LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Law firms and advocacy groups are joining forces to help Michigan residents get their criminal records expunged under new state laws that took effect last month.
The Great Lakes Expungement Network is guiding people who qualify through the process of having a criminal record expunged, or sealed from public view, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Supporters of the new “Clean Slate” laws say they allow people who have paid their debts to society to have a chance at more opportunities, such as better jobs. The laws expanded eligibility for expungement for up to three felonies and unlimited misdemeanors, excluding certain weapons or assault offenses and felonies that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.ADVERTISEMENT
Josh Covert, director of legal services for the network and partner at Michigan Cannabis Lawyers, said even before the laws were expanded to allow more expungements very few people ever completed the process, which can require filing multiple documents, fees and possibly appearing in court.
“You can expand it all you want, but if people don’t apply it doesn’t do any good,” he said. “The only way to really make sure that’s going to happen is to help people apply and help them through the process.”
The Michigan attorney general’s office has said many as 1 million people could be eligible for expungement under the new laws.