigan, you have to wait five years after completing your sentence before applying for expungement (provided you have no pending charges). If you have:

  • 1 felony and 2 misdemeanors: you may expunge the felony.
  • 1–2 misdemeanors: you may expunge one or both.
  • A fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction before January 12, 2015: you may expunge this offense (provided you have no criminal history after your 21st birthday and a maximum of two 90-day misdemeanors before your 21st birthday).

How do I apply?

To apply for expungement, you must obtain an application from the court where you were convicted, along with a certified copy of the judgment of sentence. You must also obtain a fingerprint card (RI-008) from a state law enforcement agency. Submit all of these documents, along with a $50 processing fee, to the Michigan State Police.