Michigan governor signs bills reforming state’s expungement laws

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed a package of bills that reforms the state’s expungement laws.

House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 will allow a person to set aside one or more marijuana offenses if the offense would not have been a crime after December 6, 2018, when recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Michigan.

The changes proposed by the bills include:

  • Creating an automatic process for setting aside eligible misdemeanors after seven years and eligible non-assaultive felonies after 10 years.
  • Expanding the number and revising the types of felonies and misdemeanors eligible to be set aside by application
  • Revising the waiting periods before being eligible to apply
  • Treat multiple felonies or misdemeanor offenses arising from the same transaction as a single felony or misdemeanor conviction, provided the offenses happened within 24 hours of one another and are not assaultive crimes, or involves possession or use of a dangerous weapon, or is a crime that carries penalty of 10 or more years in prison
  • Expanding expungement eligibility to various traffic offenses
  • Allowing a person to petition to set aside one or more marijuana offenses if the offense would not have been a crime if committed after the use of recreational marijuana by adults became legal in the state

“This is a historic day in Michigan. These bipartisan bills are a game changer for people who are seeking opportunities for employment, housing, and more, and they will help ensure a clean slate for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders,” Whitmer said in a press release on Monday. “This is also an opportunity to grow our workforce and expand access to job training and education for so many people. I am proud to sign these bills today alongside Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and many of the bipartisan leaders who worked on them.”

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